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Are these really the 5 hottest jobs for retirees?

Posted by on Oct 16, 2011 in Moneyville, Retirement | 0 comments

By Sheryl Smolkin

Read this article and comments at Moneyville.ca 

A Facebook friend recently linked to an Associated Press story called “5 hot jobs for retirees.” As a self-employed retiree, I decided to click through, just to see if there are compelling jobs out there that I’m missing out on.

I was quite taken aback to discover the 5 categories of jobs identified were:

  • Home health care aid/personal aide.
  • Retail, including customer service employees or cashiers.
  • Government agencies requiring everything from technologists to clerks, cemetery caretakers and telephone operators.
  • Computer work such as data entry, working with data communications systems and networks.
  • Temporary office work.

While meaningful careers are possible all of the sectors identified, I can’t for the life of me imagine why I would be interested in any of them now, if I wasn’t attracted to these sectors before retirement.

Personal aides and retail salespeople are not particularly well-paid and the jobs can require considerable physical stamina. From what I read, government agencies are already top heavy with aging boomers and they are not trying to hire more of us. Data entry and temporary office work are also not on my bucket list.

Between CPP and OAS Canadians can currently get up to $18,000/year in government benefits. Therefore a two-income family with a median household income of $70,000 and modest RRSP savings may not feel the need to work in retirement. However, achieving 65 per cent or 70 per cent income replacement may be more challenging for the affluent because the more money they make, the more they are going to need in retirement to maintain a comparable living standard.

Many of the working retirees I have talked to are leveraging their skills and contacts to pursue a variety of novel opportunities. A lawyer is heading up a government tribunal. A former geography teacher has a thriving home handy man business. A retired consulting actuary is now a Certified Financial Planner. An urban planner is a painter and author of several books. A previous call centre employee offered training services to her industry for several years.

Before retiring almost seven years ago, I was a pension and benefits lawyer leading a research centre at a large international consulting firm. Now I write about employee benefits. I still get to talk to smart people in my industry every day, but I am my own boss and I don’t have to commute or attend boring, unproductive meetings.

I fully appreciate that ageism is still rampant in some sectors and not everyone is a knowledge worker who can fashion a lucrative post-retirement career. However, part of preparing for retirement is taking stock of the skills and talents you have nurtured throughout your career so you can put them to use in a different way.

With a little thought, you can come up with your own list of 5 hot jobs for your retirement, and at least some of them will be better paid and more interesting than the five not-so-hot opportunities for retirees outlined above.

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