You've retired-now what?
Most seniors are encouraged (and sometimes forced) to retire at age 65 depending on where they are in the world, whether they like it or not.
While in Australia there is no fixed retirement age, the average retirement age for workers in the country is 55.3 years and 62.9 years for individuals who have retired more recently.
Retirees have most of their income dependent on their pensions. Although there are retirees who are confident of their nest egg sufficiency for retirement, there is a considerable number of seniors who believe they will struggle financially post-retirement.
Despite the pensions, for some retirees, they still need more in order to live comfortably. There is a strong case for retirees freelancing.
Some of the main challenges that retirees face include the diminished income versus the steady stream of utility bills, outstanding debt and of course, medical expenses.
Seniors with health problems need to allocate more of their pensions or savings for medicines, Medicare and other medical bills.
The influx of medical/hospital and insurance expenses can take their toll on retirees and will make them think of returning to the workforce or venturing into other ways to earn money.
But is there really a way for retirees to earn more money, besides returning to the workforce? Fortunately, there is-FREELANCING.
According to online definitions for freelancing, freelancing is choosing to work as an independent contractor (self-employed) as opposed to taking full-time, traditional or desk jobs.
This means that freelancers can get to work for various companies or individuals at once, with varying contracts/provisions for each client.
There are various ways to do freelancing. The gig economy or the freelance economy involves individuals who work as:
1. Seasonal workers. Seasonal workers are those individuals who have skills needed for a specific time of the year. To these workers, it is clear that after the specific season ends, their services will no longer be required.
Seasonal workers may be hired during the holidays or during tax season. Freelancing as a seasonal worker may be ideal for individuals who are looking for seasonal commitments.
2. Independent contractors. Independent contractors, on the other hand, are individuals who are hired by specific companies for a brief period, usually not more than 2 years.
These independent contractors are usually pooled by a contracting agency which supplies companies and businesses with temporary workers in case they need them.
Becoming an independent contractor is ideal for experts in their respective fields who are interested in working with a specific company under contract and for a certain period.
3. Self-employed freelancers. Freelancers who are self-employed do not enter contracts with companies and get paid for their services rendered.
Unlike independent contractors, self-employed freelancer workers do not have a written agreement when it comes to their length of service for their clients.
Self-employed freelancers have no ties with any specific company or client so they have the freedom to work with as many companies they want, although without any existing contract for their services.
Absolutely! Freelancing and retirees go hand in hand, according to Sara Horowitz, the founder of Freelancers Union and the author of the Freelancers Bible. Since there is no age limit when it comes to working freelance jobs, seniors can resort to freelancing even after employment.
According to one 2018 survey from Payoneer involving 21,000 freelancers from 170 countries of the world, about 6% of the freelancer population involve individuals aged 50 above.
But while the freelancer population is young (over 50% of the freelancer population is below 30), according to the same survey, older freelancers are able to earn more than their younger counterparts.
This only means that as a senior/retiree, you will be able to make a lucrative career out of freelancing if you choose to.
Seniors who are looking for ways to productively manage their time or to earn more money for medical/utility bills can surely benefit from doing freelancing, whether as a seasonal worker, independent contractor or as a self-employed freelancer.
Why should you try freelancing after retirement-well, besides having extra income or having more productive things to do?
There are several good reasons why retirees should venture into freelance work and if you're someone who's considering freelancing beyond retirement, these reasons may help:
1. Your expertise and years of experience are valuable to budding companies and businesses in your field. If there's one thing that's in demand in the freelance industry today, it's real expertise.
Seniors and retirees with decades of experience can bring so much to the table and can be of great assistance to growing companies.
Your input as a senior and an expert in your field isn't something that young people have, that's why the freelance industry needs more individuals with your calibre.
2. The gig economy is the future of work. Although you're actually done with work now you're retired, it is great to take your chances at online freelancing since it's the future of work.
Online is where the companies are and it is where you should be too. According to Upwork's survey, in the US alone, about 60% of the companies are using flexible workforce to some degree-in some cases, businesses have their entire workforce made up of freelancers.
3. A good way to socialise and expand your online/physical network. Doing freelance work is a great opportunity to expand your social/business network further.
You may find these additional connections helpful in your future ventures (for instance, if you decide to put up a product/service-oriented business of your own).
4. Freelancing is a good way to spend your time productively. Although in most cases, the goal of freelancers is really to find more ways to increase their income pool (well, retirees have this goal too), individuals post-retirement may also find freelancing an excellent way to keep their minds sharp.
Most retirees may get bored doing no work after deciding to retire, so freelancing would be a welcome challenge (instead of the usual gardening, shopping or golf).
If you're still wondering how freelancing is able to benefit you as a retiree, here are a few clear advantages of freelancing for retirees:
1. Added income. One of the main benefits of working as freelancers post-retirement is the added income.
Yes, you may have existing pensions, but we all know that unexpected bills can kick in, hence the need for other sources of income.
It's not just the medical, utility and other bills though-sometimes, retirees would want to earn more to increase their savings for a specific goal (like a new property, a new car, travel or other needs/wants).
2. Opportunity to work full-time without leaving the comfort of your own home. Not all countries are like Australia where there isn't a fixed retirement age and seniors who have initially retired can rejoin the workforce if they choose to.
If in case it is still possible for you (a retiree) to rejoin the workforce, then great, but if not, freelancing is the next best option.
Whether for increasing income or just finding ways to put more use to your time, working as an online freelancer is an excellent way to return to the workforce with less physical effort.
