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To Work or not to Work?

Retirement Savings Jar
Experts recommend asking yourself what you want to do in retirement 5 years prior to reaching that stage. The reason is that if it requires training or a course or two you can take the time to do it while still in your full time career. Another reason for starting this much in advance or even sooner than the five years is that often people's mind's will change on the subject. If you really want to work after your teaching career is over the best advice you can be given is to take as many computer courses as you can while still teaching. It will give you more job opportunities in whatever second career you select.

Also, look into the rules and regulations regarding employment in retirement in your state and if it affects your pension. Most states allow a retired teacher to work in a non-public related job and collect their full pension. Do your homework in this matter early. As for Social Security, they will allow only a certain amount to be earned without affecting your Social Security benefits prior to your full Social Security Age. At that age you can earn an unlimited amount and it will not affect your Social Security. Investigate these areas before retiring to see what the rules are in your state or under Social Security. In all likelihood it may be advantageous for you to delay collecting Social Security until you are not being penalized for earnings. Check this site to determine what that age is for you and scroll to chart..

Remember, in all likelihood, you will be contributing to Social Security in your retirement job. Run the figures and make sure that making an income is not costing you too much money.
Some of you may already know that you are not retiring from something but rather retiring to something. You are sure that you do not want to become a coach potato. You know you need something to keep you going. Remember what is worse than burnout is boredom. Depression is a very real thing for seniors and often it is caused by being bored and no longer feeling useful. So work may be something you need in your retirement years. Maybe you already know that but don't know what you should do. The following is a guide to assist you.

First of all for several years prior to retiring scan on a regular basis the "Want Ad" section of the newspaper. The Sunday edition is usually the best. If a certain ad strikes you, makes you wish you could apply for it, make note of the position(s) and this is a place to start your thinking about what you would like to do after you retire.
In conjunction with this is the self-examination.

What you should ask yourself.

1. Do I want a job for the money it provides, to accomplish unfulfilled dreams, or to fill in time?
There was a song years ago that stated, "If I had my life to live over", what would I have done? It is not too late to do it now.

2. Do I want something full or part time?
Am I really not sure what I want? Well maybe going to a temp agency is the route for me. Most of the jobs they offer vary from a day to a few weeks. It will provide me with the opportunity to try different things out before selecting something I'd really like to do. Some temp agencies just specialize in one field of labor but there are many that offer a vast area of job opportunities. Agencies will often do a screening to see the skills you have and will do this at no charge. Ask in advance if there are any charges. You can find agencies that do not charge and also that the employer is the one that pays the hiring fees.

3. Is there something I always wanted to do but could not afford to do because of the need for a steady salary?
I will have my steady pension coming in so now I can afford the luxury of doing that job I always wanted to do but it would not have paid the bills. This can be employment in a full or part time capacity. It may also be the development of one's own business. For some it will be looking at a way a hobby or interest could be developed into a full or part time business. With a few courses through evening classes at a college or vocational school one could develop more professionalism in the area. Also if you have a special talent or craft, you could purchase space at craft fairs or flea markets when you have enough of the product to sell.

4. What are the qualities of the perfect job for me?
Is it working with people,or alone? When have I felt the most fulfilled? Do I enjoy research types of projects or presentation types of things? What are the ingredients that I want in the work I do at this stage of my life? Remember, this is a personal assessment so what works for a colleague of yours may not be the answer for you.

5. Is there a certain age group I would like to work with at this time?
Most likely it is an age group that is different then the one you worked with for years. A good source to explore if you are interested in age related jobs is any organization that specializes in that age group for ideas on jobs that are available and for which you would qualify.

6. Does what I want to do require specific training?
If yes is the answer to this question look at Community College courses as they are less expensive. If the system in which you are currently employed pays for courses maybe you can find a few that will help prepare you for your future. Also look into the fact that many colleges, both public and private, allow seniors(over 55) to take courses free of charge or at a greatly reduced rate. This information for MA residence can be obtained at the Boston Public Library. Call them and ask to be connected to the department that furnishes this information. Ask them to send you the listing of the colleges involved.

