Episode 1 Why Remote Work Is The New Retirement Plan

blog Jul 18, 2023

In Episode 1, I'm going to talk about why I think remote work is the New Retirement Plan, what that means and what you can do to prepare yourself for this opportunity.

Welcome to the Remote Work Retirement Show. I'm your host Camil Atel, and this is the only show dedicated to remote work for semi-retire. People leaving the workforce and people working in retirement to help them have the peace of mind that they can live how they want without running out of money.

Remember when people thought that the mobile phone was a passing fad. If you were around in the eighties or you saw some crazy eighties movies, you might have seen those people who carried around a giant brick of a phone, and we thought that was ridiculous and that it would never catch on. My dad actually had one of those car phones that he would use and it just didn't make a lot of sense at the time.

Now, of course, we know that's changed radically. I. Also other things that people thought were a fad were things like the personal computer. Why would everyone need a computer in their own home? Or even the internet for that matter, looked like something that was maybe gonna come and go. And so much like these.

Fads or what we thought were fads, were back in the day, became mainstream. This is what's happened to remote work today. Now, just a few years ago, people thought that remote work was a fad, or maybe it was something that only a few people could do or a few companies would allow you to do, and it wasn't going to be for everyone.

Now, we've certainly seen the acceleration of that. Through the pandemic, but there were already people researching remote work, including me, and looking at what they thought the trends were going to be. And the trend that people were predicting is that it would be something that would grow over time and maybe one day become mainstream, probably 10 years from now or so.

So what we know now is that not only is remote work becoming mainstream, but in my opinion, I believe that remote work is not just an opportunity, it's really no longer. Optional. And what I mean by that is that everyone needs to know how to do it because you never know when your job may be impacted. And you might be listening to this and saying, yeah, my job was impacted in 2020, or I was impacted.

Much sooner than I thought I would be. And we're gonna dig into all of this today, but I really wanted to start off by talking about how remote work is something that you should be thinking about. Not as a fringy thing. Like, Ooh, that sounds nice. I might wanna do that one day, but it really needs to be something that you're prepared to do at any given time.

Okay, so let me lay out what we're gonna do in this episode because I really want, in this very first episode, by the way, hooray, can I get a, a cheers for actually getting this darn podcast out into the public? I have been thinking about this for two years, and if you're someone who deals with procrastination or perfectionism gets in your way, Ooh, do I feel ya?

That is where I was with this show, so if you can relate to that, uh, I'm gonna be addressing that in a future episode and talking about what it took to actually get over those hurdles. But anyway, back to the show. Today what I'm going to do is talk about a few different trends. I'm going to talk about trends related to retirement, as well as trends related to remote work.

Now. Before I do that, I wanna tell you a quick story. This is something that happened very recently and it's about a woman named Lori. Now, Lori is not her real name, but she's a real person. But what I wanna say about Lori is she could represent so many people. People that I work with inside of remote work school, which is my coaching program.

I'll talk more about that later. But beyond that, people who are dealing with a lot of the same things that Lori shared with me. So, let me back up a little bit. A few weeks ago I found myself with an accidental side gig. And a side gig is something that you do, you know, here and there to fill in the hours that you need or the income that you need if maybe you're not working full-time, or maybe you are working full-time and you need to bring in some more money.

So I like to pick up side gigs I always have, and even though I run my own business today, I was on my phone. Looking for some side gigs because I was teaching people inside of my program how I actually find jobs just using my phone, and that led to me finding an accidental job. Being a tour guide in the community that I'm currently in.

And so I, I went on this tour and this, this tour that I was on, it was a beer tour. It was kind of fun. We went to these local breweries and tasted beers and the fact that I even got paid for this job was like, oh my gosh, pinch me. Right. Well, on this tour I met Lori. Lori is a representative of the larger tour company that partners with these smaller tour companies, which I am now a contractor for.

On that tour, Lori was sharing with me that the pandemic really hit her hard because she works in the tourism industry and most of her work dried up. It was really difficult for her because she's 65 years old and um, she had to take something like an early retirement for a while. She had to dip into her social security.

She had to cut back on her spending. She wasn't able to do all the things that she would normally do if she had the income that she wanted. And this winter she is planning to pick up some hours working at Target as a side job to bring in some more money. And, and of course she was very discouraged about all of this, and I completely get it.

