Purpose

Activities that give meaning to your daily life

Work

Activities that earn you money


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Even when you are “retired,” you may find that you like working for money – perhaps as a part-time activity, perhaps starting your own business, or in some other fashion. Or you may need to continue working, at least a little, to pay your bills. How do you determine whether you need to continue (or resume) working? How do you decide if you want to? And if you do need or want to work, what are your options and how do you bring them to fruition? That’s what the references on this page will help you determine.

Work relates to other areas of Purpose:



Work relates to other areas besides Purpose:



Work Sub-Topics and Resources


There are many free retirement calculators available out there, oodles of books and worksheets that give you easy calculations you can do, and plenty of rules of thumb. These are worse than worthless: they are dangerous at life's older stages. They might work for you if you are lucky, but there is an excellent chance that they will either exaggerate what great shape you are in financially, or what a big crisis you are heading into. Most people, when they first retire, are looking at two or three decades of life expectancy, and increasingly people are living to age 100 and even beyond. All kinds of things will happen in that amount of time, and neither simple calculators nor simple worksheets nor simple rules of thumb take those things into account.

There are situations that you can be pretty confident will occur or will change in the future, others that you can reasonably anticipate might happen, and still others that you simply cannot foresee. Some good things will happen, and some bad things will happen. In addition, the timing of when you can afford to retire will depend on other decisions that you make before retiring, while you are going through the retirement process, and after retirement. Only a very smart computer model can help you deal with both the complexity and the uncertainty of all this.

Simple models are fine if you are fifteen, twenty, or more years away from retirement, but they should rarely be relied on by people within ten years of retirement, and the closer you get to retirement, the more dangerous such reliance becomes. Remember that after you retire, you will probably not be able to go back to your old job, and depending on your health and your other circumstances, you may be limited indeed in what kind of gainful employment you can find – eventually you probably will not be able to get any at all. So if you make a mistake, you may have few or no good options to help you recover financially. It is important, therefore, to make this decision based on the best available analysis you can get.

Perhaps surprisingly, the best tools are ones you can get on your own, and they are significantly better than what most professional planners use. That’s because professional financial people mostly make money either by selling you financial products or by collecting fees for managing your investments. Really smart calculators that require a lot of inputs, or that might generate a lot of questions from you, just take up professionals' time with paperwork, so they prefer simple tools. We expect that in coming years, more and more financial professionals will perceive the need to use the best tools, but at present, it is nearly impossible to find one who does.

Therefore, your best bet is to go out and get access to these tools yourself. The ones we are recommending are time-consuming but not difficult to use, if you handle your own household finances. The companies that offer software involving licensing fees are generally good about answering questions if you have them.

Note: If you continue or resume working with the same employer after retirement, and are receiving a monthly pension from that employer, make sure you ask the employee benefits department what effect, if any, your work will have on your pension. The implications vary a great deal from one employer to another.