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.