Working for yourself in your golden years

Having saved enough money for a comfortable retirement tops the
list of financial concerns among older Americans, according to
a recent Gallup Poll. It even exceeds worries about
having a serious sickness or injury.

With statistics showing that Americans can expect to live 2 decades or
longer after reaching retirement age and our longevity
continuing to creep up, these fears could be well founded.

30 percent of American workers haven't saved at all for
retirement. Among those who do, many have not saved
enough, according to another study. The study showed that
another 30 percent of workers age 55 or older have saved less
than $25,000.

Many of us plan to work past the normal retirement age.
But at this rate, we may not have a choice. Some of us
Baby Boomers can expect to work beyond
age 65, whether we want to or not.

There is another choice to having to working full-time until we're
ready for a wheelchair. It's also an intelligent choice as we live past
age 50 and want to slow down, but still stay active and
stimulated. You can gradually transition from
full-time employment to being in business for
yourself or on a contract or per-project basis. By planning ahead,
you can gradually turn your abilities and skills into a small business
before leaving your job.

If you have worked in a one industry for 10, 15 or more
years, you are well suited for this type of transition. You
can set up a home office in a spare corner of your home,
get the equipment you need and gradually set up
your business.

When the time arrives and you want to make the change,
you can do it on your own conditions, often by negotiating a
contract with your existing employer for 50 percent of your
time. There are other ways to make the change, such as
negotiating with your manager for a reduced work week,
or working from home as a teleworker a few days each week.

Still others have started their business by moonlighting,
doing a few projects for other clients at night or
on weekends in the years leading up to leaving all while
building up a client base, provided such work isn't
prohibited by your full-time employment contract.
This is a good way to get started.

Enjoying the freedom of working for yourself.

Being your own boss means you get to choose how much you
work and how much you get paid. If you want to earn more for a
vacation or major purchase, you can work a bit more or take on another client.
 If you want to take a few weeks off for a cruise, it is easy to plan for the future,
keep your clients informed, and go have fun!

Maybe that is why those over 50 are much more likely
to enjoy being self-employed, according to a study for
 the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
The study showed that 16 percent of those past 50 were
self-employed, compared with 10 percent of the general
population with jobs. Plus 30 percent of self-employed seniors were
first-time business owners who started their business after turning
50 and spending many years toiling away for other people or businesses

Having your own business, especially after working for many years
as an employee for a larger organization is almost as good as
being financially independent while still making a living.

You can work fewer hours while you ease into retirement or work
for a few weeks to earn money for trips or a special buy.
The best part?  It may not even seem like work!