7. Do I want a job more for the benefits it gives me then the money it pays?
If you answer in the affirmative to this question then maybe working for an airline, hotel chain, department store, travel agency, working sporting events, theater, playhouse, working at a golf course, health club, cable company in the office, is the way to go. Another area to consider is apartment management for free housing.
I know of people who have expensive hobbies, boating and photography for example, and are working at a mariner supply store or photo store for the discount rates they can have on purchasing supplies and parts for themselves. Plus they are talking to people about a subject they are interested in and love.
Another area that provides excellent perks is working part time in a hospital as non-medical personal. Look into the benefits they provide.
Regarding Hospitals - Generally speaking - but it does vary from institution to institution:
Benefited Status equals 20 or more hours per week, benefits are pro-rated based on the number of hours per week. Benefits include; Health Ins (at around 45% for the employee paid portion) Dental Ins (at around 60% for the employee paid portion) Life Ins (free for up to 2 times salary), additional purchases are available.
Supplemental Life, AD & D, Dependent Life. Also available (at around 50% for the employee portion) Short and Long Term Disability Ins. Another good one to look for is the ability to set up HCRA & DCRA accounts (pretax deductions for Health Care Reimbursement Accounts and Dependent Care Reimbursement Accounts)

8. I want full time or part time employment but what can I do as a retired teacher?
You are marketable. Look at the employment section of the Sunday paper and it will provide you with ideas on a variety of job opportunities.
Why are you marketable? As a teacher you have developed excellent people skills and communication skills. You have been in charge of large numbers in a classroom which makes you marketable in many supervisory type jobs.
You are employable in a number of office positions doing scheduling, administrative assistants work, receptionist, light industrial.
A newly published book that can be a great reference is "101 Career Alternatives for Teachers" by Margaret M. Gisler. It is available in paperback for $14.95 and is for those retiring from teaching as well as those seeking to make a career change. Ask your library to purchase it so others will be able to receive the benefit it provides.

9. I am still interested in a job educationally related. What can I do?
Look into the laws of your state regarding reemployment in education and how it effects your pension. In MA you can accept a teaching position in a private, parochial, or any non-public school and collect a full salary plus your full pension. If you live in a border city you can collect a full teacher's salary in a another state and your full pension. Unless a critical shortage has been declared in your area of expertise in teaching you can only make the difference between what your pension is and your salary would have been had you remained teaching in a public sector job in MA. Being a member of the legislature is an exception to this rule.
If you work for a private company doing educational work as a consultant, grant writer, curriculum development, working on developing educational programs, or editing for a publishing company, or any other positions in the private sector, you are able to collect your full pension.

10. Are there certain needs in my person that I would like this new job to address? Something that will allow me to supervise others? Something that is intellectually stimulating? Something that will allow one of my talents to be recognized? Something in which my artistic or aesthetic needs will be met? Something in which my spirit of adventure or competition can be addressed? Something that will allow me freedom from someone else making most of the decisions and also flexibility in scheduling work time? Something that is physical in nature and little brain power need be exercised?

11. What do I really enjoy doing and what job can relate to that? Think about this. For example if you really enjoy driving there are numerous employment opportunities for you. You can shuttle new cars from one location to another for auto dealerships and car rental people. You can drive courtesy shuttles for car dealerships to bring the cusotmers from the dealership to bus stops, home, and pick them up at the end of the day. Limo drivers are needed to take executives to and from the airport and business meetings. You can deliver auto parts for auto part stores to gas stations, repair shops, etc.

It was stated somewhere that the word retirement is really not a good word to use regarding this phase in our lives. Retire denotes inactivity and for most these years are anything but. Retirement should be doing what you want to do and when you want to do it. It is a personal time in one's life and you should not allow other's tastes to influence what you want to do with your life in these years. For most of us, the phase we are leaving was made up mostly of what we had to do, now in retirement, what you want to do, should be the compelling factor. You spent time thinking about your career choices and you must allow the same time to explore this phase.


Click on the links below if you need help in writing a resume or other relevant materials.

Resume Writing:

How to prepare an effective resume.
Twenty four tips on resume writing by Yana Parker.
Here are some more tips.
More on resume writing.

If you go on line and type in sample resumes in your search engine you should find numerous good examples.

