3 minute read

Many hours to fill, many years to fund

Americans are living much longer and healthier than past generations and are redefining what it means to be retired. Most of us are facing the 40/30 dilemma – working 40 years in a full-time career and facing what could be 30+ years of retirement – which can feel both daunting and exciting at the same time. Many people see it as an opportunity to finally do something meaningful. Others simply think of it as a time to pursue their bucket list. And then there are those that call retirement just another phase of work.

Regardless of how you define your retirement, thinking about a Second Act before you retire can be a great way to set yourself up to pursue meaningful passions and keep earning income. Nancy Collamer, Retirement Coach and author of Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement, puts it this way, “A Second Act career can mean you don’t have to dip into your savings as early while being able to continue a meaningful and productive life. Finding an encore career earlier in life can also allow you to quit your unfulfilling 9-5 job before otherwise expected.”

WATCH Your Money Map: Navigating a meaningful second act

Nancy Collamer, Retirement Coach and Author of Second-Act Careers, joined Jean Chatzky on Your Money Map to discuss navigating a meaningful second act on November 1, 2022.

A trained guide

Retirement Coaches can help you with this transition. Unlike other major life changes such as when you move from college to career, you may be on a different cycle than others in your network. Having a trained guide and partner can make what would have been a solitary effort a supported and fulfilling exploration. Coaches help you take action by asking powerful questions like: If you knew you only had five years left to live, what would you do differently? What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? What’s one small thing you can do today to move yourself forward? What can’t you stop yourself from doing? Which five words best describe you? By answering these questions honestly, you are in a much better position to tap into what Nancy Collamer calls, “the serendipity people find when their antennas are up.”

The cost of freedom

Retirement Coaches can also provide you with a roadmap of the type of money you’ll need in your Second Act. Traditional retirement at age 65, with or without a Second Act, comes with many financial decisions: do you have enough savings and income to fund the lifestyle you want? What will it take to start your own business? What type of Medicare coverage should you choose? When should you start to claim Social Security benefits? And women especially need to plan for long term care costs due to their longer life expectancy. A Second Act before age 65 adds additional considerations: will you work full time and have access to employer benefits like subsidized healthcare and retirement savings accounts (401k, 403b, 457)? Or will you work part time as an independent contractor and need to self-fund your healthcare and retirement savings? No matter which path you take, to protect yourself from outliving your savings, annuities can supplement the income gap left by Social Security and guarantee that you continue to receive a steady stream of lifetime income, no matter how long you live. Knowing your basic expenses are covered with protected income from annuities + Social Security can give you the peace-of-mind to pursue the life you want in retirement. For the latest ideas, simple tools, and inspiring stories to help you navigate your next chapter in life, head to

Three simple and specific steps to help with the Second Act process:

  • Introspection — Think about what you want, and how you want to do it. Look for opportunities that match your values.
  • Idea Generation — Get out there, research, and explore your options.
  • Experimentation — Try things out to see what fits. Take a class, volunteer, put yourself in the environment that interests you.

Background on Guest
Nancy Collamer is an author, retirement coach and recognized expert on semi-retirement. She writes a monthly blog for the PBS site (and and is the author of Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement (Ten Speed Press, 2013). She holds an MS in career development from the College of New Rochelle and a BA in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also certified as a retirement coach. Nancy’s advice has been featured in numerous media outlets, including NBC Nightly News; the New York Times; CNN; the Wall Street Journal; Redbook; Ladies’ Home Journal; Marketwatch; and Fortune.

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