Is an Encore Career the Right Move for Me?

Encore CareerThe thought of starting another career after federal retirement can seem counterintuitive. For some people, working in retirement is…not retirement! Despite the paradoxical nature of such a decision, many federal retirees do make this choice. If you’re considering returning to the workforce in retirement, or simply pondering life after your federal career concludes, here are some options to contemplate if an encore career is the right move.

Fresh Ideas for your Second Act.

For some, it might be an all-new career that takes root sometime during retirement years, such as starting a business or volunteering for a charity or other nonprofit organization. Others might choose to continue in an already-familiar line of work, by helping individuals in a consulting or advising capacity.

An encore career is not an either/or proposition. Since retirement is “your time,” your work life need not prevent you from exploring other interests; it can be a both/and scenario. It’s possible to control the pace and direction of your encore career with no need to sacrifice your sense of purpose or forfeit the majority of your leisure time.

Try Something New.

You might already have a clear idea of what you want to do with your encore career. Maybe you have had something in mind for years, but were just waiting for the time and resources to make it happen. It could be that you have wanted to direct your energies toward a cause or charity that you find meaningful. Or maybe, you want to take what you have learned and spin it off in a different direction, by giving back to others who are rising through the ranks, as you once did.

Another path may present itself in the form of giving back to a nonprofit organization or charity through volunteering. If you are not seeking a paying job, you may find your work is even more meaningful when you are not compensated for your efforts. Your contribution of time and energy could be deeply valued by your community, at a school, hospital, or even your church.

Or Stick with What You Know.

Of course, your encore career could be connected to, or inspired by the job from which you have recently retired. If you love your industry, maintaining contact with a familiar work environment and professional connections might suit you well. After all, a long, successful career in a particular field becomes second nature. There may be ways you can continue doing parts of your job you really enjoyed and less of the tasks you didn’t.

One option might be to simply reduce the number of hours per week you are working instead of going all the way to zero. That way, you will get to experience some of the additional freedom of being “semi-retired” while the workplace continues to benefit from your expertise and institutional knowledge. For some federal employees, phased retirement may be a viable option. (See more on phased retirement here.)

Time, the Ultimate Commodity

As you approach retirement, carefully consider how you want to spend your precious commodity of time. Your encore career represents an opportunity to spend your life in whatever way you choose; connect with others in new ways, and explore the person you were once too busy to become. Whatever you decide to do with your time, and whatever thriving in retirement looks like to you, Retirement Benefits Institute is here to support you in this transition.