The show goes on.
I’m not saying the show must go on, but if you’re like me, and have been reading about nothing but the pandemic for a week or two, you may actually be more than ready to read about other subject matter.
In a comment on my most recent post that was chock full of frugality tips (and only mentioned the pandemic two times), this blog was accused of “jumping the shark” by continuing to discuss personal finance in light of the historic event that is all-consuming for many of us.
So… what you’re saying is… this is a bad time to talk about frugal habits? When millions of people are losing their jobs and will be forced to do with less and how to make rent and mortgage payments without a steady income?
The timing was coincidental; I wrote this before the pandemic had progressed, but I think the timing is also fortunate.
People across America are going to have to learn how to be more frugal, save up an emergency fund, etc… There are plenty of places to read about the pandemic, and I’ve touched on it in the last several Sunday Bests. But I can’t (and shouldn’t) write about it 24/7. There are media outlets doing an excellent job of that.
To Fonzie and the jumping of sharks!
The show will go on and I think it should. I’m not insensitive to the pandemic, and I am grateful for the many sacrifices being made by so many Americans and people across our globe. I’m doing my part by self-isolating for now and I’ve let my former chief know I’m willing to step up and pitch in if my skills are needed. If that happens, I may hit the pause button on the blog, but until then, I’ll continue to educate with fresh content.
Today’s post was written well before the current events began unfolding, but much of it still applies. Some people are finding themselves suddenly jobless, and they may find a useful tip or two in this guest post. I recommend postponing any travel-based employment, however.
Exploring Jobs to Enrich Your Life When Retired or Furloughed
With the popularity of the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) movement gaining speed over the past few years, advice for those looking to jump on the bandwagon is readily available. From tips for living a more prudent lifestyle to words of encouragement when the game of frugality gets tough, there’s no shortage of information to empower would-be FIRE-ees.
Sharing their stories of how they personally retired early, YouTubers like Our Rich Journey are living proof that FIRE is no pipedream. Their ‘how to’ style content provides a roadmap to FIRE success, equipping those with an early retirement dream with the tools they need to leave work by 40. And while that’s all well and good, nobody seems to deal with what comes after you’ve achieved your goal.
With many FIRE-ee’s minds firmly fixed on their end-goal of early retirement, they often forget that this isn’t the end of the road. In fact, with the average life expectancy at 78 in the US, retiring at 40 leaves an incredible amount of free time left until the inevitable. Great, right?! Well, not always…
So many people enter early retirement with rose-colored glasses. While the prospect of not having to go to work every day seems incredibly appealing, many people who have retired by 40 don’t stay fully retired for the rest of their lives. Having worked hard to retire as early as possible, and with their FIRE plan influencing every facet of their lives, many people lose sight of what actually comes next.
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Although financially stable enough to retire, being able to fill every day with something new and exciting is generally not a financially viable option for most people. As a result, what ensues is an unexpected side effect of retiring early: boredom!
When working towards the goal of quitting the daily grind, the idea that boredom could curtail your early retirement enjoyment probably seems laughable. Removing the stress of work in favor of a life of ultimate flexibility and endless possibilities surely couldn’t come with such a mediocre complaint, could it? But at 40 years old, or less in some cases, you’re still young, energetic and probably not ready to relax in front of the TV day in, day out.
If you’re used to being busy (and for some, important, too), your new lifestyle may be a bitter pill to swallow. The slower pace of life may not work for you. You may not cope well without daily interaction with your colleagues. You may feel a little lost without a purpose when you feel you still have so much more to give.
Even though you may absolutely love life without having to worry about getting up early, occupational stress, the pressure to close that next sale or hostile work environments, you may feel that giving up work isn’t 100% problem-free.
If you sit in this camp, getting back into employment may be a route to consider. And while getting a job may seem like you’ve failed in your FIRE endeavor, having the luxury of finding something fulfilling without the financial stress of having to desperately re-enter the workforce actually means you’ve won the game!
So, how does a 40-year-old retiree even start looking for a new path? Well, forget the normal approach to searching for a job, and start your search by thinking about the specific itch you’re trying to scratch. After all, you can afford to be picky.
Use Your Skills
If you’ve successfully entered the FIRE world, the likelihood is, you’ve got some serious skills up your sleeve. Your career has probably equipped you with everything you need to re-enter the workforce. Now, we’re not advising you head back into the corporate world you’ve worked so hard to get out of, but utilizing the skills you’ve built over the years and channeling them into something new may be a great option.
How about becoming a consultant in your chosen field? By offering your services in this capacity, you can not only choose when you work, but you can choose how much you charge too, which will potentially make going back to work more appealing.
Becoming a consultant isn’t the only option though. You could use your knowledge to teach others – either at a college or as a private tutor – or you could start a small business. Depending on your skillset, there are endless possibilities; think outside the box and you could find something as fulfilling as your former career, without the stress!