And that's when I turned to Lori and I said, Lori, why don't you just pick up a few remote jobs? Why don't you try doing a customer service job online? If you're gonna work at Target, you might as well do that remotely. And I listed a few other things she could do and she stared at me blankly, and she said, I, I wouldn't even know where to start.

And that really broke my heart because as someone who has been helping literally hundreds of people over the last four years get remote work, I know that the opportunities are there. I know that it wouldn't take much for Lori to find some remote work that would fill in the gaps for her. Now, I'm not saying she shouldn't work at Target.

Or that that wouldn't be a good fit for her. But I like for people to have options and it breaks my heart when someone like Lori feels like her only options are to go work at Target. And so it's another reason why I wanted to record this particular episode today because I work with a lot of Lori's and to be face to face with someone like that, struggling with that situation and not knowing what her options were, this is why I do this work.

Okay, so if you can relate to Lori, I want you to know you're not alone. There are a lot of people out there going through this, and this episode is for you. Now before we dive into the trends, I want to talk at a high level about the benefits of remote work. By now, you're probably sick of hearing about this stuff, right?

I mean, maybe you've been working remotely, uh, maybe you've experienced the benefits, maybe you've even experienced the drawbacks, which I'll talk about in a later episode. Um, maybe you've read about the benefits or heard about it for me, because I studied this stuff. None of this is new, but I don't wanna make any assumptions.

So let me recap some of the top benefits. First of all, you can work wherever. Now for some people that's working from home. For me, that was working from an RV since 2016. My husband and I walked away from long corporate careers, which I can talk about at another time. In 2016, got an rv, traveled full-time and literally reinvented ourselves professionally with remote work.

In fact, I did 12 different. Types of remote jobs, uh, before I kind of figured out my groove. So you can really work wherever. I've also worked from Thailand and Vietnam. I mean, I've worked from some amazing places, so by now, you know, you can pretty much work from anywhere you want. I've also worked in some not so amazing places, by the way.

I've worked behind a. Department store before I've worked in front of a grocery store. I've worked from many coffee shops and even a bar once. So anyway, you can work anywhere. Now, some other things though that people don't think, maybe don't think about are things like there's better self care with remote work, depending on the way you do remote work, you can work the hours you want, potentially the schedule you want, potentially, heck, you could take a nap at two o'clock in the afternoon.

Sometimes I do that. Um, and there are data that talk about that people who work remotely actually have less stress for a variety of reasons, right? Working in an office can be stressful. Working on site, just the commute can be stressful. Uh, which brings me to another benefit. There's less of a commute, and so that can save money in gas, especially right now with gas prices being so high, but it's also really good for the environment.

The average remote worker reduces their carbon footprint by approximately 1800 pounds by working remotely. So there are some really good things about remote work in terms of the environment. Also, it costs less for employers when they have employees working remotely. It costs less in office equipment.

It costs less in uh, having building space. So it's good for both the employee and the employer. And actually there are studies that show productivity goes up. Not down, which is what employers feared before they were forced to actually have everyone work remotely. Now, remote work can be really good for people with all kinds of different situations, which of course, today I'll be talking about people heading into retirement.

Or who are, some are retired, et cetera, but it can be good for people with disabilities. It can be great for people who are working through some mental health issues. And so all around we see that remote work can bring enormous benefits to all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. Now, I just listed a few benefits.

There are even more than that, but that's not really why we're here today. We're here today because I want, again, to make the case about how I believe remote work is the new retirement plan. So let's dig into some of the trends that I have been studying and that really have caused me some alarm. Now, I'm not here to alarm you.

I'm going to definitely leave you with all the positives and all the good news. I'm someone who really deals in reality, like I'm someone who looks at things and says, Hmm. What are the impacts of this trend? And so I wanna share that with you today because you might relate to some of these things, or you might even be experiencing some of these things.

And this is why I think it's important to take an assessment of where you are and then consider if remote work is the right step for you. So let me talk at a high level about the four trends related to people who are approaching retirement or in semi-retirement. Number one is ageism. The second trend would be a shortfall of retirement savings or um, retirement income.

The third trend is people living longer, and fourth would be the pandemic, of course, which you're already probably familiar with. So let's talk about ageism. What is it? Well, ageism is when people hit a certain age. Some companies, not all start to figure out how to potentially manage them out of the company.

