Retirement Ideas for Federal Workers

By on December 26, 2012 in Current Events, Retirement with 12 Comments

Retiring at the end of a long career is an exciting and happy thing. Gone are the days of 9 to 5, commuting traffic, and just two weeks vacation. However, any change as big as retirement can be a little frightening. Because retirement is a dramatic “overnight” change, proper preparation and planning are necessary to help you transition into this new phase of your life. Perhaps that’s why many Federal workers are calling for phased retirement options.

As you begin to think about what you might do in your retired years, you should know that there are consultation services like this one that help employees plan out the next stretch of their lives. While these services can be helpful if you have a more complex financial situation, they certainly aren’t necessary for all retirees.

Below, you’ll find several retirement ideas for the next phase of your life. Whether you want to add to that generous pension or pick up a new hobby, you’ll find plenty of ideas in this article.

Part Time Income Options

According to this 2010 article, 18% of employees think they will work part time in retirement. That figure is up from 10% in 2001. While many of those employees are private sector employees, a growing number of federal employees are considering post-retirement work, as well.

Following a Passion

With your “real” working years behind you, make the most of your post-retirement mini-career by choosing something you love. You don’t have to think about employer contribution retirement plans, health care, or all of those other external factors that were parts of your decision making process forty years ago.

So, why not explore something you love? Do you enjoy woodworking for grandchildren, or baking for local charity fundraisers? Why not turn those passions into mini-businesses? If you have a little bit of website knowledge, try selling your wares on Etsy.com. If making a website and selling online sounds daunting, then go for your local flea market, antique shop, or other vending location.

Developing a New Interest

Not sure what your passion is? This article from Forbes highlights some of the best “retirement jobs” for workers in your demographic. Read about how one retiree sails other people’s boats up and down the coast of Florida for $300/day, three or four days a month.

Of course, your new work doesn’t have to follow a personal passion. You might find some jobs that you had never before considered to be fulfilling. Are you a patient person who’s talented in explaining ideas to others? Maybe working as a teacher’s assistant at your local community college could be for you. As a teacher’s assistant, you can put your skills and knowledge to work in a way that benefits the next generation of federal (and private) workers.

Enjoying a Hobby

If money isn’t a major concern for you as you enter into retirement, then you don’t need to worry about work. Smart retirement planning can leave you feeling comfortable about your financial future. If this is the case, why not spend your time pursuing a hobby you never had time for in your career days?

Hobbies don’t have to be enjoyed alone – even the more solitary ones like knitting or model airplane building. In fact, your city probably has organizations and groups dedicated to your special interest – whether that’s gardening or stamp collecting. MeetUp.com is a great website to find others who share your interests.

Many federal workers experience a little bit of loneliness after they retire. After all, you’re used to being around other people during 40 scheduled hours every week. Leaving that behind to remain at home can be a major transition. Sharing a hobby with friends and new faces can be a great way to smooth out that transition. Plus, you get to spend time doing something you love!

Enjoying a Sport

Sports – just like hobbies – can provide you with those same social benefits. However, they have an additional benefit: physical fitness. Right now, as you retire, you are probably in decent health. However, as you age, it will be more difficult to begin playing a sport and exercising.

If you haven’t been making good decisions about exercising and physical fitness during your busy career days, then now is the time to start (in your mid-60s). Of course, it’s never too late to begin exercising and taking care of your body.

Popular retiree sports include the obvious: tennis and golf. But, there are many more sports that you’ve probably never considered before: Tai Chi, swimming, lawn bowling, and more.

Interested in better health overall? Check out this Livestrong article on workout programs for seniors. Reference this article for more detailed exercise program information. Physical activity doesn’t have to be the center focus of your retirement years, but no matter what you choose to do, don’t forget to take care of your body!

Traveling the Country

Have you and your spouse always wanted to travel, but never felt like you had the freedom to do so? Long-term travel can be expensive – not to mention tiring. However, when your home travels with you, you might find that you can travel without becoming exhausted or depleting your funds!

Consider traveling the country in an RV. Many federal workers have retired, sold their homes, downsized into a small condo, and purchased an RV. There are numerous articles online to help you plan for an RV retirement. In many cases, retiring while traveling in an RV can be cheaper than retiring and staying at home!

Of course, “traveling” doesn’t only mean RV travel. You might want to take one or two trips a year to Alaska, Hawaii, Europe, or elsewhere. Check out Elder Treks for exciting travel options. For general travel advice, don’t forget about the AARP’s resource page.

Your Retirement

Whether you choose to pursue a new mini-career, travel the country, or take up an old hobby with renewed interest, don’t forget that this retirement is your retirement. These are your years to pursue the things that matter to you.

