Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement

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A career guide that rethinks the golden years, this handbook offers 50+ income models for creating flexible, fulfilling, and profitable work during the encore stage of one’s career.

For many people, retirement is no longer a trifecta of golf, grandkids, and gardening— it’s an opportunity for new pursuits that involve both earning income and exploring personal passions. If ...

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Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement

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A career guide that rethinks the golden years, this handbook offers 50+ income models for creating flexible, fulfilling, and profitable work during the encore stage of one’s career.

For many people, retirement is no longer a trifecta of golf, grandkids, and gardening— it’s an opportunity for new pursuits that involve both earning income and exploring personal passions. If you’re planning for retirement or already at “retirement age” but want to continue working—whether to supplement your income or to stay mentally and physically active—veteran career coach Nancy Collamer shows how to identify your favorite interests and expertise and repackage them into more than fifty ways to earn income. These second acts range from the traditional (part-time employment, consulting) to newer Internet-based options (teaching online, writing a blog). With a prescriptive approach to securing second-act careers that are flexible, fulfilling, and fun, this book offers a wide variety of income-generating examples as well as exercises to clarify your lifestyle goals and help you plan for your next move. Second-Act Careers shows how to create a profitable and meaningful semi-retirement on your own terms and in your own way.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“One of the hardest parts of a career change or job hunt is figuring out what all your  options are and then intelligently evaluating them. In this invaluable guide, career coach Nancy Collamer shows that transforming your passions into profits after leaving your full-time job can be easier (and more fun) than you think! Filled with inspirational stories,pragmatic advice, and tested resources, this book is the ultimate here-is-how-you-do-it guide to earning an income on a flexible basis during your semi-retirement years.”
—Susan Joyce, publisher and editor,

“With ‘retirement’ being threatened, Second-Act Careers will become the recognized  lifeline for those seeking income, newly defined meaning, and purpose in their lives.”
—Dan Miller, author and life coach,

Second-Act Careers is an invaluable resource for anyone considering ways to earn income during retirement. Well-respected career coach Nancy Collamer provides terrific, practical information about a wide variety of full-time and part-time jobs as well as thoughtful exercises to help you figure out what you’d like to do next and where. 
Whether you’re interested in freelancing, temping, launching a business, getting into  direct sales, becoming a franchisee, or starting an encore career, this book will provide a handy roadmap to reach your second act’s destination.”
—Richard Eisenberg, editor, Work & Purpose Channel,

Library Journal
While most books on postretirement work focus on starting new businesses, Collamer's volume covers a variety of options for people wanting to capitalize on their experience, including subcontracted work, flexible employment, and self-employment.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781607743828
  • Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony
  • Publication date: 1/8/2013
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 227,668
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

NANCY COLLAMER, MS, is a career coach, author, and speaker who is an expert at helping people create lifestyle-friendly careers. In private practice since 1996, Nancy gained national prominence as the Career Transitions columnist for Oxygen Media and as the founder of the popular websites and She holds a MS in career development from the College of New Rochelle and a BA in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Her 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; More O, The Oprah Magazine; and Fortune. She has written columns about lifestyle friendly careers for a number of major websites, including,,, and Nancy enjoys sharing her expertise with live audiences, both large and small, and has spoken at venues ranging from Harvard Business School to the California Governor and First Lady’s Conference on Women.
When not at work, Nancy loves spending time at her home in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, with her husband, Joel, their two daughters, Danielle and Juliana, and her one-eyed cat, Annabelle. She is a rabid UNC Tar Heel basketball fan and a proud card-carrying member of AARP.

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Read an Excerpt

Part One
50+ Ways to Generate Income in Semi-Retirement
One of my favorite childhood memories is of a restaurant called Sweden Towers, which back in the 1960s was known as the smorgasbord restaurant on the south shore of Long Island. At the time, the concept of an all-you-can-eat restaurant was relatively new, and I can still remember my mouth watering as I walked around the buffet table surveying all the delectable choices: little Swedish meatballs swimming in gravy, butter cookies with chocolate sprinkles, and wiggly red Jell-O salads garnished with mini marshmallows. I must have asked my parents at least three times, “You mean I can take anything I want as many times as I want?” To which my parents would reply, “Yes, but don’t just fill up your plate with spaghetti. Try a few new things for a change.”

