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What Retirement? The Rise of the Encore Career
What Retirement? The Rise of the Encore Career

What Retirement? The Rise of the Encore Career

Redefining What Retirement Looks Like

By Lauren Terfehr

There is this preconceived notion in America of what retirement looks like. As 62 rolls around, many find themselves expected to slow down and live out the rest of their life in a gated community in sunny Florida. Increasingly, however, that's just not the case. Life expectancy rates have been on the rise, and as baby boomers reach their golden years, they are simply not ready to settle down just yet. This phenomena has sparked the rise of the encore career movement. An encore career is a form of work characterized by the need for continued income, as well as the desire to generate greater personal meaning while making a social impact. Typically, these careers are often held in public interest fields and can include entrepreneurial endeavors like the establishment of a special interest nonprofit.

Popular Encore Career Opportunities

Encore careers are characterized by a desire to not only earn a living - but to do good while doing so. With this in mind, it's no surprise that the more popular encore career opportunities involve some form of social service. Here we explore 3 popular fields where there is plenty of opportunity for those embarking on an encore career.


In 2012, nonprofits made up more than 5% of the nation’s GDP. That said, it’s easy to see how nonprofit work is not just socially rewarding - it can be financially rewarding, too.


The experts at believe that as Americans age, there are several roles that will become increasingly more important. These roles include community health workers, patient advocates, home-based service providers, and home modification specialists.  


The majority of people I know can recount at least one story about a lesson, or skill, they learned from a coach or mentor. The idea of being personally responsible for the growth of another individual can be extremely rewarding.

Financing an Encore Career

As more and more retirement age people begin putting off retirement to start encore careers, it’s important to note they need more than just a great idea or a calling - they need capital. According to the Small Business Association, the average cost of starting a business is roughly $30,000. While typically armed with better credit than a 24 year old entrepreneur, credit alone cannot fund a new venture. It’s important to note that there are other revenue streams to consider. While it can be tempting to access 401(K) or IRA funds, sometimes selling payments from a retirement annuity or structured settlement presents less risk. Whatever decision you make, know that an encore career allows many seniors the opportunity to feel a great sense of self worth as they enter their golden years. Sometimes, that can be feel better than that sunny Florida weather anyway.

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