Money

‘Unretirement’ Becomes New Buzz Word for Post-career Baby Boomers

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iStock_000021246021_MediumYou’ve retired. But you’re restless. You realize your finances can’t support your sunset years. You need to add to your nest egg.

[Related: Should You Ever Borrow From Your 401(k)?]

Or maybe you’re just bored with life’s leisurely pace after 40 years on the 9-to-5 speedway.

But you have no desire to resume the daily grind. You want no part of traffic gridlock, long commutes, or crowded subways.

You decide to “unretire.” There are millions of 60- and 70-year-olds like you.

Each day, 10,000 baby boomers retire, according to the Social Security Administration. Over 365 days, that’s almost 4 million people. After a few years on the shelf, many are rejoining the workforce.

Today, as many as 60% of older workers who leave a full-time career move into part-time work, do freelance tasks, or take a temporary job, says Chris Farrell, an economics reporter and author of Unretirement: How Baby Boomers are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community and the Good Life.

You won’t match your former pay, but that’s not your aim. Where can you find the job you’re looking for? Financial writers Allyn I. Freeman and Robert E. Gorman recommend:

Trade associations. These can be great sources for specific job openings and can provide you with contact information about member companies.

University alumni associations. Many colleges offer online bulletin boards with job openings and networking opportunities for alumni.

Temporary agencies. These are reliable sources for an overview of flex-time jobs and likely wages in your area of expertise.

Websites. AARP.org offers a portal for employment websites. Some others: SeniorJobBank.org, RetirementJobs.com, 2Young2Retire.com, Seniors4Hire.org and ExperienceWorks.org.

You can expect obstacles to landing a job. Age discrimination may be illegal but is still practiced. You may find a new job unsettling. Ask yourself, can you take instruction from a boss 30 years younger than you?

You want to be certain the job is satisfying. If it is, treat it as an experiment. If it doesn’t work out, accept it in stride and move on.

If you find full-time work and can match your pre-retirement income, consider asking Social Security to suspend your retirement benefits. You can boost your post-career income by delaying when you file for benefits.

If you’ve reached full retirement age of 66, but are not yet 70, benefits increase by a certain percentage each year you delay. “You should know, you can withdraw your application to begin receiving benefits just once. … You can’t withdraw your application after a full year of having received retirement benefits,” says Dwight A. Clark, senior retirement financial planner at TIAA.

If you’re under 66, “you will also be required to pay back to Social Security all the benefits you received,” Clark says.

Until now, retirement planning meant building your portfolio, making the right investments.

“The new thinking is to delay filing for Social Security benefits and find meaningful work,” says Chris Farrell. That means putting your savings on “autopilot.”