Reading the first part of this book is a bit like going to Sweden Towers; it offers a smorgasbord of possibilities designed to whet your appetite as you begin to ponder your second-act career. Some of the ideas—like consulting, working a part-time job, or teaching—will be quite familiar to you. Others—like creating your own informational products, training as a mediator, or working as an extra on a movie set—might seem a bit unusual. I’ve strived to present a well-balanced menu of options, although I must admit that deciding what to include made me feel a bit like that wide-eyed little girl in the restaurant all over again—it was difficult to limit myself! Nonetheless, the opportunities in part one all meet the following six criteria:

 1. Work-life flexibility. These are work options that can realistically be done on a flexible schedule. You can decide to work them on a part-time or full-time basis, as you prefer. Knowing that many of you hope to be able to travel or work from home during your semi-retirement, I was also careful to include opportunities that can be done on a virtual basis and steered away from brick-and-mortar businesses like restaurants, bakeries, farms, and retail shops that typically require full-time attention (and a large upfront capital investment).

2. Scalability. These ideas can work as stand-alone income streams or you can combine several options together to generate multiple income streams (also known as a “portfolio career”). For example, whereas you might be happy teaching just one class a semester as an adjunct professor, another reader might want to teach and/or write a book and/or create a webinar, and/or teach on a cruise ship. Many people start off with one income stream and then slowly add on other profit centers as their time and circumstances allow. You can mix-and-match the options to best meet your lifestyle.

 3. Range of income potential. The careers in this book offer a wide range of earning potential. For example, there are bloggers who barely earn a few hundred dollars a year and others who generate a solid five-figure monthly income; temps who earn a few hundred each month and others who get paid the equivalent of a full-time professional salary; direct sales people who are happy making just a few thousand dollars a year and superstars who generate six-figure incomes. When possible, I have included income information with the profiles (current as of the time of this writing), but it’s important to remember that, although traditional jobs have somewhat standard salary ranges, the amount you earn as a freelancer or entrepreneur is ultimately determined more by your individual effort, background, credentials, marketing abilities, and personal circumstances than by the restrictions of a specific job category.

 4. Low start-up costs. The vast majority of the entrepreneurial ideas in this book are service-oriented options that require minimal start-up capital (often as little as a few hundred dollars and generally no more than one thousand).

 5. Limited additional training requirements. Most of you will need to invest in some form of additional training (workshops, seminars, certificate programs, and the like) as part of your career transition. That said, I intentionally eliminated any options that would require you to go back to school for an advanced degree. If you want to pursue a bachelor’s or an advanced degree, I applaud you, but I assume that most of you, if given the choice, would prefer to not have to invest in yet another expensive and time-consuming college degree.

6. Age appropriate. I hesitated to include this because almost any job can be done at any age, and I know of many people who are actually in better shape at age fifty-five than they were at age twenty. Nonetheless, I deliberately chose to avoid jobs that are physically demanding and could prove taxing as you age. Conversely, I favored jobs where age, experience, and maturity are perceived as a competitive advantage.

There are more than fifty different career and business ideas for you to learn about in part one. But you are certainly not limited to these choices; just like an apple can be baked into a pie, crushed into applesauce, or chopped into a cobbler with equally delicious results, each of these career ideas can be sliced, diced, and assembled in hundreds of different ways that satisfy your unique interests, goals, and income needs. As you read through this section, please remember that while the descriptions provided are designed to give you a “taste” of each career, they do not cover all the specifics (licensing requirements, income potential, zoning restrictions, and so on) that you’ll need in order to make a truly informed decision. Every career and entrepreneurial option, no matter the focus or industry, comes with its own set of risks, regulations, and rewards; it is up to you to research and fully consider every aspect. I have included information about income potential and licensing requirements when possible, but the specifics change over time, and I encourage you to use the resources provided alongside these descriptions and profiles to help you continue to explore and learn more on your own.

And now, with that understanding in mind, I invite you to pull up a chair, take your seat at the table, and get ready to work up an appetite. It’s time to sample the smorgasbord of semi-retirement careers. Bon appétit!

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Table of Contents

CHAPTER One: Build Income from Your Expertise   
CHAPTER Two: Create an Information Empire          
CHAPTER Three: Start a Small Service Business       
CHAPTER Four: Pursue a Business-in-a-Box Opportunity
CHAPTER Five: Trade Your Time for a Paycheck      
CHAPTER Six: Make a Living While Making a Difference        
CHAPTER Seven: Get Paid to Travel             
CHAPTER eight: Ten Reinvention Lessons Learned
CHAPTER Nine: Envision the Life You Want              
CHAPTER Ten: Look to the Past for Clues to Your Future        
CHAPTER Eleven: Ask, Analyze, and Assess             
CHAPTER Twelve: Research the World of Possibilities            
CHAPTER Thirteen: Try It Out!   
Conclusion: Some Final Tips on Creating

Your Second-Act Career   


About the Author           

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2014

    Great read with lots of excellent ideas

    Great book with many great ideas in many different areas. Nancy Collamer provides concrete examples to illustrate the suggestions she makes. Easy to read and understand. This is a good brain tickler.

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