Real Life Stories of Retirement Jobs! What Are You Going to Be When You Grow Up and Retire?

The skills you earn today can lead to a whole new career tomorrow.

Retirement doesn’t mean what it used to, at least not for everyone. There was a time when leaving work meant winding down for good. Now, it’s often just the beginning of a whole new life phase, one where you can learn new things, put established skills to work, and supplement your retirement income in a meaningful way.

The vast majority of people now say that they want to build on old skills and learn new ones after retiring. That’s what a 2008 AARP study, “Investing in Training 50+ Workers: A Talent Management Strategy” revealed. With an “encore” career, you can do that.

Here are 2 people who did, and never looked back:

Great people skills are an asset to any company.

Financial Pro Turned Elderly Caregiver

Cheryl Delaney had spent most of her pre-retirement career working in the financial industry. She worked as a bank officer, loan administrator, and as an investment firm office manager, according to the New York Times. She never thought that she’d have a new career after retirement, much less one in such a different field.

When Cheryl retired, she did actually totally relax for a while. But all of the down time turned out to be less enjoyable than she’d imagined. After a few years of not working, she decided to find something productive to do.

While she was still employed, Cheryl had looked into She entered her information, but then mostly forgot about it. As luck would have it, she received a call from a related company named “Mature Caregivers,” which was searching for people over 50 to work in an assisted living center.

Although Cheryl balked at the idea at first, given that her experience was far removed from caregiving, she decided to give it a shot. And it’s a good thing. Like many other retirees, she learned that a post-retirement career doesn’t have to align perfectly with what she’d done in the past. Her people skills translated, and she now has a new job that she truly enjoys.

Your education and experience could make an excellent teacher.

IBM Engineer Turned High School Math Teacher

Keith Gordon had always planned to retire from his position as a systems engineer with IBM at age 66. But that didn’t turn out like he’d expected. Like some other companies, IBM offers a service to employees who are nearing retirement age. It’s called, “Transition to Teaching.” And although Gordon hadn’t thought about teaching before, the program got his attention.

Transition to Teaching helps current IBM employees find a second career as math or science educators after retirement. But it’s not a referral service. They offer employees up to $15,000 toward earning a teaching certificate while they’re working as student teachers. And at age 61, that’s the route that Gordon took, says Carole Fleck for AARP.

Gordon explains, “Now I’m thinking 66 is so young, I can easily imagine teaching well past that.” Indeed, many people who would traditionally have been retired and not thinking about work at all have found that this is no time to slow down. People live longer and healthier lives now than ever before. So there’s no reason not to find a new career and earn retirement income if you’re able and have the desire.

Nancy Collamer, author of “Second-Act Careers” and semiretirement expert, tells the New York Times, “There’s a real myth around reinvention, particularly when you talk about people in their 60s and 70s.” It’s not about a total reinvention; it’s about reworking the skills you’ve acquired and finding another place where they fit.

Some think of a post-retirement career as a great way to earn more income. And some just aren’t ready to slow down. Regardless of why you might not want to give up working for good, there are plenty of options available. They might not be in the same field where you’ve spent your previous career, but the skills that you’ve earned are likely viable in a wider range of industries than you ever knew.

What is Your Real Life Retirement Story?

NewRetirement can help you understand what you’ll need to retire, and whether a new career later on might give you the extra retirement income that you need. The best place to start is here. Check out our retirement calculator and see how your plan stacks up.

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