Planning To Work Past Retirement? Here’s What You Need To Do
Continuing to work after age 55 can certainly help with your retirement finances. You can continue to get a steady stream of income and more time to grow your retirement savings, and the number of retirement years you will need to plan for will also be shorter.
For some, working past retirement is a necessity, not an option. Especially since two out of three Employees Provident Fund (EPF) members aged 54 have retirement savings of less than RM50,000.
While some might need the income, others may want to continue working to feel challenged and fulfilled. Those who wish to continue working past retirement age will however need to plan well in advance before leaving their jobs to find the path much easier to follow.
Here are some pointers to landing a job in your retirement years:
(Re)define your value
Outside of your former employers, you need to be able to identify your value to prospective clients or firms to be able to appropriately market yourself.
To do this, you will first need to assess your experience, skill sets and general knowledge to merge them with prospective employment opportunities. Secondly, assess how your experience translates to marketable skills of value to their needs. Look for companies that require your specific skill sets.
Also be sure to identify firms or agencies outside of your industry that may want to hire people with your experience and skill sets so you can contact them for project assignments after you retire.
Keep your skills current and up to date
There is a constant stream of new skills to learn and develop as new technologies emerge and evolve.
Whatever skills you hold today may just be obsolete within the next five to ten years. If you are an IT consultant, the things you know and are implementing in your everyday job will most probably be obsolete within five years.
Nobody likes working with a dinosaur. So it is imperative to look ahead and keep your skills sharp and current, and stay active on professional networks to ensure your employability.
Identify future employers
Start reaching out to employers within your industry who are competitors and if possible, identify hiring managers within these organisations while you are still working so you can contact them for project assignments after you retire.
You can do so at trade shows or professional online networks like LinkedIn. Also, it never hurts to keep your resume up to date.
Build and expand your career network
Maintain your existing network as this is extremely valuable to you as well as any firm you may join. While you’re at it, it will also be useful for you to continue building your network of contacts so you can leverage on these ties to uncover job leads.
The easiest way to ask for referrals is by simply asking your current friends, family and acquaintances for the contact information of others whom they think would be beneficial for you to know. It’s no secret that the “friend-of-a-friend” connection is quite strong and usually successful when it comes to securing jobs.
Other ways you can do this is by joining professional or trade organisations, or by attending professional talks.
Line up possible work opportunities before you leave
Having more time to work and play may sound delightful, but figuring out how to do it in your retirement years is no last-minute exercise.
The best thing you can do for yourself before you retire is to start building a departure network. You can do this by first talking to your employer or human resource head before leaving and make sure they understand that you will be available for project assignments or contract basis after you “retire”.
If you appreciated what you were doing before retirement, you may even consider working part-time for your former employer. Most employers hate to lose valuable and experienced employees, so your old boss may just jump at the chance to re-hire you at a less intensive and more flexible schedule.
Grow your financial pool (investments)
You don’t want to run out of money in your golden years. Your money should outlive you. The best way to ensure this is to keep growing your money in your retirement years.
Many retirees are reluctant to invest due to their shorter time horizon and smaller risk appetite, however, there are low-risk investments that they can still utilise as a medium to long term investment instrument that can be cashed out anytime.
Unit trusts are widely known for having lower risks due to its widely diversified portfolio holdings. One can also consider investing in bonds for potential steady, long-term gains.
Besides expanding your savings pool, you can leverage on your spending habits by using a cash back credit card that suits your lifestyle and needs.
Take care of your health
The saying that health is wealth is extremely true, especially during your retirement years.
Even without a serious illness, cumulative out-of-pocket expenses on healthcare can take a chunk out of your retirement funds. EPF’s 2019 expenditure guide suggests that elderly couples should budget a minimum of RM130 a month for healthcare costs. But with an estimated medical inflation of 14% last year, these costs are increasing every year.
By taking adequate measures while you are still working, you have more time to prepare for healthcare costs in retirement and align them with your retirement income stream down the road.
However, do lower your expectations for salary and benefits if you do land another job post retirement. People over 50 and have retired from their previous jobs often find it difficult to find similar jobs and salaries.
By keeping an open mind, you allow yourself to embrace different possibilities and opportunities.
Finally, focus on growing your savings pool because planning not to retire is not a viable retirement strategy. At some point in our lives, we’ll all have to stop working.
This article was first published in 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.