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Business Observer Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 9 months ago

How to unretire

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Sometimes, you're not ready for a life of leisure every single day.
by: Beth Luberecki Contributing Writer

Susan Robinson spent 22 years in corporate America working in international marketing and customer service. When the last company she worked for was bought out, she was given an early retirement package. So she and her husband headed to their vacation home on Lido Key.

That's when she realized she wasn't ready to spend her days playing golf and reading books. “I was way too young to officially retire,” says Robinson, in her early 50s at the time.

The couple, instead, founded Key Concierge, a home-watch business. “I sure do wish I knew that it would be so much fun owning my own business; I would have done it a lot sooner,” says Robinson. “But the reality is that the 20-something years I spent in corporate America have been very helpful in building my own business.”

Robinson is part of a large group — people who retire, then realize they weren't quite ready. But what does it take to “unretire” and get back to work? There are several options.

Retirees who want to work for someone else, for example, “have to leave your ego at the door,” says Andrea Nierenberg, president of Nierenberg Consulting Group in Sarasota. “You might have been in a very big position wherever you were before, but that's in the past now.”

Be upfront about all those years of experience you have. “Some people try to disguise the fact they are a certain age,” says Nierenberg. “I say embrace that. Say I've retired from X amount of years at so-and-so, and here's what I feel I can add to your organization.”

If you want to start your own business like Robinson, do your research to determine if there's a need. Robinson and her husband required a home-watch service themselves when they weren't in town, so they knew it was a good idea. (They also later started Key Culinary Tours when they realized there weren't many sightseeing tour options in Sarasota.)

Remember to factor in the other things you want to do at this stage of life, whether it's traveling or spending time with grandchildren. Be realistic about the amount of work any new endeavor requires to be successful. “You have to put some money into a business to build it, and we worked very hard at it,” says Robinson. “But every single day I jump out of bed and can't wait to get to work.”

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