You've worked hard all your life and are finally gearing up to bring your career to a close. But before you do, there are a few key moves you'll need to make to set yourself up for the future.
Why the need to focus on your career when it's winding down and retirement is right around the corner? It's simple: There's a good chance you'll end up working in some capacity once you leave your full-time role, whether it's out of financial necessity or boredom. And the better you prepare for that scenario, the easier it'll be to transition into it when you want or need to. So rather than neglect your career in its final stage, do the following things instead.
1. Network aggressively
Many seniors wind up spending more than expected in retirement. If you retire and come to find that your bills are eating up a frightening chunk of your nest egg, a good way to stop the bleeding is to generate a little extra income as you go.
And that's where having a large business network can help. The more people you know, the more opportunities for work you're apt to unearth later in life, whether it's associates in your former industry or colleagues who have moved on to a related field. Therefore, spend your last full-time year in the workforce attending conferences, meeting like-minded professionals for business lunches, and getting in touch with the folks you haven't spoken to in years. This way, you won't need to be shy about reaching out to those same people during retirement and letting them know you're looking for work.
2. Renew your certifications
Some industries require workers to become certified in specific areas or skills. For others, a certification isn't mandatory, but it can help establish job security. No matter your reason for getting a certification, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is letting yours lapse right before you retire. Sometimes, all it takes is a few hours of continuing education (which, these days, you can frequently do online) to keep the doors open to different job opportunities, and since you never know when you might want or need to return to work after retiring, it pays to make a modest effort to retain the credentials you're already carrying.
3. Soak up some knowledge from your younger colleagues
Just because you've been in the business for multiple decades doesn't mean you can't learn a thing or two from your younger counterparts. Quite the contrary -- if you observe your younger colleagues, you may come to find that they possess certain skills or are up on certain technologies that you're virtually clueless about. Getting that last-minute education, however, could give you an edge if you wind up looking to consult in your former field after you retire, so take advantage of having access to those younger employees while you still can.
Though we're wired to think of retirement as a period during which we don't work, the reality is that you may end up wanting a job during your golden years. Make a small but meaningful effort during your last full-time year on the job, and you'll hopefully have the option to get one later in life.