How to choose best resume format either chronological or functional.
Sample chronological format.
If you are older, sending out a resume in the chronology format may not be adviseable as it
calls attention to your age. Sample resumes of both functional and chronology style.

Sample interview questions

Cover Letter:

Sample cover letter.
More on cover letters and other things.

Thank You for the interview.

Sample thank you letter.

Unemployment Benefits

If you qualify for unemployment benefits, you can obtain information by going to a "search engine" and typing in "unemployment benefits in (type state desired).

Volunteer Work


America has underutilized its greatest national resource, our seniors. They have experience, interests, and most importantly, time to get done what truly needs doing. If you would like to get involved to make a difference, begin by thinking of where your interests lie. What have you complained about for a number of years that you would like to see changed? What have you witnessed in your profession, your surroundings, your state that you feel should be changed? Remember, bad things prevail because good people do nothing about them. You now have the time and if you want something to do with your time find a way to volunteer.

Volunteering Locally

Most churches, temples, hospitals, schools, senior centers, Veteran's hospitals and organizations, and non-profit organizations survive on people who volunteer.

Still want to work with young people, but for fun? There is always a need for coaches, working with youngsters in the Special Olympics, Junior Achievement, and 4H.

Do you have a musical talent? Volunteer to play or entertain in a nursing home or senior center.

Be a receptionist at a hospital or any non-profit organization.

Local cable stations are desperate for volunteers and will train you free of charge to use their equipment.

Animal shelters need volunteers.

Providing transportation through the American Cancer Society to those who require hospital therapy

Libraries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and centers for the handicapped all need volunteers.

Civic Related Forms of Volunteerism.

Working on political campaigns can be enlightening and educational.

If you have something you would like to reform, try working to get a law passed that addresses that issue.

On a local level become part of the city or town government.

Work for Property Tax Relief. Many communities have initiated a program in which a senior can donate 100 hours or less and receive a $750 write-off on his/her property taxes. The program is usually under the Council on Aging Department. There are numerous departments in the town/city government which can make use of senior volunteers. If your town/city does not have such a program, you can work to initiate it. All that is necessary is a recommendation from the Council on Aging and setting an amount they would like appropriated in the budget. Usually the Board of Selectmen or Mayor can approve the program

Some Types of Volunteerism requires certain skills.

Hospice volunteers:
You can find a hospice in your local area .

The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.
Click on the state in which you reside if you are interested in getting informaiton on volunteering and helping battered women.
You may have a skill that could be utilized by Habitat for Humanity.
The ALS Association (for those with Lou Gehrig's disease) needs volunteers.
Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly where they are located and ways in which you can volunteer.

Volunteer Information Center--over 71 pages of opportunities to volunteer in MA with over 1200 requests! If you are visiting this site but do not live in Massachusetts, the many volunteer opportunities listed will provide you with an idea of what you would like to do. There may be organizations in your state that will meet your needs. This site is a gold mine of information and every form of volunteerism you could ever think of can be found in these pages. Use the Next button instead of the letters to go from page to page as many letters of the alphabet have a number of pages.

Maybe you would rather volunteer abroad. Here is a web site to investigate possibilities for both short and long term volunteer positions abroad.

National Organizations for Volunteerism:


RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program)

RSVP volunteers serve from a few to over forty hours a week in organizations that range from hospitals and youth recreation centers to local police stations and educational facilities. RSVP involves seniors ages 55 and older in service that matches their personal interests and makes use of their skills and lifelong experiences.

Examples of volunteer opportunities under RSVP include: Adult basic education; advocates in court for those unable to handle their affairs; providing home repair and weatherization services; and caring for developmentally disabled adults. "Project Warm Up" brings hats and mittens to low-income children in Alaska. Many homebound seniors participate by crocheting or quilting bed covers for the shelters, hospitals, and day care centers around Denver. Other projects fulfill the RSVP mandate to support the federal America Reads initiative, matching senior tutors with pre-K through third-grade children learning to read.

RSVP volunteers serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for such expenses as transportation. Insurance protection is provided to volunteers while on assignment.

