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Reinventing Retirement: Options for Now and Later

Did you know that, for the first time in history, we are not doing better than our parents? That startling fact was the basis for Thursday’s On the Money Retirement Special, where Carmen took issue with the fact that many of us are approaching our Golden Years in worse shape – physically and financially – than previous generations.

That’s not the way it’s supposed to happen, she said.

Indeed, America is entering a new paradigm, according to Terry Lyles, a psychologist and consultant to several Fortune 500 companies. But once we accept that – accept that for years we treated our credit cards as free money and homes as assets that could never stop increasing in value – we can use this as an opportunity to spend less and save more for the future.

If you’re further from retirement, but still worried about your career amid the financial crisis, Jeff Taylor, founder of Monster.com, offered this advice: If you have a job, now is the time to lock it down. With unemployment rising and the economy tightening, the best thing you can do is to do an excellent job at work. This is not the time to slack off or mess up, he said. In business, “you’re either rowing or you’re rocking,” and it is not a good time to be rocking the boat.

For those who are approaching retirement and unsure about what to do, Taylor said that there are new options that were not available to past generations. Consider using the web to your advantage by selling on eBay to bring in some extra cash, or turning your hobbies into an e-commerce potential. Use the myriad of social networks available to sell your skills as an expert. And don’t underestimate online message boards like Craigslist where you can sell your skills, services and possessions as well.

There’s also the old standby of picking up a “hobby job” after retirement, Taylor said, such as working at a coffee shop or becoming a greeter in a chain store. You won’t have the managerial responsibilities you’re used to, and the pay will be less, but it’s an option a lot of people take that lets them continue in the workforce under less stress and one that is less time consuming.