Now, I should probably back up and tell you that I've worked in hr, I come from. Many corporate environments where I worked in various parts of hr, so I know what ageism looks like, and it's a tough thing to prove, honestly. Uh, you know, companies don't come out and say, Hey, you've reached a certain age, so we need to let you go.

It doesn't work like that. There are other ways that ageism can take place. Now, I'm not saying in every situation that it's. Always ageism or that's what's happening. But I do want to illustrate that there are ways that ageism can happen that, um, a company can kind of get around it looking like ageism.

So, for example, I've worked at a few companies where layoffs have happened. And sometimes those layoffs will happen at the upper levels of management. Well, who usually works at the upper levels of management? Lots of people who have been in that job or that company for a long time who have reached a certain age.

So sure, you could argue that that's more salary based. Maybe those people are getting paid more money, but at the end of the day, They got to that position by working as long as they did, and so it could be considered a form of ageism if there's a group of people being let go during layoffs that are kind of around the same age or approaching retirement.

So that's what ageism could look like. There are other ways that it could happen. It could be where suddenly the job gets harder and you're not able to keep up. Maybe that's by design. Maybe that isn't by design. But at the end of the day, these are some examples of how ageism can happen. So it's really no surprise that an A A R P survey showed that 78% of older workers experienced ageism in the workplace, or really specifically in 2020.

So you are probably listening to this. If you are in this age range or you've experienced something like this, then I'm probably preaching to the choir. There's nothing new about this. However, when we look at some of the other trends I'm going to talk about today, when you take ageism and you combine it with some of the other trends out there, then this is what leads me to say that remote work can be a solution to ageism.

There can be some anonymity. In, uh, remote work, meaning you don't have to go to an office every day. Maybe you don't have to work with, um, people every day, and there's potential to work your own hours. So, remote work can be something that, uh, could be considered a solution. Maybe not the full solution, but a solution to ageism.

And I'll dig more into this later when I get into some of the benefits. The good news on this podcast right now, the second trend that I wanna address today would be the lack of savings or the lack of retirement income or investment income that people have. Now, I am not an investment advisor. I'm not an expert in investing.

However, because I'm looking at the big picture of what it looks like for someone heading into retirement. This is something else I really wanted to look at. And the statistics on this are dizzying. There's a lot of statistics out there. I'm not gonna run through all of them with you, uh, but I am gonna talk about a couple of them today.

Now, think back to Lori, the person in the story I told you about at the beginning of this podcast. She had to take. Early Social Security. Now, a lot of people had to do that in 2020 especially, but here's some stats around that. 58% of the retired demographic rely on living on social security or downsizing their lifestyle if they run out of money.

This comes from C N B C. Now, the median retirement account balance in the US in 2019 was $65,000. Now that was a 2% increase from 2016 because in 2016 the median account balance was $63,800. So slightly better in 2019, but not much. And according to the federal government, you know, recent reports released on inflation, inflation is at a rate of 5.4%.

So I want you to think about that for a minute. Account balances went up about 2%. Current inflation is at 5.4%. So these savings accounts are not going to keep up with the current rate of inflation. And there are so many statistics around this that I'm actually going to dig into this a lot more in future episodes.

Uh, and, and this is personal for me by the way. I should, I should mention, There are people in my own family and friends of mine that I have seen be impacted by a shortfall of savings or retirement and have to work well into their so-called retirement years, which I don't even think that's a thing anymore.

I'm gonna talk about that at the end of the episode actually. Now this brings me to trend number three, and that's people living longer, so that's good news, right? People living longer. Hooray for that, thanks to things like modern medicine and better health. However, when you combine, again, trend number one, ageism and trend number two, a shortfall in savings and retirement investment.

Well, the fact that people are going to live longer, on average, you're going to end up with a gap in the income. And this is a concern of course, because that means you're gonna have to cut back on how you live, just like Lori had to do. And you have to probably curtail some things in your lifestyle. Heck, you might even have to sell some assets that you're not ready to sell.

And according to the Society of Actuaries, there are people who will live 20 years more. Than when they actually retired. And so they've gotta make that income stretch. So that's trend number three. Now, trend number four is the pandemic. I'm not gonna go into this in great length because you are probably really tired of hearing about it, but it's no surprise that this hit a lot of people really hard.

This is what also has led to people having to live off of social security, trying to find other funds. It's why Lori's going to go work at Target this winter to bring in some extra money. So if you just heard all those trends and feel really depressed, I'm sorry, I'm not here to depress you. I totally get it.

