Let's Talk Retirement - September 2023



“You don’t want people with enormous experience to just walk out the door. The Retiree Casual program keeps expertise around and helps transfer it to others. People often remark that we don’t have many consultants around here. Actually, we do, but they’re called retirees, and they already know the business inside out.”

George Paulikas

This quote introduces George Paulikas, age 87, an executive who retired from Aerospace Corporation at age 62 and has been working part-time ever since. (Last year he worked one-quarter time.) It made me think it’s time for us to discuss FLEXIBLE RETIREMENT!

I recently read an article in FORBES that according to a survey done by the American Advisors Group, almost half (46%) of the more than 1,500 Americans aged 60 to 75 surveyed said they plan to work in retirement. Does that surprise you? Usually, we think people close to the end-of-work finish line can hardly wait – no meetings to rush to, no bosses bossing, and time is theirs to do whatever they want. So why do they still want to work? And some with the same company!

Well, many people just love what they do. They are annoyed that there are rules to usher them out at a certain age. Others say that since living through the pandemic, they need more money. And still others report that after the recent stay-at-home experience for so long with not much to do, retiring is a bad idea.

Since one of these scenarios may describe you, I’ve decided to focus this month’s column on Flexible Retirement. If you want to work after you retire, here are three ways for you to explore:

A. PHASED RETIREMENT – This is a gradual exit from the workforce – just remember it is an exit. Rather than celebrating that “last day” with the balloons, the cake, and the goodbye party hugs, you could choose, for example, something like a Three-Year Phased Retirement. This would mean that over a period of three years you could go on a trimmed schedule of 75% time the first year, 50% the second, with a final good-bye the end of the third year. If you are interested, ask your HR office if it is an option.

Again, I stress that this example is one of many variations of phased retirement out there. If it is available, you must be the one requesting it and have it authorized. (Interesting to consider, right? After all, you are good at what you do, so how about a slower good-bye and partial pay for fewer hours! Of course, you’ll have to put up with the jealous stares of younger co-workers!)

B. RETIREE CASUAL – Isn’t this a nice term? Besides wearing jeans and a cute tee shirt, it can mean an interesting compromise. I found it in the Aerospace Corporation where our friend George (from the quote at the beginning) works. See if your company either has something like it or wants to start one!

The difference between Phased Retirement and Retiree Casual is that some contracts in various companies restrict workers from coming back to work part time without actually retiring. What Aerospace has done is advise the employee to retire, have them stay away from work for six months, and then return as an independent contractor! Again, check your HR department to see what your contract includes.

C. RETIREMENT LITE - BUT NOT AT THAT JOB I’VE BEEN DOING FOR YEARS! Ok, ok, so you are tired of doing what you’ve been doing but want to work in retirement. My best advice is to become passionate about a cause. Research it and think about how you could become more involved. Then, when you do retire, the path will be set for possible part-time work.

Suzanne, a designer for 30 years, knew she enjoyed meeting people. She also really loved her city. She now works part time driving a trolly downtown giving tours and sharing interesting stories with visitors!

Fred, previously an executive with a technology company, always has been passionate about sports cars. He won many medals and joined many parades over the years. He’s turned his passion into becoming what he calls a “been there/done that low pressure new car salesperson - just here to help” at a local Jaguar dealership.

Maybe your passion is animals or sports or collecting first-edition books. Identifying it early on will be a big help in directing your efforts when you do bid full-time work goodbye. Start planning it now!

Good luck to you all. I’d love to hear about your company’s current policy regarding part-time work after retirement, as well as any passions that have directed you to places of joy if you’ve already retired! Send me a note.

And, by the way,





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