Retiring before you planned to
Rebooting today is very different from rebooting when I started this website. At the beginning I was envisioning scores, maybe hundreds or thousands, of aging baby boomers entering retirement and looking for a second career doing something new.
That notion has been obliterated by first, the Great Recession, and second, the coronavirus pandemic.
Today there is even a concern for what one might call “unbooting,” or the inability of older workers simply to keep on working because of all the economic disruption causes by the coronavirus pandemic.
A headline in the New York Times (6/28/20) reads, “The Pandemic May Lead Many to Retire Early.” “It’s still early,” writes Mark Miller, “but experts believe the pandemic will upend the timing of retirement plans of many older workers. In some cases, their decisions will be voluntary; in other cases, retirement may be forced upon them.”
Many older workers say they will have to work longer because of the economic disruption caused by the pandemic. “But that will be easier said than done,” writes Miller. “Between 2014 and 2016, just over half the workers who retired between 55 and 64 did so involuntarily because of ill health, family responsibilities, layoffs and business closings.”
Tricia Neuman, director of the Medicare policy program at Kaiser, is quoted as saying: “It’s double jeopardy for older workers as businesses open up. If they return to work they risk getting seriously ill due to Covid, but if they stay at home they may forfeit their earnings.”
But there are ways to cope with even these circumstances. You’ll find many of them on this website. Check out How To Reboot for some ideas.
Finding a job in a changed world
The AARP Bulletin, June 2020, has helpful tips on how to Get Ready for a New Job Market. “Once the pandemic ends, a large number of older workers will need to find a new job – or even a new career,” the Bulletin says. “And the available jobs will be moving more to telecommunicating and digital work than ever before.” Here are the tips:
- Learn new digital communication platforms, such as LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, YouTube, Udemy, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom, Google, Basecamp. Asana, and Trello.
- Polish your LinkedIn profile
- Police your digital identity. Search your name and click on the top 10 links to see what a prospective employer might see
- Look for work-from-home jobs
- Update your resume
- Network virtually
- Learn something (always a good idea, no matter what!)
- Plan to work longer
Going back to work for somebody else
If your plans for reinvention include going back to work – or continuing to work – you need to make one basic decision up front: work for someone else, or go into business for yourself?
Deciding to continue working for pay is a nontrivial decision because it will be a crucial factor in determining how motivated you are. Make sure you have sufficient motivation – from inside if you are a complete self-starter, or from family and friends if you also need external encouragement and support.
Here are some questions and suggestions to help in your decision:
- Are you going back to work by choice, because you want to? Or are you going back to work out of necessity, because you have to? The answer to this question will help you determine whether you need to stick close to what you already know or have some degree of freedom to take a risk on something new.
- What kind of work to do?
- What you did in your last job before retirement? Retraining may not be needed.
- What you did at an earlier time in your career (and may still be good at)? Some retraining may be needed – a refresher course, or training in new technology, tools and techniques. (See Going back to school on this site.)
- Thinking of something entirely new (maybe an area where you have a lot of interest, but have never done this for pay)? Considerable retraining may be needed. You need a retraining plan, perhaps school, or a “learner” position somewhere (see Finding a School).
- Where to do it?
- At your old company – perhaps as a part timer or consultant
- At a competitor in the same business or industry
- With a temporary help agency
Going to work at a company that makes a point of hiring senior people
If your idea of rebooting includes going back to work, there’s plenty of help available. The AARP website has a host of services to help you find a job that’s right for you.
For example, here’s a list of job search sites catering to older workers:
For job seekers 50 and over
Senior Job Bank
For job seekers 50 and over
Older boomers, seniors, and retirees
For job seekers 50 and over
Older scientists, engineers, and product developers
Retirees interested in working in Europe
Here’s the URL to the AARP site:
AARP notes that all links are provided as a public service. Their inclusion does not imply an endorsement by AARP of organizations on this list or the content on their sites. Their inclusion here also does not imply an endorsement by RebootYou.com.
Going back to work for yourself — starting your own business
When I start something new, I always look for a book on the subject. The most economical and time-saving way to do this is to search online.
Google “starting a business” and the titles cascade in. There’s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting Your Own Business for starters. Then for those who want strength in numbers, there’s the Dummies series. The Dummies website lists no less than 980 search results on starting a business!
A simpler solution is available at the Small Business Administration’s website (www.sba.gov). There you’ll find a fact-packed Business Guide that tells how to plan, launch, manage and grow your business, and outlines 10 steps to start up:
- Conduct market research
- Write your business plan
- Fund your business
- Pick your business location
- Choose a business structure
- Choose your business name
- Register your business (state, federal governments)
- Get federal and state tax IDs
- Apply for necessary licenses and permits
- Open a business bank account
It takes time, planning and disciplined thinking, and you can’t do it in a day. But hitting all the steps will get your new business started on a firm foundation.
- AllBusiness.com, whose website claims to be “one of the world’s largest online resources for small businesses, providing essential tools and resources to start, grow, and manage your business.” They offer “real-world expertise and practical advice from some of the best minds in small business,” plus feature stories about business owners, a large library of how-to articles and special reports on important trends.
- You should consider retaining an attorney and an accountant before you start. Discuss your business plan with them and get their startup advice.
- Get business cards and stationery printed for your business.
- Register an Internet domain name for your business. For general information on domain names, go to http://www.internic.net. This is the website operated by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
- Garage Technology Ventures at http://www.garage.com is a seed-stage and early-stage venture capital fund. On their website they say: “We invest in entrepreneurial teams seeking to transform big ideas into game-changing companies. We invest in unproven teams attacking unproven markets with unproven solutions. We’re not interested in teams creating the nth solution to the same old problem nor companies trying to improve things by only 10 or 20 percent.”
Start a consulting business
Perhaps the simplest way to reboot is just to go back to work, or continue to work, in the same field where you finished your career. Consulting is a great way to extend the value of your experience, know-how and expertise.
Consider for a moment all the hours you spent learning what you know. The company you are about to retire from (or used to work for) may still need that knowledge. And while the company may not be willing or able to keep you employed full time, with full benefits, it very well may be able and eager to engage you part time as a consultant.
If you’re a retiree, you probably don’t need full benefits. Hopefully you’ve got your IRA or other life savings and investments, you’ve got Social Security and Medicare, you’ve got “replacement assets” for those “total reward packages” your company used to remind you about every so often.
If you can’t consult for your former company, maybe there’s an opportunity at another company in the same or a related field.
The beauty of consulting is that you may be able to continue to earn a return on your intellectual investment — sometimes a very nice return.
Think out of the box — or inside the box
Reflect on your own knowhow. How good are your computer skills? Maybe you aren’t an expert, but you know from experience how to solve the relatively minor problems that trip up new users. You can probably help a lot of people, maybe in your neighborhood (or even in your family!), when their screen freezes, their mouse or keyboard suddenly doesn’t work or they’ve forgotten how to find things in Outlook.
If you can do this, how would you offer your services? Facebook ,Twitter or Next Door are possibilities. Post a message: “Hey, anybody need some low-tech help with a computer problem? I may be able to help — for a ridiculously reasonable price. Shoot me a text or email about your problem and I’ll bet back to you right away with whether I can help or not.”