In a recent Merrill Lynch survey, 76 percent of respondents indicated that their ideal retirement involves working in some capacity beyond age 70. More than half of the adults surveyed said they planned to seek a “retirement career” involving a passion or long-term interest often unrelated to the career they pursued before retirement.

If you are a member of this growing majority, there are some steps you can take to ensure that these “bonus years” live up to your expectations.

Start setting goals and objectives for your retirement years now. The earlier you begin to plan financially for retirement, the more options you’ll have for a “retirement career.” Create the best way to accumulate maximum savings for retirement. Evaluate your insurance coverage; at different life stages, your insurance needs will change. Estimate the kind of income you will need to supplement your retirement savings and pay down your debt load.

Getting started

It’s not too early to begin planning your transition to a retirement career. As early as 10 years out, there are steps you should take:

  • Assess your passions. What do you want to do during retirement?
  • Decide when you will retire.
  • Make a plan; share it with your spouse and family. Break it down into manageable steps—then get started. You may want to begin by volunteering in a related capacity, or by attending classes to enhance your resumé. Aim for balance among work, leisure and community service.

Five years from retirement

  • Decide where you are going to live during your retirement, and research that community for opportunities to follow your passion in your retirement career. Can you work in your field of choice by telecommuting?
  • Network with people in your field of choice. Your local UVaClub and the University Career Assistance Network (UCAN) database, accessible via HoosOnline (, are two excellent resources.

One to two years from retirement

  • Reassess your retirement plan in light of your health, finances and family situation and adjust your plan accordingly.
  • Move toward fulfilling your plan.

Wherever you are on your career path, you have the opportunity to begin planning for a “retirement career” that will become the ultimate goal and capstone of your work life.

For assistance with making your retirement career a reality, contact the Alumni Career Services Center.