The concept of an “encore career” is spearheaded by the US non-profit called Encore.org. If you come to this article wondering what on earth I am talking about, here is their definition:

“An ‘encore’ or ‘encore career’ is continued work in the second half of life that combines social impact, purpose, and often, continued income. While many people see their encore work as a ‘career,’ others associate the career language with the ‘achieving’ stage of life. For that reason, we talk about an encore role, work, or activity – or simply ‘an encore’. […]

“An encore can be paid or volunteer, and doesn’t have to be limited to the nonprofit sector. And it’s much more about life stage than age. That said, the encore stage sits squarely in those years that used to comprise retirement.”

Starting a new career at any age requires a major decision and some conscious effort. To assist with your decision making, I thought I would outline some of the pros and cons I experienced as I started out in a new career when I found myself suddenly retired at 60.

It is interesting to note that many sources place the cut-off age for starting a NEW career at 61, so I take that to infer that if it is work in an industry you know, with a change in focus, hey, you can start at any age!

An Opportunity to Follow Your Heart

With an encore career we get the opportunity to follow our hearts, something most of us find easier in our 60s than we did in our 40s, when we had mortgages, school fees, and car payments hanging over our heads.

This means, as an encore we get to do something we are passionate about, and it may not necessarily feel like “work.” We see many examples of later-bloomers all around us – Judi Dench and Maggi Smith, together with Morgan Freeman, are a few well known ones.

Consider the Pros

  • Flexibility in what you do and how much you do each and every day.
  • You can choose projects that are meaningful to you, give you a sense of contribution or feeling of giving back.
  • Most of us have a deeper sense of self after 60, so we tend to manage people more effectively than we did when we were younger, and we experience more reward.
  • It is an opportunity to receive income for doing what you love.
  • Maturity brings an understanding that it is not how hard you work, but how effectively you work, that matters.
  • We tend to have more clarity and focus than we did when we were younger.

Don’t Ignore the Cons

  • It is tough out there competing with Millennials and Gen X-ers who seem to be genetically programmed with tech know-how. It is more important than ever to keep abreast of the developments in technology and that can feel overwhelming at times.
  • This is the time in life when you need to reduce debt and generate income, not create more overdue balance.
  • Loneliness can be a factor if you work on your own. Building a supportive community becomes essential.
  • If you don’t have a large network with useful contacts, you may struggle to get things going.

When You Do the Balance

For me, the pros far outweigh the cons. I have found it very lonely at times, and I have spent more hours than I can count trying to master and keep up with technology, but when I retire after a day of doing what I love, I am eternally grateful.

At 65, I am more grounded, realistic, and generally more mature than I ever was on my journey to 60. Perhaps I needed a reminder of this yesterday, as I struggled to persuade LinkedIn to accept my photograph for a new business page!

So, look on an encore career as the opportunity to earn money doing what you love, and then grab that opportunity with both hands.

What is your current state of work? Are you retired, still working actively, or have you started on an encore career? How is that working out for you? Please share your stories with our community.

Let's Have a Conversation!