3. A chance to help young companies grow through your insight. Because your knowledge and experience are valuable, you can help startups and growing companies expand further, find solutions to their problems or train their company talent.
Businesses on online marketplaces are always on the lookout for experts who can assist them in accomplishing their mission and goals for the brand in the future and you may just be the one they're looking for.
4. Better work-life balance. Perhaps you're eager to rejoin the workforce but you're also unwilling to give up the freedom retirement has to offer.
Freelancing enables you to return to working while maintaining your control over your life. Working as a freelancer allows you to have a better work-life balance-you can work whenever you want, wherever you want.
Your schedule as a freelancer largely depends on how many offers you accept or decline-you can choose to work as many or as little jobs as you'd like.
5. You can build your career even post-retirement. For countries like Australia where the people have the freedom to choose when to stop working, building careers is still possible even as you age.
However, in countries where retirement by 65-67 is mandatory, freelancing is a great way for seniors to still build their careers even after retiring.
In most cases, seniors miss working their previous jobs and still miss the interaction, the mental challenge and even the stress of working and doing freelance work is one way to transition easily into retirement.
6. Freelancing is a good way to practice a special interest, a hobby or try out something new. The need for a stable income may have prevented you from pursuing your passion as a source of income, now you're retired, you can start building your career out of your special interests or something that you were passionate about outside of your professional work.
You may have worked as an accountant for decades but your first love is writing-through freelancing, you can work part-time (or full-time) as a creative/content writer for startups or other businesses that need financial blogs from experts like you.
7. Helps keep your mind occupied. Although having a permanent break from work is something that most people dream of-most retirees may admit to longing for retirement whilst working-but come retirement, seniors often find themselves having difficulty adjusting to the no-work life.
Working as a freelancer is a great opportunity to stay active and keep your mind occupied even after retirement.
Perhaps you're now interested in working as a freelancer post-retirement, but you're still wondering which jobs should you take as you re-enter the workforce as a freelance worker.
Here are a few job suggestions that may be a good fit for retired professionals like you who wish to try out freelancing:
1. Freelance writer. One of the most common freelance jobs on the web market for talent, freelancing as a content writer is one of the good ways to spend your post-retirement days if you're someone who's passionate about writing.
Since most businesses revolve around content creation regardless of industry, you're most likely to land writing gigs in various online marketplaces-especially if you're someone with extensive knowledge and experience with a certain industry.
Potential roles for you include copywriter, web content writer, technical writer, expert blog/guest blog writer, editor and a lot more.
2. Project manager. Retirees with experience in operations and project management in their previous companies may also take their expertise on online talent marketplaces. There are various companies (whether startups, small businesses or large companies) looking for seasoned project managers who can help them grow their brands.
3. Tutor. Whether native speakers or not, retirees who are fluent in English and with a passion for teaching can consider making a living out of tutoring. There are a lot of ESL (English as a second language) teaching platforms you can join and that are in need of English teachers for students from Asian or non-English speaking countries.
4. Sales/Marketing Manager. Digital and web marketing is a big industry and brands are constantly in search of sales and marketing managers to help them advertise their products or services. If you're someone with marketing and sales experience, this is something you may want to try.
5. Consultant. If you're a retiree, becoming a freelance consultant is also one of the most lucrative careers for you. Young companies are always in search of experts in the field who can provide them valuable insight and output for business.
6. Web developer. Technology and web development jobs are very much in demand today, so if you're someone with an aptitude for web development and technology, this career might be something you'd like to consider.
7. Accountant. You can work as a freelance accountant that can help businesses to reconcile their books during tax season.
Apart from accountants, retirees with experience in the banking or finance industry can serve as advisors to individuals and businesses with investment or other financial concerns.
Freelance jobs are available on various web marketplaces. There are several trustworthy online working platforms where you’ll be able to find the most suitable jobs for you.
Here are a few famous online marketplaces for freelance work:
Joining work marketplaces is easy-just visit the links, sign up and follow the instructions in completing your profile.
For more information on freelance marketplaces, check out this article about Three of the Best Legitimate Work from Home Jobs Websites.
Now you've decided to work as a freelancer after retirement-what's next?
The first thing to do is visit various online marketplaces, sign up and follow the steps needed to become a legitimate member of the website and become able to search for and apply to jobs.
Apart from completing the membership processes on various online working platforms, here are other tips for successful freelancing especially if you're a retiree:
1. Decide what industry you wish to work in and build your career there. Your former work doesn't have to be your basis for your future freelance work.
Pick any career you want-whether it's related to what you've previously done or not-and stick to it until you've established yourself as an expert there.
2. It's never too late to learn new skills. If you think that there's nothing for you in the freelance industry, try to learn new skills through online courses.
The same also goes for retirees who think that their skills are already outdated.
There are various online learning platforms where you can study for free or for a minimal amount. Examples of websites like this are Udemy, HubSpot Academy and Lynda.
3. Be patient and relax. If things did not work out the first time, don't give up. Continue applying to jobs you know you can handle and take it easy. You'll find a good match for you eventually.
If you're a retiree and looking for ways to expand your income, especially for medical, hospital and ancillary insurance, freelancing is the way to go.
In fact, according to Payoneer's survey, older freelancers like you are able to earn more than your younger counterparts, perhaps because you have more depth, more experience and more know-how than the younger freelancers.
Even if you're not looking to make more money online, freelancing is a great way to keep your mind active, expand your connections and become more productive. Try freelancing today!
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