Since all of my jobs are part time, seasonal and temporary, I never considered working them would make me "not retired." However, a couple of readers commented that they don't consider working 40+ hours a week as being in retirement, no matter what type of job or the length of the job. One reader commented being "legitimately retired" is not having to work and that a person working only 20 hours was not retired if "THEY HAVE TO WORK (sic)to sustain themselves financially."
Although I had not previously thought about it, I think the readers asked a very good question, "Does working disqualify me as being retired?"
First, I'd like to start with a definition from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary for retired -"withdrawn from one's position or occupation : having concluded one's working or professional career." To this definition I would add, " living primarily on savings, retirement accounts, pension or other retirement benefits (e.g. social security, health insurance, etc.) and plan to do so for the rest of their lives." To me, meeting both parts of the definition would qualify a person as being in retirement.
Here's how our situation compares to the two parts:
- Concluded our professional careers. Both my wife and I have stopped working in our professions. My wife retired from her career after 15 years when we moved for an international assignment. She did not start working again when we returned. I retired after from my field after working 27 years for one company. Neither of us have worked or are working in the positions, occupations or professions from which we retired.
- Living primarily on saving, retirement accounts, pensions and other retirement benefits. Currently, we are living on our savings accounts and getting health insurance covergage from my company. When we turn 59 1/2, we'll be able to access our retirement accounts without penalty. At 62, we'll be able to apply for and receive social security payments. Theoretically, we have sufficient funds to last into our nineties.
- Working various part time jobs. Since retiring, I have been working at different seasonal part time jobs in the financial and education fields for my personal development and to earn some money. Due to the recession, I had a goal of earning 20% of our monthly expenses to reduce our withdrawal rate until the stock market recovered. In 2008 and 2009, I earned about 10-15% of our expenses. However, in 2010 it appears I will have a one year windfall of earning 40% of our expenses mainly because I received accepted a couple unexpected job offers, which caused the short term work overload. Next year, I expect to be back to earning about 20% of our living expenses, since one of the jobs no longer exists and I won't be reapplying to another.
For now, I believe we currently meet the definition of being in retirement. However, if I started a new career in a full time permanent job, I would consider myself out of retirement and back to working. Hopefully, a poor economy and falling stock market won't make that decision for us :-)
For more on Reaping the Rewards, check back every Friday for a new segment.
This is not financial or retirement advice. Please consult a professional advisor.
Copyright © 2010 Achievement Catalyst, LLC