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In Your 50s? Working Dream Job a Silver Bullet

HUNT VALLEY, Md. ( TheStreet) -- In the first of this two-part series, we discussed the amazing leverage that can be gained, even in the case of an apparently floundering retirement scenario, when moving from a higher-cost-of-living area to one that is cheaper. But I fully recognize that while many will see this as an exciting retirement adventure, some would view it as a life-ending transition due to their attachment to their current home, especially if they're near family.

You do still have another option, and much as silver bullet No. 1 was summed up in one word -- "move" -- so too is No. 2: Work.

Retirees should consider continuing to work, but this doesn't mean full time or doing work that drains you. This is a license to create a dream job.

It's not what you think. If you're one of the many retired or soon-to-be retired who've dutifully labored for a lifetime, largely motivated by the vision of the day you'd be able to dance your way out of your office, never to return, I'm not intending to obliterate that daydream. In fact, the only way this second silver bullet will work is if you're able to find -- or create -- a vocation that gives you as much or more joy than being fully retired. And this isn't just advice coming from your financial planner, but also your doctor, as Anne Tergesen discovered in her 2005 BusinessWeek cover story, Live Long and Prosper. Seriously. She quotes Dr. Jochanan Stessman, head of the geriatric and rehabilitation department of Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, as saying, "There's a strong argument for continuing to work throughout life."

This doesn't mean you have to work full time; nor does it mean you should be doing work that drains you. This is your license to create your dream job and begin to plan a phase of life we'll call pseudo-retirement: You're working enough to keep your mind and body functioning at high levels with enough income to reduce your need to tap your nest egg. Let's look at this in the context of our hypothetical retiree:

Age of couple: 62
Assets: Includes a home worth $500,000 and a nest egg of $800,000
Liabilities: Mortgage of $200,000
Income need: $100,000
Income: Social Security brings in $18,000 and the nest egg, at 4%, brings in $32,000, for a total $50,000.

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