How active Boomers are becoming successful freelancers

There are 76 million people in America that make up the great Baby Boomer generation – those born between 1946 and 1964. These Baby Boomers are retiring at a rate of nearly 10,000 per day. Having worked all of their lives, they enjoy well deserved retirement, love to spend time with their families, take up hobbies, travel and explore.

However, many Boomers that want to stay active in the workforce well past the traditional retirement age. More and more Boomers are considering working part-time in retirement or even whole new careers. They are starting a new trend called “phased retirement”.

What is a "phased retirement"?

In the recent years many large companies and even federal government are putting in place programs that allow employees to partially retire while remaining on the job part-time to help better manage employers’ workforce needs

About 30 percent of large employers — those with over 1,000 employees — offer employees some flexible retirement option, whether it is allowing older employees to work part time or in job sharing with colleagues, according to WorldatWork, a global association of human resources managers.

Informal arrangements are more common than formal programs. Only about 6 percent of large employers have formal phased retirement policies, benefits consulting firm Aon Hewitt found, though 42 percent of employers are considering them this year.

Unlike what many may believe, phased retirement is not just for highly skilled workers. Industries such as health care, manufacturing and others are experiencing shortage of labor and introducing ways to employ and retain older workers. It is likely that phased retirement programs are going to be rapidly adopted by employers large and small over the next several years.

Remaining in the workforce has important financial benefits. Social Security retirement benefits are based on the average of your 35 highest earning years. If you claim Social Security before your full retirement age to supplement your phased retirement income, it will reduce your total benefits. For most people, it's better to wait to claim Social Security at least until full retirement age. If you wait to age 70, you can receive your maximum Social Security benefit.

Using phased retirement to launch your encore career

One of the key advantages of participation in a phased retirement program offered by an employer is that it may allow enterprising Boomers to launch their encore careers. While working part time for a company offers some additional income and access to limited benefits, those willing to explore new ways to work may benefit from transitioning to a freelance career, either in their field or exploring new fields.

Freelancing has evolved from a small portion of the economy to become one of its mainstream segments. Today it is one of the most important sources of income for professionals in many fields. Freelancing contributes well over $700 billion annually to the US economy and growing rapidly.

It is no longer limited to unemployed professionals doing some tasks while they search for a permanent job. Skilled professionals with many years of experiences are joining the ranks of freelancers and making it their career. Anyone that has the right approach to work you can make income and grow as a freelancer.

Benefits of freelancing

As an independent freelancer you have the flexibility to choose how much to work and make your own hours. Further, it allows you to work for different employers and on projects that are of interest, rather than simply carrying on working just to earn income. This flexibility allows you to create the work-life balance you desire and deserve. Furthermore, you can scale up and down the amount of work you do depending on your needs at the moment. If you have a family event or take an extended vacation, you can pause and resume once you are back. Freelancing is a journey of self-discovery, but a rewarding once you find the right balance.

Many of the freelancing jobs today do not require to be physically present in the office. You do not have to be stuck in traffic or spend money on you daily commute – you can be at work in seconds in your own home. Less time spent on the road means more time for your clients and all of the things that matter most in your personal life. As an independent professional in 2016 you have the power and technology to do your work from anywhere. You can also do prospecting, put forward proposals or engage in negotiations from wherever you are. Cloud-based services and constantly evolving technology will only be making working remotely more attractive and easy. Of course, you need to be aware of “work at home” scams and trust only reputable online platforms for projects of this type.

Lastly, as an independent freelancer you will be able to significantly increase work opportunities available to you. Unlike participation in the phased retirement program offered by your employer, freelancing allows you to engage with any company that is looking to gain access to experienced labor without having to employ someone full time. Small businesses can be particularly attracted to this type of engagement, and given that there are a lot more small businesses than large companies, opportunities to find rewarding work increase exponentially.

All said Boomers are getting more opportunities to stay active and enjoy a rewarding encore career. Phased retirement offered by some employes can help them to build their own business.

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