Effectively Manage Life-Long Work Transitions

    Rivers can provide us answers to our questions. All too often rivers prompt us to ask better questions. What is the most effective way to transition from traditional work to creative work?

    I’m reminded ours is a nation of work as I slide back into my hammock hung between two ancient pines. Turning on my side I ask my question directly to the river. Do I really need to perform creative work in retirement even when I don’t need the money? A large rainbow trout rises to the surface snatching a surprised caddis fly. A colorful butterfly dances in the wind. Many would argue it is not really necessary to perform creative work.

    I disagree. Creative work is critical to your happiness, period. You may also find that one day you need to earn a little extra cash for whatever reason. A January report by the Insured Retirement Institute said that a healthy 65-year-old male can expect the cost of health care expenses, including premiums, for the rest of his life to total $350,000, and a 65-year-old woman can expect to pay at least $417,000.That is a big hit to your nest egg.

    Unfunded or underfunded multigenerational liabilities can really put a strain on your savings. Perhaps you’ll live to be a hundred years old? What if something totally unexpected comes about? Maybe you’re unhappy, bored by not working.  If Murphy’s working overtime it never hurts to be prepared. Why not have a creative work option in your back pocket. 

    The “New Retirement” which was born out of the “Great Recession” of 2008 has many future retirees scratching their heads. They often times wonder about working in retirement which raises the question as to the meaning of retirement today and in the future? Many would argue retirement is meaningless if they are just going to keep working anyway. I assert that retirement has exceptional meaning if you plan purposefully for it. I believe performing “Creative Work” for compensation or not is key to happiness and contentment in older age.

    Creative retirees understand growing old is not always an easy road. This is precisely why they are keeping mentally active, vibrant, and genuinely excited to see who they will become! Retirees have proven successful with creative lifestyles, creative jobs, creative businesses, creative artistic expression, creative hobbies, creative personal expression, arts and crafts, and more. This is due in part to the fact they finally have or can create the time needed to devote to their passion. They also possess a lifetime of experience, growth, and wisdom. As more future retirees anticipate and actually wrap up their years of service in their careers, moving into retirement, they get to find their passion again. Most have plenty of energy left for something that is meaningful and satisfying. 

The following work transition strategy is recommended:

* Make yourself indispensable at your current job/career – get involved in new company Initiatives, volunteer for the things others won’t

* Get to really know your competition, get contacts info, their roles & responsibilities

* Network within your industry and identify future remote work prospects

* Find your passion and make it your life’s work all throughout retirement 

    The speed of which these stages of work unfold is best determined by your aversion to risk. In the event you are risk averse then you benefit staying in your job/career as long as humanly possible, then going to work for the competition for a year or two maybe longer, then performing remote work for a year or two maybe longer, and then begin performing creative work for compensation or not. Please try to be realistic regarding your shelf life in each stage of your work.

    In the event you are more prone to taking risks then you might well speed up this transition to eventually performing creative work. Either way I assert that there is no real significant difference in compensation with traditional work vs. creative work. The day you stop working remotely you will experience a pay cut. After that the income you receive will be similar from traditional or creative work.

    One significant difference is that creative work will not be demeaning or boring. Creative work will enable you to fully develop yourself. Creative work is the secret to maintaining mental flexibility. Mental stagnation or rigidness (old dogs can’t learn new tricks) is the Kryptonite of older age. Creative work also helps you to stay healthy, maintain a routine, make new friends, and develop new interests.

    Some folk’s motivation to perform creative work is primarily economic. Unfortunately, too many have lost too much of their savings in recent years. Starting over is not a realistic option and yet neither is retiring comfortably without working part-time. These folks performing creative work are not bored with their work and find peace of mind in knowing they will not outlive their money. When feasible performing creative work as a second job grows a bigger nest egg and ensures healthier streams of informal income quicker in retirement.

   Staring intently into crystal clear, braided pocket water, I smile, recalling how yesterday I was getting lost in what I love doing. Tomorrow I will awaken excitedly to the prospect of creatively filling one of my 6,000 blank pages. How will you best transition into your creative work?


About Roger O'Keefe

My background is in education and finance. I'm a published author and photographer, former radio talk show host, and creative retirement planning expert. My work is a love of labor, I do not sell any products of any kind. I've appeared as a guest on more than 50 national and local television and radio shows. With a Masters in education, I'm a licensed educator and author of the “Future Bright Program” and the California State Department of Education “Teacher Appreciation Program.” I'm a member of the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Care Planning Council NCPC. I'm currently writing my second book and reside in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. My mission is to reshape retirement planning one person at a time. Please visit my website www.creativeretirementplanning.net and take advantage of the many complimentary online seminars, resources, and retirement planning tools.
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