Insights from ‘Second-Act Careers’ author Nancy Collamer

Dale Niemi
Posted by Dale Niemi
Retirement & Investing

As I’ve noted in an earlier blog post, a major sea change is happening in the reality of retirement; people are living and working longer, with many making new, creative use of this period in their lives. Nancy Collamer has written often about this phenomenon, and her recent book “Second-Act Careers” showcases a wide — and often entertaining — range of work options that are transforming retirees’ lives.

Author Nancy Collamer speaking on semi-retirement options.Her book is a tremendously useful tool for people of any age. The profiles of actual retirees and thought-provoking exercises are great for expanding your ideas of what’s possible.

In the brief Q&A below, Nancy shared with me further insights about her work, and I hope they inspire some creative ideas for your own retirement planning.

Q: Your book explores a very entrepreneurial approach to retirement. What kind of impact do you see this approach having on retirees’ lives? A: Most of the retirees I interviewed are working on a part-time basis as solo entrepreneurs. It gives them the best of both worlds: The chance to boost their financial stability, learn something new, and remain active — while having greater work-life flexibility.

What is the most surprising second-act career you discovered in your research?

There were lots of surprises, although my personal favorite is the woman who works as a mediator who resolves pet-related disputes. It sounds crazy, but when you consider all the conflicts involving pets — for instance, childless couples going through divorce and each wants to keep the dog — you realize it’s a doggone smart business idea!

As more and more people adopt this approach, what do you think will be some of the big implications for retirement planning?

More people will expect their financial planners to offer assistance with the lifestyle side of retirement planning. Financial advice alone will no longer be enough.

What financial-planning or investment considerations have you seen become really important for people planning such a “semi-retirement”?

Even if you plan to continue working during retirement, it’s important to continue to save as much as you can while working full-time — you never know what the future may hold. When evaluating your options, remember to factor Social Security into the mix. If you can hold off on claiming benefits until you’re near age 70, you’ll likely maximize your monthly payout.

How do you see this movement reshaping how most people — especially younger generations — view retirement?

The notion of a strictly leisure-focused retirement is outdated. With more people living past 90, you can enjoy a whole “bonus” life after you retire. Whether you chose to work, volunteer, pursue hobbies or travel, it’s vital to remain active, engaged and connected in a meaningful way.

For more information about Nancy Collamer and second-act careers, visit her website and follow her on Twitter.

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