When I speak to people about their second-acts, I often get asked this question, “I’d love to make a switch to my dream semi-retirement job, but I can’t afford it. What should I do?”
I understand their concern. After all, it’s easy to say, “Follow your passion” or “Now is the time to realize your dreams.” But when you have bills to pay and little in savings, your financial reality and second-act plans may not line-up. Training is expensive, new businesses require start-up capital and salaries for people pivoting to something new are far less than those of experienced workers.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to shore up your finances, no matter how challenging your current reality. Here are four to consider:
The sharing economy – platforms and services that make it easy for you to rent out things you own and services you offer – opens up some interesting options for retirees looking to generate extra cash during their second act. And contrary to what you might think, the sharing economy is no longer limited to services like Uber and Airbnb.
These days, people are using sharing apps for all types of services, ranging from pet care to cooking to home sharing. The sharing economy is growing so rapidly that it is expected to be a $335 billion industry by 2025, according to projections by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Most sharing economy workers are relatively young. But baby boomers are now starting to profit from (and use) these sharing services as well.
That’s welcome news, because in many ways sharing gigs are tailored to retirees. These jobs provide greatly needed extra income on a very flexible schedule. The platforms make it easy for people to list their services and collect payments, without having to incur the risky start-up costs of opening a new business. And a few companies even provide liability insurance, training and other entrepreneurial support services.
So if generating some extra income during retirement is on your to-do list, here are six ways you might be able to profit from the sharing economy during retirement:
Bonjour! I recently returned from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the French Alps, a gift to my husband in celebration of a milestone birthday. The photo above shows me leading an impromptu workshop about second-act careers for our fellow travelers – unquestionably the nicest setting I’ll ever “work” in.
Because my husband loves good cheeses, we decided to travel with CheeseJourneys.com, a unique tour company that creates “unforgettable food travel opportunities that allow you to share in their passion for artisan cheeses, the individuals who create them and the cultures that nourish them.”
As advertised, the trip proved unforgettable. But for me, one of the best parts of the trip was the opportunity to get to know my fellow boomer-generation travelers - several of whom enjoy food and travel related second-act careers. Let me briefly share a bit about their stories in the hope that they will inspire your own second-act shift:
Can you turn what you own into what you do during semi-retirement?
Whether it’s a treasured collection of antique postcards, a garden overflowing with organic vegetables or a movie-set worthy home, chances are at least some of what you own might generate retirement-based income.
I got to thinking about this option recently while visiting The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT. More than just a museum, this stunning property has served as the home of the Lyme Art Colony, America’s center of Impressionism, for over a century.
The museum’s collections and charming gardens are well worth a trip. But what I most appreciated about my visit was the opportunity to learn about Florence Griswold and her second act. It’s an impressive tale that has some valuable lessons for us all about grit, moxie and working with what you got.
If you’re a NPR geek like me, you’ve likely heard that Dave Isay, the founder of StoryCorps recently published a new book Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work. Culled from over 65,000 recorded StoryCorps interviews, the stories demonstrate that vocational passion and fulfillment can be found in the most unexpected ways and places.
I read the book this past weekend and enjoyed it thoroughly. I think you will too.
While the book is more an inspirational read than a how-to guide, Isay includes a list of thought-provoking questions at the end of the book that I think are worth sharing. (Technically these questions are designed to get people to open for their StoryCorps interviews, but I think they’re equally useful as a means to help you find your calling).
While not all the questions will resonate, at least a few should prompts some insights into your values, motivators and passions as you plan your second act.
Here are some of my favorites:
- What were the happiest moments of your life? The saddest?
- Who has been the most important person in your life?
- What lessons has your work life taught you?
- What are you the proudest of in your life?
- Are there any words of wisdom you’d like to pass along to me?
- How has your life been different than what you’d imagined?
- How would you like to be remembered?
- Do you have any regrets?
Interesting food for thought, no? I hope you’ll take some time to mull these over.
To learn more about the book and to hear a few of the interviews, be sure to check out this NextAvenue.org post Finding Your Calling Through Work.