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March 2020

Do You Need to (or Just Want to) Continue to Work as You Age?

OntheClock Hands-545394_1920There is no telling how the current global coronavirus crisis will impact every Boomer's retirement plan and income. Regardless, the notion of working past retirement age is already a fact for Boomers, many of whom don't even agree on the definition of "retirement age." The traditional retirement age of 65 seems all but ridiculously outdated. So the question really isn't whether or not Boomers need to or want to work past retirement age, but rather how long they are able to generate some sort of income.

I've previously written about the various ways Boomers can do that, from full-time employment (often in businesses they own), to working side jobs, to working part-time. I personally know some Boomers who fully intend to work in one form or another, based on financial need or just to stay active, until they simply cannot physically and mentally do it anymore. There are plenty of stories about people in their 70s and 80s -- and a few rare cases in their 90s -- who continue to work.

Planning for late-stage work is something you can do before you get there, as my colleague Nancy Collamer points out in an article for Forbes. Nancy poses six excellent questions (along with helpful commentary) that you should ask yourself if you need to or want to work as you age:

  1. Does your employer offer a phased retirement program?
    While these types of program are rare, you might be able to negotiate a phase-out with your employer, perhaps working on a part-time basis and mentoring other employees.
  2. What are your income goals?
    The more income you need to or want to earn, the more likely it is that your professional career or past work experience will need to be leveraged in a new income-generating role.
  3. Beyond earning an income, why do you want to work in retirement?
    Nancy suggests making a list of three to five reasons why you want to continue to work -- maybe its community, routine or sense of purpose. Your key motivators will help you pursue the best options moving forward.
  4. What's on your "chuck-it" list?
    You've no doubt heard of the "bucket" list, but the "chuck-it" list is comprised of the things about work you'd be happy to leave behind. Here again, Nancy suggests listing your top three to five non-negotiable work factors -- so you know what you'd like to avoid.
  5. What type of job flexibility do you seek in semi-retirement?
    Understand your lifestyle goals so you can define the type of job that is the best fit for you. Do you need a flexible work schedule? How many days per week do you want to work? Do you want summers off? 
  6. What is your appetite for risk?
    Think about how much risk you are willing to take. Maybe you are in a situation where volunteering will be fulfilling enough and you can risk not generating work-related income. On the other hand, maybe you are ready to take a financial risk by starting your own business, which may involve an investment.

These six questions are an excellent start in framing the answer to the ultimate questions of why and how you will continue to work as you age. is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.


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Coping with High Anxiety

Musings Covid-19-4939288_1920As a boomer blogger during this time of crisis, I'm sheltering in place as much as possible and trying not to obsess over the bleak news. I'm certain I am not alone -- everyone is surely having to cope with the high anxiety created by this unprecedented global event.

Still, I find it encouraging and inspiring to see what people and businesses are doing at a time like this. In the Asheville area where I live, clever and creative things are springing up. Some examples: The "Quarantine Concert Series," is a free series of nightly online concerts performed by local musicians in an empty venue (you can donate online to support your favorite musician). "Asheville Strong" is a website that allows any local restaurant or merchant to link to gift cards that can be purchased online and used later, since all restaurants and merchants are closed for now, except for delivery and pick-up. I would bet similar things are happening in your area, wherever you live.

Boomers are old and wise enough to know that challenges and crises are a part of life that tend to make us wiser and more resilient. In that spirit, I'm sharing a link below to one of the more helpful, positive resources I've found:

Greater Good's Guide to Well-Being During Coronavirus

This free online guide contains lots of practices, articles and resources, including "How to Keep the Greater Good in Mind During the Coronavirus Outbreak," "How Can We Stop Prejudice in a Pandemic?" and "Eight Acts of Goodness Amid the COVID-19 Outbreak."

Be smart and stay safe. We will prevail. is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.


Check out the new book featuring 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s!

Getting Serious About Money Before You Retire

Musings Piggy-bank-2889046_1920There is a significant financial risk associated with retirement, and in general, Boomers are not planning for it. Studies continue to show that too many Boomers have under-funded their retirement by not saving enough -- one of the major reasons they say they must continue to work well into their 70s and even beyond. While there may be good reasons we Boomers haven't saved enough for retirement, it will catch up with us when we stop working. Social Security benefits simply will not provide enough income to live on.