Older Americans Act Programs

Each year about seven to nine million older people use Older Americans Act (OAA) services, whose delivery largely depends upon the efforts of half a million volunteers. These volunteers work through State and Territorial Units on Aging, Area Agencies on Aging, and more than 20,000 local organizations that offer opportunities and services to active older persons as well as those elderly who need help.

Volunteer activities include:
Assisting at group meals sites, and delivering meals to the home-bound elderly. Escorting frail older persons to health care services, on shopping errands and to other needed services.
Visiting homebound older persons and providing telephone reassurance to help ensure their well-being through regular social contacts.
Repairing and weatherizing the homes of low-income and frail older persons to ensure their safety and improve their mobility.
Counseling older persons in a variety of areas including health promotion, nutrition, legal and financial concerns.
Serving as a nursing home ombudsman to resolve resident facility disputes and to help ensure the safety and well-being of residents.
Providing homemaking assistance to frail older persons.
Assisting in senior center, day care, and other group programs for seniors.

Anyone interested in volunteering in Older Americans Act Programs should contact their Area Agency on Aging, which is listed in the yellow pages/and or under county government listings, or call the Eldercare Locator 1-800-677-1116.

Be the Voice for a Child

 This volunteer program was begun by Massachusetts Retirees United in conjunction with the Honorable Jay Blitzman of the Middlesex County Juvenile System in Lowell, MA. You can serve in any juvenile court in the country as the Voice of a Child. There is training involved and a officer of the court will work with you until you are comfortable to do it on your own. Up until 2008 in MA these were paid positions known as Guardian ad Litems. They have been volunteer positions countrywide. You may contact His Honor directly jay.blitzman@jud.state.ma.us with any questions you may have. Or you may contact Attorney Jomarie O'Mahony at jomarie0525@yahoo.com or call her at 781-799-4077, to learn more and to ask to attend an informational meeting.


Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts (LVM) is about bringing people together to make a real difference. LVM trains volunteers who provide free, confidential and individualized tutoring to adults in basic literacy and English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). With improved literacy skills and the confidence that comes with them, adults are able to pursue a better life and a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.
Tutoring is a wonderful opportunity to make a real and lasting difference in someone’s life and to change your own life in unexpected ways.
Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts tutors are dedicated, patient, flexible and encouraging people who create a positive learning environment where adults can thrive and learn without embarrassment.
Jean M. is a retired English teacher who has volunteered at the LVM affiliate in Methuen. She says, “I have been associated with the Literacy Volunteers of Methuen at the Nevins Library for a number of years. And, each time that I am assigned a new student, I know that the experience will be different from the one before and that the excitement of the learning process, both on the part of the student and the tutor, will be stimulating and highly worthwhile…Tutoring adults provides me a chance to give back to my community and to help those who need to enhance their English reading, writing and speaking skills. In addition, this program helps give the students both self-confidence and security, and provides the tutors, such as myself, with a sense of much satisfaction and joy.” As a former teacher, Jean understands the rewards of teaching, and this is an opportunity to continue her commitment to learning in a new way.
Volunteers attend a 2-hour orientation and 18-hour training in either basic literacy or ESOL before being matched to work with a student for 2 hours per week for 9 to 12 months. LVM’s professional staff provides ongoing support and sponsors activities to help both the student and tutor succeed and achieve the student’s goals. Volunteers must be over age 18 and have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Tutoring opportunities are available at LVM affiliates across the state. Please consider helping by contacting one of our programs from the list below.

Communities in which located and how to volunteer

Volunteers in Parks -- Older persons with an interest in history and the great outdoors can volunteer their time with the National Park Service's Volunteers in Parks or VIP program. The National Park Service is entrusted with preserving more than 360 national parks in the United States. In 1995 more than seventy-seven thousand people volunteered in almost every park in the National Park System, in big cities, in small towns, and in remote wilderness areas.

Volunteers may work a few hours a week or month, seasonally, or fulltime. They work weekdays, weekends, during the day or at night. Additional information on the VIP program is available from local parks or the National Park Service, P.O. Box 37127, Washington, D.C. 20013-7127.

*Photo Credit for image of Savings Jar Above

* Photo Credit for image of Grandmother Above