The Ultimate Do-Over?

Career reinvention may be more of a necessity than a virtue for today's Baby Boomers, but working longer can make a difference beyond your bottom line.

If you are nearing retirement, you probably have a different concept of retirement than your parents. Retirement for you may not mean an extended vacation on some sunny shore, but rather a new phase of your working career. A phase that may, perhaps, bring more than just another paycheck, but a new sense of meaning to your life. Morningstar recently referred to this career transformation as the “encore career.”

Of course, it’s not just the search for meaning that motivates Baby Boomers to pursue an encore career. As Morningstar points out, tough new economic realities have transformed career reinvention from a virtue into a necessity for millions of older Americans who aren’t ready to retire or simply can’t afford to quit working.  

Interestingly, though the job market looks fairly bleak today, some economists predict labor shortages in key social sector jobs. Barry Bluestone, an economist at Northeastern University in Boston, predicts that within the next eight years, there could be at least five million job vacancies in the U.S., nearly half of them in social sector jobs in education, health care, government and non-profit organization. Bluestone also predicts that Baby Boomers are going to be filling those jobs, "We're going to see a remarkable reshaping of our labor force. The rate of labor force participation by the 55-plus population is going to be much higher, and older workers will represent a much higher percentage of the overall workforce." Wow, is this good news to the Social Security Administration, or what?

The Morningstar article includes a table ranking Projected Encore Career Growth 2008-2018. You might want to check it out. I note that job growth is predicted to be particularly strong for teachers, nurses and other health care providers … and not so much for lawyers. 

Reference: Morningstar Advisors (June 6, 2011): Making Working Longer Worth It


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