Encore Careers

So, what is an encore career? Any career that you pursue to supplement your income after retiring can be considered an encore career. People are retiring and looking for encore careers for a number of reasons: Many baby boomers are reaching retirement age and finding that they cannot afford to retire; the economy is making it harder for people to pursue their primary career; they want to transition to an encore career that takes up less time; they have been offered an early retirement package from their company, but aren’t quite ready to retire.

Regardless of why you retired, there are several paths you can take to start your encore career. You can use your knowledge that you gained in your primary career as a consultant. Offer your services to your previous employer, competitor companies or companies in a related field who can use your skills. Let your networking contacts and family and friends know that you are available for consulting. Consulting may mean signing on with a staffing agency. There are a number of benefits to this. You should get a written contract from the agency that clearly specifies the details of the position including salary, length of contract and any perks. You may get a benefits package including health insurance and life insurance that is partially subsidized, 401k plan, laptop, company car and an expense account. You may also get repeat consulting business through the staffing agency. The downside to consulting: Depending on the state in which you live and the industry in which you work, you may have to sign a non-compete clause in your contract that stipulates that you will not simultaneously work for a company’s competitor now and for a specified time in the future. Check to make sure that non-compete clauses are legal in your state before you sign one. Some industries that use consultants include: banking and finance, IT, health administration, non-profits, government and non-governmental organizations and human resources.

Freelancing can be another type of encore career. You may still have to sign a contract to freelance for a company, but you should be able to freelance for as many companies as you like. You can set your own hours, you may or may not have deadlines, you may be able to work from home and you can choose freelance assignments that interest you. There are some companies that hire freelancers, including creative staffing agencies that will provide benefits such as health insurance. Some freelance careers include: medical, advertising and technical writing, film, online and print editing, day care or caregiver respite work, acting and public event planning.

Entrepreneurship also builds on knowledge, skills, abilities and interests. You may find it rewarding to start up a business based on a life-long interest that you never got a chance to pursue while you were developing your primary career. Drawing up a business plan for this new business of yours may actually surprise you: you may actually know more about your hobbies or interests than you thought you did. Take advantage of your previous employer’s health and life insurance if you can. If not, there are professional associations that you can join where you can buy into individual or group health plans. You can also network through these associations to get ideas for your business and to benchmark your business’s success.

Stay tuned: The next blog will be about online career resources for primary and encore careers.