It’s Not (Quite) About the Money: Tips for Working Retirees

If working after retirement is a pleasure rather than a source of income, you have more freedom to use paychecks as you choose. Get ideas for choosing wisely.
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It was almost unavoidable. At some point during your retirement, you, like many before you, got a bit bored. That may be an understatement. You may have been so bored that you did something you swore you’d never have to do again: Get a job.

In doing so, you’ve become one of a growing number of professionals who are working after retirement. While it might be only a part-time job that pays a small fraction of what you earned in your career, it’s still a job. It’s still money. So the question is: What will you do with it? By mulling over the possibilities it provides—and considering how it fits within your overall approach to finances—you can start making choices that are smart. They might even be a whole lot of fun.

Saving or spending your pennies

The kind of life you’re living in retirement will provide a good starting point for planning what to do with your paychecks. Keeping that in mind, here are a few ideas to consider.

  • The simple life: If you’re happiest as a minimalist who enjoys everyday pleasures, your retiree job may supply you with a good percentage of what you need to cover living expenses—allowing more of your investments to remain untouched and potentially grow.

  • A moveable feast: If retirement has sparked a new desire to be an ex-pat or you experience frequent bouts of wanderlust, consider putting the extra income aside in an account devoted to funding your travels or a second home in a vacation spot you love.

  • Community chest: If one of the best parts of your retirement has been having time to volunteer for organizations you care about, consider ways your part-time paycheck could support these groups. It might even become the small spark that fuels you to adjust your investments to establish an endowment.

A little spontaneity

If your investments are already providing the kind of retirement you were planning for—and you have enough of a buffer to account for the occasional plot twist—your paychecks might open the door to being more decadent with yourself and others. It can become your personal permission slip to turn “Oh, but I shouldn’t” wants into “Oh, but I should” experiences. Or you could provide family, friends, neighbors, or even strangers with an unexpected treat. (Note that as you get older, and depending on how spontaneous you are with your giving, you might get called eccentric for this approach. Just go with it.)

When your job is not necessarily about the money, you have the flexibility to use it in all sorts of ways. Yet with a little planning, you can make sure you’re treating this added source of income as smartly as possible.

Start smart

If you’re newly retired, make sure your part-time income is part of the bigger picture. We’ve created a list to help you keep an eye on your plan and ensure you’re on the right track.

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