What do you want to be when you retire?

The idea of retirement is different for everyone, but increasingly, work is creeping its way back into many people’s retirement plans – and not just because of the effect of the recent market downturn on portfolios.

According to a recent report by the Gandalf Group for advertising agency Bensimon Byrne, only 1/3 of current working Canadians expect a retirement without work, with 56% of those surveyed between the ages of 50 and 64 saying that they will continue to work part-time in either the same or a different line of work.1

The main reasons for working part-time during retirement include the need for income, as well as the desire to do something different and to stay productive says Steve McLellan, Chief Executive Officer of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, which is part of a pilot project called Third Quarter, aimed at connecting third quarter Canadians (ages 50 to 64) with new and continuing job and career opportunities.

“This is a generation of people who are too young and too healthy to sit back and do nothing, so they physically need to keep active, they want to be engaged in the business community,” he says.

Part-time work in retirement can include anything from continuing your career through consulting or freelance work, to something completely different: working at the local golf course, library or retail store, for example.

“We often used to say when we were kids, ‘what do we want to be when we grow up?’, now the comment is, ‘what do you want to do when you retire?'” says Randy Markewich, who retired in 2008 after 35 years of working for the City of Regina.

After 3 months of being retired, Markewich explains that he began to miss interacting with people and keeping busy.

“I still wanted to feel useful,” he says, “I wanted something that was less stressful, the contact with people was really important to me,” he says.

After considering working part-time in a completely different area, he has since picked up 3 part-time jobs in line with his background, that he says came about as a matter of fluke and timing. This includes working as Federal Returning Officer for his electoral district, an opportunity on the Saskatchewan Municipal Board, and as a community co-ordinator for the Third Quarter project.

“For me, it’s a happy time, actually, I feel good and I really feel positive about life and I just feel like I’m adding value, and that I’m contributing, and I feel like I’m still in the game,” he says.

Another Ontario-based retiree now in his 80s who made the decision to take on occasional consulting work earlier in his retirement also noted that the biggest advantages to working part-time are a sense of “you can still do the job,” and that you are appreciated for your ability.

McLellan says many people are also looking at doing something different in terms of retirement work, and service sector positions – grocery stores, hotel work and retail – are popular because of the flexibility of hours and type of job. On the employer side of things, he says many businesses can gain a level of expertise from third quarter people that they can’t buy – things like work ethic and a mentor for the younger workers.

So how can you as a third quarter or retired individual go about finding part-time work? McLellan suggests several tips:

1. Learn the skills of job hunting: Many third quarter people haven’t looked for jobs in a long time, he says. So make sure that your resume is up to speed, accurate and informative.

2. Use the tools that are out there: Spend time searching on sites such as thirdquarter.ca that connect people with job opportunities (in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Atlantic Canada only), as well as job searching websites to find the types of jobs you’re interested in.

3. Use your personal and professional contacts: Be sure to advertise the fact that you’re looking for something work-wise or volunteer-wise, says McLellan. He suggests sending your resume out to your email list, with a note saying you’re looking to take on part-time work, as some jobs are never advertised.

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ Daniel Laflor

Article courtesy of Sun Life Financial. Check out My Retirement Café. On it you will find up-to-date information, including managing your money during retirement, tax planning and quality of retirement life topics. Be sure to check out our News & views section for other articles on better ways to manage and help you get the most throughout your retirement.