Recently Retired? How the Gig Economy Can Keep You Engaged and Boost Your Bottom Line
If you are a recent retiree, you may be wondering what to do with the
second act of your life. Early retirees can expect to spend three or even four
decades in their post-work years, and even those who retire at the
traditional age of 65 could spend more than 20 years in retirement.
No matter what age you were when you retired, you may find that you miss
certain aspects of your pre-retirement lifestyle. You may miss the connection
you felt with your coworkers, of the challenges of solving complex problems.
And then there is the money – even if you do not miss anything else about
working, you probably miss the extra income.
Luckily, the gig economy can help recent (and not so recent) retirees get
back into the swing of things. Those lucky retirees do not have to give up
their chosen lifestyle or take on the responsibility of a full-time job – if they
have the skills and the drive, retirees can enjoy a host of benefits from the
so-called gig economy, including:
• Delaying taking Social Security – Every year you put off taking Social
Security will boost your benefits. Participating in the gig economy, even
for a few years, could boost your Social Security income for life.
• Reduced withdrawals from your retirement account – When you are
retired, you must create your own paycheck, and that often means
dipping into your nest egg. Taking on a few gigs a year can reduce your
withdrawal rate, so the remaining money can last longer.
• Increased engagement – Many retirees find themselves bored and
disengaged, but meaningful work can fight the malaise. Gig work can
keep you engaged and allow you to meet new people as you make
• Develop new skills – You are never too old to learn something new,
and gig work is a great way to continue your growth. Learning should be
a lifelong pursuit, and with gig work you can get paid to acquire new
The great thing about gig work is that just about everyone can do it. If you
are retired and have some extra time to spend, chances are you can parlay
those additional hours into extra cash. Whether you worked as a
professional all your life or toiled in a blue-collar occupation, you can find gig
work that utilizes your skills.
Gig work is not all about ride sharing and consulting. If you have a teaching
background or worked as a trainer for your former company, you could transfer
those skills to work as a tutor or private coach. If you love to travel,
you could pursue work as a tour guide, either leading tours through your
hometown or signing on with a tour company to guide bus trips or extended
You could even use your retirement years to pursue your craftier side,
creating fun products and selling them online or at local craft shows. No
matter what you like to do, chances are there is a place for it in the gig
economy. Whether you are recently retired or just looking for a new
challenge, you can use gig work to boost your bottom line and keep yourself
engaged as you enjoy your second act.
How to Stay Sane After Being Laid Off
Being laid off is one of the most stressful things to happen to a person. Studies have shown that it
is as stressful as suffering a major illness and almost as stressful as divorce or going to jail.
Staying mentally healthy after a layoff is a key to riding out the financial turbulence and finding
a new job. There are several vital things works can do to stay balanced during this challenging
The first thing to remember is that you didn’t do anything wrong; losing your job because you
were laid off is not your fault. People usually are fired because did something wrong, like
stealing from the company or refusing to complete their work. When people are laid off, it’s
often because the position is no longer needed, such as in a factory plant closing.
Upon receiving the news that they were laid off, some people react badly. They may burst into
tears or scream at the person who delivered the news. While this is not ideal behavior, the
managers doing the layoffs are professionals and understand that it is an emotional time. Feeling
guilty about how you acted, if you reacted poorly, is normal. You can alleviate these feelings by
sending an email or a note to the manager apologizing and explaining that you were surprised by
the news and that you became overwrought.
Anger is a normal emotion to have after being laid off. Once the shock of losing their job wears
off, many people may fantasize about hurting their boss or filing a lawsuit. While it is perfectly
fine to fantasize, it is a bad idea to follow through. Assaulting someone will stay on your record
for years, or maybe decades, and will make it that much harder to find a new job. Even filing a
lawsuit, though it is your right to do so, could result in your being blacklisted in your industry or
stuck with legal fees you cannot pay.
After the layoff, do not hide the news from your family. Upon arriving home, state the story
clearly and slowly. Do not come across as overly dramatic or angry. You may tell them, “Honey,
I have some unfortunate news about my job. My company was forced to lay people off, and I
was regrettably one of those people. There is no negotiation; their decision is final.” Emphasize
that you were not fired but laid off through no fault of your own. Give a brief rundown of what
happened, who gave you the news and where, what they said and how they said it, and how you
responded and felt during and after the process. It will help if you mention names of people who
also got laid off and the number of people so that your family knows that this was part of
something bigger and was unavoidable.
Layoffs can be emotionally taxing. Your first instinct may be to pretend it never happened or to
buy new electronics or clothes or go on a fancy vacation to cheer everyone up. That is a bad idea.
There is no money coming into your household; therefore spending should be drastically
reduced, and new debt avoided at all costs. While you may be sad and in need of cheering up,
instead of spending money, you might go for a walk, read a book to your children, or play with
your dog. There are also free events in your community that you could attend.
Experiencing a layoff can be damaging to the psyche. Understanding that it is not your fault, not
hiding the fact that you were laid off, and taking steps to stay mentally balanced are critical to
keeping you in the right frame of mind to find and accept a new job.