Life After Retirement

Is there life after retirement? Several ways to stay active and make money after retiring.

We live out our lives in search of, and waiting for, our golden years of retirement, assured that all will be well, if we can just reach the age of 65. But, even if we sweat and toil for the financing to support our life of ease and leisure, how many of us actually plan on just what we will do, when our days are no longer filled with the 8 to 5 grind of work? After all, there's only so much one can stand of sitting on a porch, rocking away the hours. Sooner or later, you've got to get up and move.

And, let's face it, for many (most?) of us, no matter how hard we work in the pre-65 years, we still won't have enough money to see us through the so-called golden years. With Social Security becoming more insecure, and retirement money being spent on survival before 65, there may not be enough money to allow for even the basics of survival, once retirement is finally achieved.

So, what does one do? How can a retiree enjoy life after age 65, and still afford to eat and sleep under a safe, secure roof? There are options, but one must many times be creative. There is a careful balance to be achieved. In many instances, seniors who want to enjoy their retirement and afford to do the fun things in life sometimes must reinvent themselves and create a whole new life. But it doesn't have to be doom and gloom, or dreading the 2nd half of a work-filled life with little time for pleasure.

In earlier years, most of us have had obligations of family and work. And, even if we totally enjoy these aspects of our lives, there are still obligations involved, which dictate much of our daily lives. It may be, for many folks, dreams of their youth must be put on hold, or even abandoned, all for the joy and pleasure of family and a job really enjoyed, or perhaps, a job that at least pays the bills. After age 65, when most families have seen their kids grown and out on their own, and with retirement from a life-long job, it's time for seniors to look back to those dreams. It's never too late to reach for the stars and go after cherished dreams. Instead of later years spent in dull or lifeless days, searching and struggling to make ends meet, or to find truly enjoyable activities, this is the time to pull out those dreams, dust them off, and set off in search of exploration and growth.

Have you ever wanted to draw, or paint, sing or dance? How about that book that's been sitting on back burners in your mind, how about penning those words now? Even if you never desired to write the next best seller, think about the experiences you've lived. There may well be a shelf-load of books just begging to be written, and you the perfect one to write them. Look back at the years of experience you've lived, as parent, as wife or husband, as business owner, hobbyist, gardener, whatever it may have been, you will have a wealth of information from which to draw.

Maybe you always dreamed of travel, but other obligations kept you from it. Why not pack up the essentials and set off on a world adventure? You could sail new seas, hike and backpack your way through Europe, cycle around the country, or just hitch up the travel trailer and cruise the highways and byways. Whatever you decide to do, make it the best opportunity of your life. Keep your eyes and ears open during your travels, and you'll more than likely stock up on wonderful stories to write about. Meet and get to know people you run across. Tell some of their stories to the rest of the world, through magazine and newspaper articles. Use your imagination and make the most of what you have before you.

If you want to volunteer your time and talents, be a VISTA volunteer. Travel the U.S. or some other country, and lend a hand to worthwhile projects that would welcome eager souls to jump in and help. Take a religious tour, maybe a medical missions trip. Join the efforts of those who are committed to bringing better medical conditions to less fortunate countries and peoples. Use your background in medicine or some other calling and put it all to work for something higher and grander than all of us.

Another volunteer opportunity lies in being a part of SCORE, retired business people serving as mentors and guides to younger folks starting off in the world of self-employment. Use your hard-earned lessons of business life and help smooth the road for those struggling to make the same tedious steps you've already made and learned from. There so much there to do. All you need do is look around you for the opportunities.

Perhaps your love of children might bring you to be an "adopted" grandparent. Not all children are lucky enough to have loving and caring grandparents. Some children would not only enjoy having a grandparent to love and cherish them, but might actually rise from otherwise dreadful living situations all because you took the time to be there for them. You might even choose to be a "big brother or sister" to many. Just because you're a senior doesn't mean that you are destined only and always to be viewed as a grandparent. Just being a friend to young people who are struggling to survive life can make all the difference in the world.

Maybe you're a retired nurse or doctor. In addition to joining overseas medical missions, you could always volunteer some time at inner city community health clinics. There are almost always more patients than personnel and supplies. Your talents would be well put to use in this type of setting. But, even if you don't have a medical background, you could still lend a hand. Where there are patients, there will be records that need to be filed, phones to be answered, and an assortment of other duties just like those in the traditional health clinics and doctors' offices.

Even other backgrounds can lend themselves to golden opportunities for service. Retired teachers can become tutors, or volunteers in schools. Retired actors (is there such a thing?) could lead a community theater and guide young actors and actresses on the road to their own success. A former law enforcement officer could offer home security seminars, either individually or as a service to senior groups. If your earlier life was spent in construction, so many opportunities await you in retirement. Help out in building a Habitat for Humanity house, and bring home ownership to those who otherwise would never have such an opportunity.

Whatever your background, skills and experiences, you have talents to offer. But you aren't limited to volunteer activities. If you find yourself in need of continued income for support, take the same assessment of your skills, talents and experiences, as well as carefully considering your hopes, dreams, hobbies and interests, and see what new life you can chisel out for yourself.

Maybe you'd like to open a business of your own. If you have cooking skills, open a catering business, or become a chef of your own restaurant. If you have solid business skills, become a consultant. Offer your expertise for a fee. Whether your background and skills lie in business or in some field totally unrelated, you will have skills and talents that would benefit others, and many will pay top prices to learn from you. In this way, everyone benefits. Open a store and sell the products you love to make. Use your hobbies as a catalyst or springboard for bigger and better things.

Other possibilities to consider:

· Teach a class. Even if you don't have a teaching degree, you may still qualify to teach a class at a local junior college. Or, simply set up shop and teach out of your home or local community center. See what knowledge you have that might be of interest and benefit to others.

· Be a computer consultant. Even if your former job was using a computer, but not necessarily in computer programming, you have skills that others are desperate to learn. Farm yourself out to companies or to small businesses. Or teach one-on-one.

· If you served as an accountant or bookkeeper, offer your services to small businesses who may not be able to afford full time staff.

· Maybe your sewing skills would be serviceable in a seamstress business of your own. Make formal dresses for those special occasions. Design clothing and start a whole new life for yourself.

· Take a class and learn to draw, paint, make ceramic art, write, or any other type of art or craft you've always wanted to try. Even if you never go into full time business with it, you will have an enjoyable and fulfilling way to spend your time.

Be creative and daring. Let yourself dream your dreams and reach for the stars. The sky is a star-filled land of dreams. You've lived your life, but being retired doesn't mean your life is over. On the contrary, you're just getting started. Be bold. Be courageous. Be daring. But, by all means, be yourself, and go for what you most want out of this world.

© High Speed Ventures 2011