Boomers Turning to Freelancing Between Career and Retirement

pretty senior woman relaxing on a couch

When they started their careers, many Baby Boomers probably expected that after leaving corporate life, they’d be moving on to a traditional retirement lifestyle. But in both a changing economy and a changing culture, that’s rarely the reality these days.

Instead, these workers enter what many are calling the Encore Act, and it’s not necessarily a trend to be feared as simple delayed retirement. This is, as the Financial Post explained in a May 13 article, a “10- or 20-year transition period that could prove to be immensely productive and creative.”

For retirees who don’t need additional income, the Encore Act might be spent doing fulfilling but unpaid philanthropic work. For those who do need to supplement their cash flow, this period of life might involve going back to school, getting more technical certifications, taking a lower-paying but more fulfilling job or, of course, freelancing.

The reasons freelance work appeals to older workers, interestingly enough, are essentially the same reasons it appeals to Millennials. Despite their age difference, both groups see the value of a full and exciting life outside of the office. Freelancing allows for a healthy work-life balance, with its flexible hours and ability to adapt to the worker’s individual needs.

Doing freelance work from home is even playing into Baby Boomers’ decisions about their homes. As often as Boomers are calculating ROI for upgrades (an average of 78.6% for window replacement, about 73% for kitchen remodels, etc.) or installing first-floor amenities to accommodate aging, they’re putting in offices and workspaces to facilitate working from home.

Encore Act freelancing isn’t just piecemeal work allowing seniors to pick up a little cash, either. Especially with generally improving health and skyrocketing life expectancies, people who in another era might have been doing aquatic fitness classes and playing mahjong are instead building decades-long second careers around their passions and outside the confines of the corporate world.

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