corporations might offer generous early retirement packages, Hushbeck says it can be different for employees at small- or medium-size firms. One thing to keep in mind, says Hushbeck, is that early retirement is generally a perk at larger firms, and offers vary from one employee to another depending on factors such as age, years of service, and the company culture. In general, early retirements are part of a company’s overall workforce-management plan, Hushbeck adds, something companies “keep in their back pockets” for times when demand slips and they need to juggle the workforce.
But while there seems to be a corporate push for retirement, experts point out that many of these same companies are concerned about not having enough experienced and skilled workers. A recent study by Watson Wyatt, an international benefits consulting firm, found that many companies had begun looking at phased retirements4an arrangement in which employees at, or near, normal retirement age reduce their work hours and job responsibilities gradually.
Because of this, the prospects for those early retirees appears good, says Ronald Bird, chief economist of the Employment Policy Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based research organization. “Their experience and skills over the years will be an important competitive advantage,” says Bird. So how can boomers use their age and experience to their advantage? Start thinking about financial planning and life planning, says Bayer. And keep the following in mind:
If you’ve taken the early-retirement package, but still want to continue working, Bayer offers six tips:
1. Make sure your skills are current.
2. Prepare to accept a lower salary.
3. Consider opportunities in smaller companies and nonprofit organizations where experience is valued.
4. Pick growth industries. Stay away from industries related to travel and manufacturing, says Bayer. Look into safety and security firms, computer-related industries associated with security, the healthcare field, and the legal profession.
5. Participate in support groups for mature workers.
6. Be prepared to prove yourself.
Proving and re-proving yourself is a constant requirement for everyone,” says Bayer.
Name: Ralph R. Pettiford
Position: Associate distribution clerk for the U.S. Postal Service
Education: Rutgers University
Professional Strength: “My ability to execute a request in a timely manner and doing and perfecting a job.”
What’s next: “I want to expand what I’m doing in terms of my own business. When I retire, I want to recruit more business in signs and graphics because I’m limited now as a postal worker.”
Marital Status: Married; two children
Name: Huey Ball
Position: Retired senior account representative at 3M corporation
Education: B.S., Secondary Education, Ohio University
Professional Strength: “My people skills, analytical skills, and ability to communicate. Because I was involved in sales, I am very self-motivated. In sales, we work on a commission.”
What’s next: “I plan to start a marketing and sales consulting business to keep my fingers in the business world.”
Marital Status: Married; three children
Name: Vendra Hayes
Position: Part-time computer technician
Education: Wilson Technical Business School
Professional Strength: “I am a multitasker and I’m resourceful. I enjoy working with people.”
What’s next: “I want to own a consignment shop for wedding apparel.”
Marital Status: Married