Explore Your Passion
Not everyone wants to use the skills they gained during their career. In fact, some people want to get as far away from them as possible! The beauty of looking for work when you’re financially independent is that you can afford to be a little more choosy about the jobs you apply for.
Do you have a passion you weren’t able to fully explore when you were working full time? Now’s the perfect time to find something in that field. Love dogs? Get a job at a doggy daycare or become a dog-walker. Got an interest in digital marketing? Look for a social media scheduling or marketing admin role. Avid painter? Ask your local art gallery if they’re hiring.
If you have no experience, you may find it a little tricky to get a role that requires specific skills, so a great option is to offer your services for a limited time for free so you can learn the ropes and prove you’re capable.
Make Life Your Job
You’d be surprised how much life admin you can fit into a day if you try, so if you don’t really want to head back to the workforce, why not treat your life as a job? It’s so easy to sit around doing nothing in retirement, but if you’re someone who needs to be busy and have a purpose, this daily regime can quickly get old. It’s Catch-22 when you don’t want to work either, right?
But what does ‘making your life your job’ even look like? Well, simply set aside a few dedicated hours per week to get through some essential life tasks. Pay the bills, service your car, clean the house and generally just keep on top of the ‘boring’ stuff; it’s amazing how doing so can actually help you beat your own boredom.
As a FIRE-ee, you’ve almost definitely been extremely savvy with your cash over the years, and this can’t stop in retirement. Using your ‘life admin’ time to manage your finances is something you’ll need to do regardless of whether you categorize your time as a job. From making sure you’re getting the best car insurance rate to checking how much money you’re spending on groceries, it’s highly likely that this side of things will come naturally to you anyway!
One major task that you can include in your long list of ongoing admin work is planning your own funeral. Now, this may sound like an incredibly macabre thing to spend your retirement doing (I mean, you’re only 40!) but hear us out! Funerals often get planned in a hurry, by your grieving family who aren’t quite sure of your wishes. Why not take the pressure off and plan your own? You’d be surprised at the price of cremation urns and caskets.
Do Something Temporary
One of the beautiful things about being retired is the freedom of not having to be in a particular place at a particular time (aka not having a job!). With that in mind, no matter how bored you are, sacrificing your new-found independence may be a compromise too far. It doesn’t mean you can’t find something that suits your lifestyle though.
Temp jobs allow you to work without commitment. From physical labor work to admin jobs, temping comes in all shapes and sizes, offering you the variety you might be craving. And the best part? Once you’re registered with a temp agency, you’ll be offered contracts in line with your preferences to which you can either accept or decline. No hard feelings. No commitment.
Options such as Uber driving and Airtasker are also great if you want to work on your terms. Simply sign up and work when you feel like it!
Do Something That Keeps You Fit
Why not kill two birds with one stone and keep fit while you work? Although usually reserved for those who retire at a more mature age, retirees are constantly reminded of the importance of staying active. It goes without saying that younger retirees should heed this warning too. But when you’re living a more relaxed life, sometimes mustering up the energy to get to the gym can seem like one step too far.
Things like dog walking, personal training and construction laboring may seem like obvious choices but when looking for a job to keep you fit, you don’t have to punt for jobs that have a high degree of physical exertion. In fact, any job that keeps you away from a desk and on your feet will do the job! Servers, delivery drivers and retail assistants get their fair share of daily exercise too!
Embrace Your New-Found Flexibility
The digital nomadic lifestyle has become a popular one with millennials, but starting on this path after retirement could be the boredom cure you’ve been looking for. In fact, the aim of most digital nomads is to embrace a life akin to retirees anyway; traveling when they want, working when they want. Though with the removal of the need to work, this lifestyle could be perfectly situated for you.
Want to travel for a few months without working? No worries! A little bored at home? Pick up a few hours online here and there. There are so many opportunities for tech-savvy digital nomads so if you have skills in social media management, you’re good with words or you know code, there could be a role for you.
Even if you don’t have a skill that is specific to the more common jobs in this industry, finding something you can do is usually not too difficult if you’ve got the time and patience to look for it. With your FIRE-y resourcefulness, you’re sure to secure a role that fits exactly what you’re looking for.
The FIRE Life
No matter which camp you’re in, you’ll no doubt agree on one thing; planning on retiring early is the best decision you’ve ever made. It’s how you choose to spend your time when you get to that point that will give you an insight into how you really feel about it.
One thing seems constant among successful FIRE-ees though: no amount of early-retirement-induced boredom could persuade them to reinstate their old, full-time, corporate life, and the ability to be able to choose to work or not is one of the most empowering feelings they’ve known.
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Nat is the Marketing Director at Green Meadow Memorials, Nat helps those grieving the loss of a loved find the right memorial to cherish.
Before becoming the Marketing Director at Green Meadow Memorials, Nat worked for six years in the memorials e-commerce industry as a Marketing Director and Ecommerce Director, using his skill set to manage powerful paid search and organic search campaigns as well as implement merchandising strategies and manage the software development teams that made everything work.
What jobs might you consider in a retirement or furlough situation?