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Planning Retirement Online

Lifting the Lid off Retirement

Jeanne Davis.jpg (7321 bytes)Lifting the lid off retirement is a regular series written by Jeanne Davis. Jeanne is the author of “How to Plan Your Successful Retirement” and has published numerous features on midlife and ageing issues in The Guardian, Woman’s Realm and other national publications. For many years, she was a director of AARP (The American Association of Retired Persons) a membership organisation with 33 million members that represents the interests of people 50 and over.    


WORKING IN RETIREMENT                                          

Some people want to sit back and enjoy. Others need the stimulus of work, or feel they have skills to offer after retirement. They may want to boost their income, dream of running a business or setting up as a consultant. Before you begin your job search, ask yourself some questions. These will help you sharpen your focus.



Rank your answers in order of importance, starting with A for the most important and ending with F, the least important.



To supplement my income    ______   
Need the companionship   ______   
I don’t want to be bored    ______   

My mind will atrophy without

the mental stimulation    

I need a sense of purpose ______   
Without a job, at parties and dinners, no one  will want to listen to me ______   

Your answers above will help you set priorities.  There are other  basic considerations:


          How many hours a week can you commit to?  A full Monday to Friday?  Two or three half-days?  Is working a long-term prospect or simply for the next year or two?

         What about distance.  Are you prepared to commute or do you prefer to be local? (Wouldn’t it be nice to walk to work.)

         Are you planning to seek an opening in a similar field to your previous job, where your contacts and experience would come in useful or do you want to do something different?

         Would you do a training course?

        If a priority is to earn money, what are the effects of working on your pension, national insurance, taxes?  Happily, the earnings rule has been abolished.  Regardless of  age or how much you earn, there is no longer any reduction in your state pension. 

         What financial compensation do you need from your work?  Your answer will eliminate job options that don’t meet your requirements.





Most of us think  we know ourselves and what we want.  The next step is to get to know yourself better.  List what you discover.



Special interests

A special interest is something you are naturally drawn to – something that you are willing to devote time, energy and perhaps money to learning and  pursuing.  Your special interests are probably reflected in your hobbies or leisure activities.  They may have been acquired through school, clubs and organisations, sports, books, jobs, travel, voluntary work, other people, contemplation. Some experts believe that your interests are better indicators of the kind of work you should be doing than your experience, skills, or education.


Work values

What do you value and what is important to you?  One person may value power, wealth and creativity.  Another may value security, inner peace and service.  To achieve maximum job satisfaction, work should reflect deeply rooted values or at least not conflict with them.  For some, work is essential to a sense of identity ('no one will want to listen at parties or dinners'), though it doesn't necessarily mean that only full time work would fulfil this need.



If asked, most of us can claim perhaps a half-dozen skills for ourselves.  Yet  some experts say that each of us actually possesses hundreds of skills.  While skills are often developed through formal education  and job training, many of our top skills are learned over the course of a lifetime through personal interests and hobbies, voluntary work, reading, sports, family responsibilities, self-study and social activities.


  There are three kinds of skills:


1.     Action skills.  What can you do? ( ie drive a bus)

2.     Personal skills.  What are you?  (ie I am flexible)

3.     Work/leisure skills.  What do you know? ( ie basic bookkeeping principles and procedures)

Spend some time identifying and analysing your skills.  Knowing their true extent  will open up a greater number of job possibilities.  Think, too, about updating your skills.  Learn how to operate a new piece of equipment. Learn about the new technology in your field.  Take some classes.




Insights from your self-assessment should help you identify a half-dozen or more job possibilities that call for your unique combination of skills, values, interests, and preferences.  Consult career counselling, talk to friends, family, co-workers, persons who are using the skills you want to use in your next job.




Working part-time. 

This suits the majority of people in retirement, though jobs may be less interesting and involve less responsibility than full-time jobs. Job-sharing, whereby two or more people share the hours, duties, pay and benefits of one full-time job may be more satisfying, if you can get it.



You can work at home for an employer, keeping in touch with employer and customers through computers, telephones and faxes (many teleworkers are self-employed).




Jobcentres.  Good for work in retail, catering and customer service. A client adviser will discuss the kind of work you want and advise on benefits.

Employment agencies. Look in Yellow Pages.  There are a number that specialise in finding jobs for older people.  These include Age Works and the Over 50s Employment Bureau.  For a fact sheet that includes names and addresses of agencies for older people call Age Concern - 0800 00 99 66 

National and local press, radio.  Some national newspapers advertise different categories of job on different days.  Look in professional and trade journals: the Classified Index of Willings Press Guide lists those published in the UK.  Some local radio stations also advertise job vacancies.

Networks.  Use your contacts to obtain advice, information and jobs.  The ‘old boys system’, clubs and professional associations, also family, neighbours and friends,  people you meet in your place of worship, a trade union or your local pub.

Self-advertising.  Advertisements in the national or local press, putting a notice in a shop window, and writing to prospective employers telling them what you can offer are all forms of self-advertising.




Offering a service. You might want to carry on the work you did pre-retirement, or develop a hobby or leisure interest into a money-making activity - anything from doing some dressmaking to decorating for friends and neighbours.  Again network, tell people of your service.  Get business cards printed plus a leaflet explaining your service.

Becoming a consultant.  You can set yourself up as a consultant in almost any field - fashion, computers, tax, even retirement if you have the skills and expertise.  Make sure you keep up to date with developments in your field of activity.

Buying an existing business. To find out about the availability of businesses that interest you check the appropriate trade journals or a business transfer agency (look in your local Yellow Pages ).  Try to discover as much as you can about any business that interests you: what the location is like, what reputation the business has in the area, why the present owners want to sell. When you get to the stage of serious negotiation, seek professional help.  

Starting from scratch. This may  need less capital than buying a business because you will not have to pay for intangible assets such as goodwill.  You need to ask yourself whether you have the necessary skills - research, marketing, selling, bookkeeping, planning, dealing with people - the stamina and the capital.  Can you cope with the insecurity and the hard work? Talk to people in the field, read books, go on a course.

Buying a franchise.  A franchise is the grant of a licence by one person (the franchiser) to another (the franchisee) which entitles the franchisee to trade under the franchiser's name.  The franchisee also receives help with establishing and running the business.  Franchises on offer in the UK include such household names as the Body Shop, Clark’s Shoes and Burger King, as well as many smaller, recently established ones.  Advantages:  you are likely to have fewer start-up problems.  Disadvantage: initial fee can be very large, on top of what you have to pay for premises, equipment, stock, etc. And you pay royalties to the franchiser.

Where can you go for help?

Your bank manager, solicitor, accountant.  Other local sources include TECs (Training and Enterprise Councils) and  Chambers of Commerce. TECs offer training, support and advice.  You should be allocated a business counsellor for the first couple of years, who will help you draw up a business plan.



Need more details:  see Good (non) Retirement Guide 2000, by Rosemary Brown, Enterprise Dynamics Ltd.  In-depth information on starting your own business, looking for paid work, with extensive local resources listed.


To view previous articles in this series - see the laterlife-interest index page   


laterlife interest

The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

It includes both one off articles and also regular columns of a more specialist nature such as healthwise, reports from the REACH files, and a beauty section called looking good in later life.

Also don't forget to take a look at our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT by IT trainer and author Jackie Sherman.

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