So you’re approaching retirement, and wondering what to do next. Or maybe you’re already retired, and getting bored out of you mind. After all, you can only do so much golfing or fishing (see Karl the engineer.) What next?
How about consulting? If you enjoyed your career, you just might like this. After a long career (or careers) you have valuable knowledge, experience, and contacts.
The extra money might be nice too. But do you really want to go back into the full time rat race? Consulting may be the answer!
Here are five top reasons to consider consulting in retirement. Full disclosure – this is a homework “challenge” for a the Problogger program I recently joined (write a “Top 5″ Post.). After 3+ years and 140+ posts, time to take my blog to the next level.
1. Stay engaged … If you’re reading my blog, you probably are in (or were in) a business or professional career. You may no longer want to work full time, but wouldn’t mind staying involved, minus the politics and responsibilities.
This is exactly what my college roommate Ron is doing. After retiring as the county attorney in a large city, he and his wife spent the next for two years relaxing and traveling. But after a dozen or more cruises (which he highly recommends), he wanted to reconnect with his profession.
So he now consults a couple of days a month for the county tax board. No stress and he stays connected with professional colleagues. As he says, “If I didn’t do this, I’d probably go to seed.” He doesn’t need the money — he does it solely for satisfaction. And he still takes cruises.
2. Travel… Many retirees (or soon to be retirees) dream about travel but may feel financially constrained. How about letting somebody else pick up your travel expenses?
This is exactly what a recently retired colleague Joe is doing. In fact, he and his wife just got back from several weeks in Europe. He has been providing part-time engineering consulting guidance on a project for a former employer with business partners in France.
Unlike typical engineering projects, he has little stress. As Joe says, “I now just advise. If they don’t follow my advice and fail tests, I don’t catch the heat like in the old days.” C’est la vie.
3. Do some good… Many retirees decide to volunteer for causes they deem worthy. Often done gratis, and purely for the satisfaction of helping others.
This is exactly what our friend Lynn did. After retiring as a nutritionist, she volunteered at a local reservation in Arizona. She was so well liked and appreciated that the administrators obtained a grant, and asked her to expand her consulting services to other Native American communities throughout the state.
She agreed, and enjoyed making her contributions for several more years. Thanks to the grant, she also enhanced her retirement savings. Lynn has since retired – again.
4. Make some money… Nothing wrong with making money, even if you don’t need it. After all, you can always contribute it to favorite charities.
This is exactly what another retired colleague Don did. Offered an early buyout, Don took it. But he really wasn’t ready to retire, so he hung out his consulting shingle (after some gentle prodding from Uncle Daryl.) Thanks to Don’s credentials and contacts, he had his first project in days.
Don continued on this path for several years. Financially secure and with no kids, some of that extra income will go toward an endowment at his beloved alma mater.
5. Have some fun… If it isn’t interesting or fun, why do it? Particularly when retired.
This is a major factor in all of the above cases. This has always been a major driver for me throughout my engineering career (both corporate and consulting), and it will continue.
So what about Uncle Daryl? Is he retired? Semi-retired? Or what?
- Not really sure what my status is. Thanks to my consulting career, I’m financially secure and now collecting Social Security. So maybe I’m retired.
- Or maybe not. I’m still involved with the engineering practice, but not as aggressively as in the past. I still take projects that interest me, and dream up others (like this blog.) So maybe I’m just semi-retired.
- Or maybe not. Maybe I’m just a freedom loving independent consultant living the good life that began 25+ years ago for me. So maybe I’m still employed - or – maybe I really retired 25+ years ago!
Finally, if you are retired or contemplating retirement, maybe this has sparked thinking about YOUR next chapter in life. Please let me know if it has!
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