Renowned financial author Jean Chatzky makes it plain in an article for The Balance that a retiree's income must account for three large unknowns: Longevity, Inflation and Health Care Needs. They each have their good news/bad news components:

  • Longevity: The good news is we are living longer; the bad news is it costs more to live longer.
  • Inflation: The good news is the inflation rate is currently low; the bad news is it could easily spiral and we don't know when.
  • Health Care Needs: The good news is you may be healthy right now; the bad news is health care will cost more as you age, which is when you may need it the most.

In her article, Chatzky outlines a sound strategy for dealing with these three unknowns. Her recommendations include:

  • taking into consideration your unique consumption habits
  • understanding how your spending will change as you age
  • compensating for your changing spending habits by modifying your savings approach
  • making sure you account separately for health care expenses
  • creating a tax strategy, and
  • planning for both emergencies and long-term expenses.

Her article is well worth reading.

All of this may sound bewildering and possibly overwhelming. Let's face it: You may be intelligent, educated and aware -- but having enough money to retire is serious, and it could literally affect the rest of your life. That's why every Boomer would be well advised to come up with a plan (and, in my opinion, work with a Certified Financial Planner) to help figure out the best path to a secure retirement... before it's too late. is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.


Check out the new book featuring 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s!

On the Side

OnYourOwn Women-4013872_1920There's an interesting work option for the Boomer who has a full-time job but knows it's only a matter of time before that position ends, either by circumstance or by choice. That option is working on the side. In days gone by, it was called "moonlighting," but these days, you hear it referred to in terms such as a "side hustle" or "part-time gig." Whatever you choose to call it, the idea is an intriguing one.

Here's how it works: While remaining employed in another position, you use your own time to research, experiment, and potentially accept work on the side. It goes without saying that the work you take on must not conflict with your regular employment in any way. Especially tricky is the situation in which you may have to communicate with side hustle customers during the work day or, worse, if those customers have any chance of conflicting with your employer's customers. These are two of the larger sticky issues related to side hustles.

But that doesn't mean it isn't possible, and even desirable, to begin working on the side if you're a Boomer. Leslie Hunter-Gadsden, writing about the topic for, spoke to some professors who endorsed the idea for those Boomers who are looking to potentially start their own businesses. Professor Phillip Phan of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School told Hunter-Gadsden, “It’s great to see if there is a market for your business while not depending on it for an income.” Professor David Deeds at the University of St. Thomas said, “You need to really take the time to do your research getting feedback from potential customers.” Northeastern University professor Kimberly A. Eddleston added, "By starting a business before you stop working, you can see what your time commitment will actually be. It will help you to understand what your actual day would look like once you are doing it full-time.”

Another related phenomenon is something called "sidepreneurship." Particularly popular with retirees, this method of side hustling defines those who work fewer than 20 hours per week in their own businesses. A 2019 report by American Express on women-owned businesses, cited by Kerry Hannon in her article about sidepreneurship for, indicated that the five-year growth rate for sidepreneurs was more than triple all businesses (32 percent vs. 9 percent). The growth rate for sidepreneur women was especially impressive; for example, among African-American women, sidepreneurs vs. all businesses was 99 percent vs. 50 percent. Professor Eddleston told Hannon, “What likely attracts women to these sidepreneur opportunities is their lack of risk...women...test the waters and see if they like the business before taking the plunge and going full time. ... That means, an older woman who is not ready to fully retire can keep working as a sidepreneur."

Starting a business is not the only reason to engage in side hustles. In fact, it is not uncommon nowadays for workers to take on freelance or contract work outside of the constraints of their daily job simply to earn extra income. ZenBusiness reports, "A recent study from Payoneer revealed that the average hourly rate of gig workers is $19 an hour–more than double the national minimum wage in the U.S.–making a side hustle a helpful choice for those in a financial bind." ZenBusiness goes on to discuss both the side hustler who works on the side while employed elsewhere, and the "serial side hustler," who hustles full-time. Check out their helpful guide for serial side hustlers here:

Full-time employment may be the best option for you. Still, you may find that working on the side can pay off in many ways, especially as you age. is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.


Check out the new book featuring 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s!