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Bust the Retirement Myth and Get Back to Work -- Your Way

By Markets Fool.com

Image source: SBA.gov.

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Just because you retired from your original career does not mean you have to stop working. Many retirees find their way back into the workforce whether it's due to financial need or finding out that sitting by the pool sipping an adult beverage may not be all it's cracked up to be.

But it goes far beyond that. Some retirees may or may not need the money, but they are looking for the mental and physical lift that comes with bringing home a paycheck. It also helps that holding off Social Security payments to age 70 will come with roughly an 8% boost in payments every year you can delay until then.

The idea that turning a certain age or leaving the career you worked at most of your life means you have to stop working may once have been the case, but that's not true anymore. Retirement may be right for some, but many people of a certain age have used their newfound freedom to reinvent themselves.

Retirement as it used to be has for many turned into a myth. It's not the end of working, but a chance to reinvent yourself and work your way. Whether that's being a newspaper reporter for 25-plus years who finds a new career as a freelance writer or your own personal version of that, retired may just mean leveraging a lifetime of skills to do something new.

How do I make the switch?

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One of the first things Michele "Mickie" Muirhead did when she was considering starting her own business was to seek help from the SBA Small Business Development Center in Jamestown, New York where she lived. There she found advice on how to turn her years of experience into a viable company.

The Encore program, a collaboration between the AARP and the SBA, gives those over 50 a variety of means to start their own ventures including tips and instructional videos, loan opportunities and ways to craft a business plan that works. Those services can be a big help, but many businesses simply require putting in the time and effort to sell your services.

It's a new type of working

Retirement may mean the end of one type of work, but it does not have to mean no longer working. A quarter of people age 44 to 70 are interested in becoming entrepreneurs, and 63% of Americans plan on working during retirement, according to the Small Business Administration. https://www.sba.gov/

When Muirhead couldn't work in her cleaning business after rupturing a disk in 2009, she decided to revamp her career by putting her knowledge to good use while helping people in the process with her companyhttp://hirethehelp.com/. Called an "Encore Entrepreneur," Muirhead is among the 50,000 individuals over 50 who have received the help of the SBA to get a venture off the ground. Today she has 100 contractors providing a variety of services for those who can't take care of the need such as driving or house cleaning or projects such as lawn care themselves.

When considering starting a business or picking up a new career, the key is to figure out what service or product the market needs, that isn't already being filled. In my case that meant using decades of news reporting mixed with years of sharing people's stories to help people understand finance better.

In Muirhead's case, her social work degree and her years of cleaning gave her the connections and the idea that there was a market for providing people with help in taking care of tasks they couldn't do themselves. That model can work for anyone willing to be creative in examining how their experience and skills might fill a need.

That might be as simple as turning a love for dogs into a dog walking business or it could become something infinitely more complicated. It's about identifying what people need, balancing that against your skills, and filling in the niche.

Being retired means the end of one type of work, but it can be the opening of a new career. That may seem like a daunting task, or even an impossible one, but in reality it's just a matter of finding things that need to be done which you can do. That's not easy, but experience, and a willingness to work hard matter. That makes starting a new business or career in retirement something in reach for many retirees.

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