What is Retirement?
Before we discuss semi-retirement, let’s first look at retirement. According to Wikipedia, retirement is defined as “the withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from one’s active working life. A person may also semi-retire by reducing work hours.”
Retirement sounds good in theory; however, some have found that the idea of retirement may be quite different than its reality. Some individuals have expressed boredom during retirement.
Others felt they had no purpose or goals to drive them. A few just hated having nowhere to go. And, yes, others realized they needed more income than they had planned.
For whatever the reason, they decided that retirement is not for them. I’m one of those people. I want to work as long as I possibly can. I want to continue to use my brain and to grow and learn as much as possible.
What is Semi-Retirement?
I agree with the above definition of retirement; however, I do not believe that the definition of semi-retirement is completely accurate. Semi-retirement, in my opinion, is not simply the reduction of working hours.
Semi-retirement could and should be so much more than just reducing work hours.
Here’s my definition of semi-retirement: “A time in life where one finally gets to use the skills and knowledge gained from many years of working, in a manner conducive to more joy, more freedom, perhaps more money, and basically – more living.”
How I enjoy semi-retirement
So, let me discuss semi-retirement the way that I enjoy it. Notice I said enjoy. That was deliberate. In my humble opinion, semi-retirement can be a time of joy and still be a time of earning a great income. Let me share how I currently enjoy my semi-retirement and still make great money.
- I took my skills as an Executive Assistant for 20+ years out of the office and put them online. (Note: I run into people every day that tell me their skills cannot be done online. For most of those individuals, I beg to differ. I wrote a blog about this very thing: “But what I do in an office can’t be done online.“)
- I only use the skills I enjoy and the ones that fit nicely into the schedule I want to maintain with family and friends.
- There is no issue of being tied to an office in my town. Instead, I work for clients all over the world – so the options are more plentiful.
- My years of experience are an asset – not a liability – because working online is only about the skill level and nothing more.
- The joy of working virtually, is that I decide when and where I’ll do the work.
- I became busy enough that I now have 3 assistants that do the work for me as I coach other women how to work from home in the same way.
- By working fewer hours it’s considered part-time, but I am actually making more money (per hour) than I did in the office.
I am not unique nor am I all that special. My skillset is nothing miraculous. I believe that anyone that is not interested in retirement but rather interested in working in a way that fits better with their life can absolutely have it.
How does it look for you to semi-retire and still make great money?
- What skills have you gained through your years of experience? Make a list of everything you know how to do in your field. Make sure you include everything – no matter how small. If you did it, it’s important.
- Go through that same list you just made and cross out the skills that you hated to do! Also, cross out the skills that you didn’t care about. You didn’t hate them, but you didn’t love them either. You should now have a list of only those skills you truly enjoy.
- Next, go to a few websites like Upwork.com, Freelancer.com or maybe VirtualVocations.com. What skills are companies asking for help with? Make a list of them.
- Now, compare your two lists. Do you see any items that are similar? Do you see where you would love doing exactly the skill for which some companies are hiring?
- Ding – Ding – Ding – You have the semi-retirement I defined above. You can do what you enjoy on your own time frame, wherever you’d like (i.e., from home, while traveling, or from your favorite cafe) and still make great money doing it! Now, that’s what I call true semi-retired living!
Word of Caution: Define what ‘great money’ means to you
After you’ve decided what you could be paid to do, you will need to look at how much you want to work. If you find the perfect type of work for your skill set, you might find yourself doing what I did.
I started taking on more and more clients and becoming busier and busier every year. Eventually, I felt like I had a full-time job working from my home.
That may be just the thing you want. You may love working full-time, but you just want to do it from where you love to work. That’s perfect. ‘Great money’ to you will be easier with full-time work – especially if you’re doing what you love. You can just build your client base for a full day.
For me, it was working fewer hours but optimizing those hours so that the income was still as high as possible. I truly wanted to be semi-retired and still make great money – but not at the expense of my freedom. ‘Great money’ to me is what I consider appropriate for the amount of time I want to put in.
You need to define for yourself what ‘great money’ means. Then, you get to build your work and schedule around that decision. If freedom is important, you can take on fewer clients and still make great money. If you want more money, take on more clients and go get it!
Semi-retirement is about just that…you get to decide what it looks like and how great it will be.
About the Author:
Stephanie Brodt: After working 20+ years as an Executive Assistant for CEO’s and Presidents, including Fortune 500 companies, Stephanie left the corporate world and started working virtually for business all over the world. She now has freedom to work from anywhere she wants and helps other women find that same type of freedom. You can view her site at www.stephaniebrodt.com