Be sure to educate yourself about the Federal Employees Retirement System as you start on this new phase of life. Take advantage of any and all resources offered at your particular place of employment. You could save money and avoid unforeseen problems by using the resources that are already available to you.

Enjoy your golden years, and live them to the fullest!

© 2016 Jason Kay. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Jason Kay.

About the Author

Jason Kay is a professional resume writer and regular contributor to KSADoctor.com, a professional federal resume service and repository of sample KSA statements.

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  1. bruce264aveb says:

    Don’t retire unless you absolutely have to. For every person that I know that has retired from Federal Service and is happy, I know of 6 people who are miserable and sorry they retired. With plenty of annual leave to allow for a respite, it is better to keep your mind active and sharp. Retirement will ultimately isolate you from the world at large. Only a small number of people actually avail themselves of new opportunities and hobbies. Most just veg out in front of daytime tv. Keep active and stay alive.

  2. Retired says:

    How about continued work of some kind – it’s good for you and others!  Sole supporters never quit and there’s big rewards in the end.   Happy New Year!  And keep your second job..it may become your first and only 😉

  3. Serf in USA says:

    Try selling your pills. I hear some of the good stuff fetches $30/mg.  At least it’s some bingo money. 

  4. LaborAttorney says:

    Write uncompensated articles for FedSmith.

  5. HR Manager (Retired) says:

    Try volunteering.  Most communities, if not all, have a wide range of volunteer opportunities.  Also, don’t limit yourself to your work areas of expertise – yes their are probably non profits in your area which can use your work expertise but also consider volunteering in areas which are new to you.  Remember that most organizations seeking volunteers also offer orientaion training.  A key to having a good volunteer experience is to volunteer to do things which you consider fun. 

  6. Janaddington says:

    We do our best to “plan” for the future, but we cannot control everything in retirement, or at any other stages of life.  I retired last December, traveled in January, then took my 93 year old parent into my home.  Hopefully, I will be able to keep him out of the nursing home (where my 91 year old Mom lives, because of Alzheimers).  Life cannot be planned out so easily, there are too many unknowns–ageing parents, health issues, and so on.  I try to get some small pleasure out of each day and trust God to help me handle life’s “unknowns”.

  7. DeathWatch says:

    They may receive less benefit later, but live in bigger houses now. 

  8. msgrowan says:

    Every community of any size has a plethora of volunteer opportunities available to help new retirees, as the saying goes, “give back” for all that that they have received throughout their own lives.  These can be, and to my personal knowledge are, very rewarding.  For example, I happen to live relatively near to a major airport and have been regularly volunteering since my own retirement at the facility’s USO, which provides a wide range of services on a 24/7 basis to traveling military members, including retirees, and their families.  The smile that lights up a weary, travel-worn military dependent mother’s face when she finds a safe and caring haven at the USO for herself and her children, the eagerly received welcome home receptions for returnees from “down range” deployments to such foreign garden spots as Afghanistan, and the thanks of grateful families of the fallen as they await the return of those loved ones who “have given the last full measure of devotion” provide rewards that go beyond any other.  A little searching on the internet or contacts with local municipalities can uncover a whole range of volunteer activities from which to choose one or more that suit your own inclinations and interests, once the “rat race” is over and done with.  The world of volunteer opportunities beckons out there once you’ve “pulled the plug”; I encourage you to explore it. 

  9. Eagle1 says:

    FERS= Find Employment Real Soon!    That’s what most FERS retiree’s will be doing!   I know I will!

  10. Jfralick says:

    How about writing internet columns taking cheap shots at federal workers in my former workplace?  Does anyone know of a website that does that? 

    • NOBAMA2012now says:

      Simply come up with a daily screed you keep on a MS Office document. Cut and paste the screed on various web sites comments sections and have fun…….

  11. Boyd Lemon says:

    Jason, you are wise to not confine your retirement advice solely to financial.  Obviously, financial planning is key to a fulfilling retirement.
     But I want to call to the attention of baby boomers and anyone planning
    retirement or recently retired that emotional planning is important too.
     Going from a full time job to no job may seem ideal, but it is an
    enormous and difficult adjustment.  Too many retire people end up feeling
    useless, with no purpose.  Many suffer from episodic depression as a
    result, making what could be the best time of their lives, the worst time.
     Prepare yourself by finding a passion to pursue during retirement.

    Boyd Lemon-Author of “Retirement: A Memoir and Guide”
    (December 1, 2012); Eat, Walk, Write: An American Senior’s Year of Adventure in
    Paris and Tuscany (2011); and 5 other books. Information, reviews and excerpts:
    http://www.BoydLemon-Writer.co

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