Posted on Monday, 14th July 2014 by

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Federal employees have valuable knowledge, skills, and training that can be highly beneficial to companies after retirement or that can be used to start your own business. Today many companies recruit active federal employees.  FERS employees are more easily persuaded to change careers because most of their benefits can go with them, unlike CSRS employees who don’t pay into Social Security or have a 5% TSP match.

Retirees go back to work for many reasons including financial necessity, volunteering to serve their community or church, and for others it’s simply a matter of staying active and involved. For some it’s to maintain a sense of purpose or to simply share what they’ve spent a life time learning with others.

The retiree stereotype today is profoundly different from what it was for our parents who were expected to retire, disengage, and simply take it easy. Retirees that don’t go back to work have avocations to pursue, travel, and do what they love to do and often do more of it than previous generations.

There isn’t a defined retirement path to follow, being an active and involved retiree can be whatever you want it to be as long as you put a plan into action. It’s a personal journey that can take you to new heights and expand your horizons beyond what you could have ever imagined.

Chuck Jumpeter, a former FAA associate, retired in 2006 and worked to expand a part time business he and his wife started while still working for the FAA. After being retired several years he discovered his true passion; golfing. He completed the United States Golf Teachers Federation (USGTF) instructor training courses and is now the golf pro at the Sand Springs Golf Club in Drums, PA. Plus, he teaches in the US Golf Little League program. He is living his dream and spending quality time imparting his talents to others and enjoying each and every day.  Here is a link to one of his golfing tips videos that he made for a local TV station. He also takes time to spoil and watch his 9 month old grandson.

Many retirees continue working by expanding part time businesses or building on their interests and hobbies while still employed. This approach has a distinct advantage over starting a business from scratch. You build the framework while still employed with Uncle Sam and transition the business to full time after you leave. That is what I did when I retired in 2005. I knew early on in my career that I would retire at age 55. That was my goal and my established business made the transition from and active federal employee to a fully employed retiree easy.

Several of our Forum Hosts, all of which are retired federal employees, pursued this path. Ann Ozuna, a retired CSRS Personnel Management Specialist and owner of  Personnel Solutions Federal Benefits Counseling hosts our Divorce & HR Forum.

Cynthia Compton-Conley Ph.D., our Hearing Loss Help Forum Host, is a Board Certified Doctor of Audiology, Professor of Audiology, and Hearing Industry Consultant. She is a retired Professor of Audiology who taught at Gallaudet University for 32 years and retired in the CSRS system. In 2013 she founded Compton-Conley Consulting.

Herbert Casey, recently signed on to host our HR & Benefits Forum. Herb is a human resource (HR) professional with over 35 years experience in the public sector. He served in HR managerial positions for various federal agencies, domestically and abroad and retired in November, 2013 from the Department of State. Herb is also an Adjunct Professor (Human Resources) at the Catholic University of Washington.

Nancy Holston, host of our Travel Forum is a veteran and retired in 2008.  She travels around the world and shares her many travel experiences with our site visitors. Her last article, titled An African Photo safari, was featured last week in our newsletter and blog.

Simply put, take all that you learned, enjoyed, and experienced while still employed and use it to your advantage when you leave. Become a consultant, write about your experiences for associations and related blogs, take on a part time job in an occupation of interest, work for contractors that serviced your agency while employed or jump start a profitable hobby.

There are many traditional full and part time jobs posted on our retiree jobs board.  Contracting firms, state agencies, and others post job vacancies specifically targeted to federal retirees that have the skills they need. Search our extensive listings to find opportunities in your area.

There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t find another retiree employment opportunity. Here are just a few examples to mull over.

Grounds Keeper – I often drive by large homes that owners neglect to maintain between annual maintenance when they have landscapers weed, mulch, edge the beds, and generally clean up around the exterior of the home.  I do this myself and use herbicide bi-weekly, trim, weed, and clean up small branches, leaves, etc. Many don’t bother and each year it costs them far more for the annual maintenance than what it would cost to have a local grounds keeper (a retiree that loves working outside), come bi-weekly or monthly to spruce up the grounds, weed, plant flowers, and spray herbicide.  Minor work only, leaving the heavy landscaper chores to the professionals. How much would you charge to spend an hour or two every other week to provide this service? You could establish a relationship with several owners and give it a try and your business will grow by word of mouth. No advertising necessary.

Doggie Foster Care – According to the American Veterinary Medical Association there are over 69,000,000 dogs in America.  Dog owners often forgo going on day trips or vacations, where they can’t take a pet, for fear of kenneling their dogs. Many pet owners would travel more if there were dog sitting services in a home environment. You could charge $25 or more a day just to keep a trained pet in your home and adopt the pet for short periods. Something like short term foster care for a favorite pet! This would be especially good for retired pet lovers who don’t want the responsibility and expense of owning their own pet after retirement. Pet owners would pay for this service willingly to have the peace of mind knowing that their pet is being kept in a compassionate and caring family home while they are away.  It would be easy to find a half dozen or so families that would want to take advantage of this service from time to time and you could expand it to visiting their home for short day trips to walk the dog, feed the fish or cat, and perform other services such as picking up the email and papers and just looking in on the house for an extended trip.

Sewing Work – Recently I tried  finding a sewing service to make a 38″ x 20″ x 2″ high pad for an alcove in my study. I even have the material. After numerous online searches I came up empty. I even called local fabric shops and a sewing center asking if they had referrals without success. Avid sewers could make a few bucks doing small jobs like this by advertising their services in local papers, on Angie’s List, or posting a notice at local fabric shops.

Baking & Hobbies – I went to a local computer recycling center this morning and passed a Farmers Market along the way. On the way home I stopped in and to my surprise found many tables set up for everything from baked goods and specialty foods such as homemade jams and jellies to nut breads, candles and collectables. If you enjoy wood working, collect and restore watches, toys, classic cars, or just about anything along that line, turn your passion into profits. It would seem to me that being out in the open air, selling something you made and love doing, would be a winning and profitable proposition.

I have to mention this last one. When I was in my pre-teens, in the late 1950s, I would search for pop bottles to turn in at the local grocery store for from 2 to 5 cents each. I would do just about anything to make a few cents back in those days. We have an Aldis grocery store in our area and you have to use a quarter to unlock and use a grocery cart. In my younger days I would have been in the parking lot offering to unload your groceries and returning the shopping cart for the quarter that you get back when you return the cart to the parking station. Many of our teenage children and grandchildren can’t find traditional work, they too have to be creative to earn some spending money other than just relying on mom and dad.

If you are considering working after retirement there are other benefits. CSRS employees could earn sufficient quarters to collect Social Security which could pay for your Part B Medicare premiums and more. If you work for a company with a 401K plan you can contribute while deferring taxes and increase your retirement income down the road. Work keeps your body and mind active, a wining proposition for anyone.

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The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, and financial information is subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact your benefits coordinator and ask them to review your official personnel file and circumstances concerning this issue. Retirees can contact the OPM retirement center. Our article is not intended nor should it be considered investment advice and our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.


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