We ‘retired’ around 6 years ago when we moved to the beautiful coastal village of Mallacoota. But then we found we hadn’t retired at all, rather we had ‘re-wired’ our working lives. We had structured ourselves so that we had more control over how and where we worked and indeed what we work at. We became seniorpreneurs. We find ourselves in a privileged position and I readily acknowledge that not all of you might be so lucky.
I should clarify that in this post when I talk about work, I mean those tasks and roles that are intended to generate income. Of course volunteering is also a part of many retirement lifestyles and you can see some thoughts in Rowan’s post on volunteering.
The emergence of seniorpreneurs
Given we are all living longer and are encouraged to keep working well past the ‘normal’ retirement age, it is inspiring to see other options emerge for our generation, to generate income and build new skills and connections. For many of us this is the only option, as we may no longer be able to find work in our original career streams. Personally, we have found that our employment in IT sales came to an end as bright young things were sought out for those roles, rather than we grey haired folk. Similarly for many who work in manual labour roles, the body begins to complain and other options need to be sought.
As I have spent much time in the blogging world over recent months I have been privy to the lives of many others in our ages groups; mostly, but not only, women. As I read their stories I have reflected on how they are stepping into ‘retirement’ with a dynamic and exciting approach to this phase of life. For many of them it has meant new work, as indeed this blog has meant for us. Reading those stories has caused me to take another look closer to home and of course there are those in our immediate circle of friends who are also working when they are past retirement age. But again they are working on their own businesses and in their own ways. In this way work can become almost fun!
Examples of seniorpreneurship
It energises me to see the myriad ways in which our generation is extending and engineering our working lives, and I reflect on the many benefits of doing so. Of course the financial benefit may be the main or only driver for some, but I also see other benefits.
For example, we have a friend who in her 60’s is buying property, renovating it and selling it. Not only is she adding to her financial base, she is, in the process, using her powerful sense of style and exercising her creativity. It is a treat to witness the ‘before and after’ of her work. She continues to learn and expand her horizons, to say nothing of keeping fit!
Another friend is an airbnb host and uses her fabulous styling skills to create beautiful spaces for her guests. She enjoys the interaction with people from all around the world and of course finds it financially rewarding. This friend is also a dog lover and provides an airbnb like service for those who need their dogs cared for in their absence. This is on top of her having in recent years written and self published a book. You can read more about Lynne here
Our personal seniorpreneur journeys
In our house we both still work. We run a self managed superannuation fund (that is definitely intended to generate income) and as well as this blog, Rowan consults to companies and individuals who wish to successfully take their businesses to the digital world. Each of these roles has brought richness and new learning into our lives, as well as using our skills and experience. Rowan has expanded his role from search engine optimisation to now developing for his clients an integrated digital marketing presence, including social media strategies. I have learned about blogging and social media and have greatly enjoyed honing my writing skills in the process. As well as developing new skills (good for our brains) we both enjoy the engagement our roles provide, often with those younger than us. That includes engaging with the fabulous folks at our accountants who have guided us through the set up of our self managed superannuation fund and the process of buying real estate within that fund.
In the broader blogosphere I see women of a certain age stepping out in the fashion and style industries and creating a new image for older women. I love that! I also see bloggers embarking on sponsored international travel experiences – what a wonderful way to earn a living. There are seemingly endless possibilities.
Are you working in ‘retirement’, would you describe yourself as a seniorpreneur? Are you finding it a necessity or a joy or both? What would your ideal ‘retirement career’ be? How could you make that happen?