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The New Retirement: Making a Difference

Retirees seeking "encore jobs" that make a positive impact are on the rise.

If we're being totally honest with ourselves, not everybody can afford to take a job that has a positive social impact and hold it down for their entire working lives. Not everybody finds themselves in that position, and not everybody thinks in those terms early in their career.

People get the jobs they need and want for the times and places they're living in, and they hope to set themselves up well enough to retire and have time to relax. We've written about a newer version of this before: "encore careers," in which retirees decide not to rest on their laurels, but rather to find (or create) jobs that make their world a better place.

Now an AP story suggests that for increasing numbers of baby boomers, the meaning of retirement has changed—that 31 million boomers are looking to join the 9 million already in this new social workforce.

A mixture of longer lifespans, layoffs, shifting cultural attitudes and financial realities is causing this growing urge among over-50s to seek out more purposeful work. Sometimes it's just an itch to do something more purposeful in retirements that can now last for three decades, while still pulling in needed income.


The AP story excerpts a new book from Encore Careers, which cites the top five fields of employment for such careers: "Health care, education, green jobs, government, nonprofits."

Do you know anybody who has made this transition? Or who'd like to? Let us know in the comments, or tell me on Twitter.

Retired couple photo from Shutterstock.

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