Engaging Ways to Work Past 65

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Retiring at age 65 is so early 20th century — when people were lucky to even live to 65. Today, when we may have an entire generation’s worth of days to enjoy after age 65, retirement age is arbitrary. A lot has to do with how much we love what we do, how much we need the income, and how else we wish to spend our time.

A HECM can address the financial question, so anyone 62 or older is freed from working later in life solely to generate income. Knowing their home equity can provide a source of liquid assets as well as eliminate their largest monthly bill enables older workers to focus on the question of work itself: do they still want to work, and if so, how?

Now that 70 seems to be the new 60, at minimum, with people engaged in encore careers that fulfill them on many levels, it seems work, itself, is a tonic that helps keep people feeling purposeful and of use. According to a Gallup poll, almost a third of U.S. workers anticipate working past age 67.

Engagement Remains High

Baby Boomers appear even more reluctant to retire in their mid-sixties than previous generations, with ten percent saying they “never expect to retire.” Seeing as Paul McCartney just scored his first number one album in 36 years, at age 76, that’s understandable!

What’s intriguing is that older workers seem to be more psychologically engaged than their younger counterparts, perhaps because they’ve established a good work ethic over the decades — or simply want to ensure they hang on to their job as long as they want to keep it.

But if an older worker is ripe for change, possibilities beckon.

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Jobs in Cool Places

Just as HECM holders are now able to romance the road by lodging in high-end co-work/co-live environments for short periods of time, the types of positions they might find are worth exploring, once the pressure of full-time employment eases. That’s where CoolWorks comes in.

For 23 years, CoolWorks has been connecting people seeking meaningful and exciting work with employers looking for their energy, enthusiasm and knowledge. Sound like any seniors you know?

From national parks to retreat centers, conservation centers to dude ranches, CoolWorks lists positions that may appeal to older workers seeking something a little different. They even have a category, Older and Bolder, which states, “If you rest, you rust!”

An encore career might be a season working (or volunteering) at Yellowstone National Park, for example, or exploring life in a new state (perhaps one where a senior will later downsize with an H4P). Be forewarned, though: while there is a plethora of positions available in California, Colorado, Wyoming, and even Alaska, there’s just a single opening in Hawaii at the moment. Having it all is still a premium.

Education Transformation

For elders who feel called to contribute to the common good, volunteer opportunities abound, especially as they concern younger generations. Since this may be their grandchildren, seniors may be particularly interested (just as many Snake People are designing devices and healthcare apps to assist their aging grandparents.)

Founded the same year as CoolWorks (1995), Experience Corps teams volunteer retirees with schools, where they assist in classrooms or after-school programs, tutor kids in math or reading, and dispense an ample dose of the “grandparent love” children crave. Even the most accomplished adults find the program infinitely satisfying.

Says Alice Kirk, in her second year as a school volunteer, “I started law school at 47, finished at 50, and passed the bar the first time. This is more rewarding than that. This is my opportunity to give back. I don’t know how I could quit.”

The average age of a volunteer is 65, and no prior teaching experience is required. Life experience is what matters. And your HECM clients have it in spades — and hearts.


Dick Diamond October 23, 2018 at 5:22 am

I live in Florida where many folks come to enjoy an early retirement, but often feel like they stopped working too soon and become bored with not enough activity aside from their hobbies. As you pointed out, there are a lot of volunteer openings that can fill that void and provide the interaction with others that most of us need.

Great article Amara.

Amara Rose October 23, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Thank you, Dick. As we age healthier, many people are able to work well into their 70s and beyond, as we see even on the HECMWorld site, where some LOs are 70+ and even 80+. It’s wonderful to be able to contribute for as long and as much as we choose.

Sue Haviland October 29, 2018 at 5:21 am

Great article, Amara. Baby Boomer and seniors continued to re-define retirement.


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