By Nicole Sullivan via Iris.xyz

Change is a constant force in all of our lives. If you’re like most people, you may think that your 60s and 70s will be straightforward: a long slow decline into life passing. On the contrary, there are more options for pre-retirees and retirees than ever before. Here are five of the biggest misconceptions people tend to have about aging, and conversely the most surprising opportunities that spring up as a result.

1. Retirement = Leisure Time, All the Time

Retirement should equal control over your time and destiny. It means that you have financial freedom and do not have to work for money. But it doesn’t mean sitting idly by, doing nothing. It doesn’t mean that you won’t be working. It doesn’t mean that every day will be a vacation.

New retirees are often the “go-to” for family support. Obviously, many retirees help with grandchildren (if they have them). The average cost of daycare in the United States is over $900 per month per child according to Babycenter.com[1]. This is a blessing for millennial parents, many of whom are struggling to pay off their ever-mounting load of college debt.

But watching grandchildren is not a new obligation. What might be is caring for elderly parents. That’s right – more 60 year olds than ever find themselves caring for both grandchildren under 10 and elderly parents in their 80s and 90s. More than one third of people aged 60-74 have a parent who is still alive, which is a radical change from past generations, when most people in their 50s did not have a surviving parent.[2]

Retirement does mean more freedom but in no way does that translate into less opportunity for work. Embrace it and enjoy!

2. I don’t have anything useful to contribute to the working world

Maybe you’ve burned out of your current job – but that doesn’t mean that you have nothing left to contribute.

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