And like I said, this is personal. These things are happening to, again, people in my own family or my friends, or I'm concerned about it happening to people that I know. But there's a lot of really good news, and this is what I want you to pay attention to because I really wanna leave you with the hope and the inspiration about what's possible so that you can really get yourself in a position to take advantage of these things.

So I'm going to talk about three really positive trends. Trend number one, the pandemic leading to job growth. So yes, the pandemic was bad news, but you always have to look for those silver linings, right? So we saw a lot of growth, uh, in the remote job market. The next positive trend is going to be around it being an employee's market, meaning right now employees have the upper hand when it comes to getting jobs and negotiating pay.

And the third trend is going to be around the boom of what's called the hybrid job market or the freelance job market. So let's get into trend number one, and that is pandemic driven remote job growth. That is a mouthful. Now, before the pandemic hit, the remote job growth was already happening. According to the future Workforce report in 2021, the job growth had already been at about 159% of growth over the 12 years.

Before the pandemic, so it was already moving quickly, but then the pandemic hits and practically overnight, all of these jobs are created right now. I was working for a company that, um, back in 2016, I tried to negotiate going remote with them because I wanted to travel in an RV and see the country and work from my rv, and they said, Nope, we can't do that.

We don't do remote here. That's never going to work. And of course, practically overnight in 2020, they had to have their entire workforce go remote. And we saw that happen with loads and loads of companies. Of course, some people experienced layoffs. We know that too. But what's less talked about is how many companies actually created new jobs.

Remotely and new jobs are created remotely every single day. And now what we're seeing is that the prediction is that by 2025, we will actually see double the amount of job growth that we saw in 2020. So that's approximately going from 16 million people working remotely before the pandemic to something around 32 million people.

Working remotely by 2025. So loads of remote job opportunities, which should be really exciting, especially if you wanna work remotely now, if you don't wanna work remotely. We're gonna talk about that later. But at the end of the day, this is all really good news. Now let's dig into trend number two. Now, trend number two is all around it being an employee's market.

Now you've heard about it being a buyer's market in a housing market, right? Whether it's a sellers or a buyer's market. But it's been a really long time since we've heard about it being an employee's market. This is the first time in a really long time that people who are in the position of looking for a job have the upper hand.

Why? Because there's just huge labor shortages. You've probably read about it or heard about the great resignation in October of 21, 20 21 September of 2021. We're continuing to see this trend where people are just taking stock about what's important to them and how they wanna work and where they wanna work and how they wanna get paid.

So it's a really good time for employees to have the upper hand. So again, when you combine this with trend number one, more job growth creation. Remotely, but not enough people to fill those jobs. That actually is good news for you because there are more opportunities to take advantage of. Now. Trend number three is something you might be less familiar with, and that is the boom in what's called the hybrid workforce and the freelance workforce.

Now, a hybrid workforce is when companies are allowing people to work partly remote. Partly in the office. A model, to be honest, I don't know, is really gonna last that long because at the end of the day, people really want choices, right? They either wanna work from home or wherever, or work in the office or be empowered to decide when they wanna do either or, right?

However, there is a boom in the hybrid workforce along with so many more people leaving the workforce to work freelance jobs. So here in uh, January, 2021, Forbes article. 2 million workers joined the freelance economy raising the percentage of American workers engaged in freelancing full-time by 8% to a total of 36% of people working freelance.

So this is really good news for two reasons. Reason number one, freelancing is becoming more mainstream and there are more people that are establishing freelancing as a normal way of working. And number two, there are more companies actually hiring freelance workers. So if you are someone who says, you know, I wanna work remotely, but I don't know if I wanna work full-time, I don't know if I wanna be employed, well then there are just as many opportunities to work as a freelancer or work as a contractor.

And either work on your own or get hired by a company to work as a contractor, then this is really good news for you, and I think this is an especially great option for people who are semi-retired or who wanna work part-time, who wanna set their own hours and quite frankly, who I believe can use their existing skills to repackage to offer some type of freelance service.

I'll talk a lot more about that in future episodes. So those are the three really positive trends that are all happening right now. So couple of other things I wanna address before I give you some tips and then conclude the episode. There is no one right way to work remotely. So there's a lot of hype out there right now where people are talking about you should start a business.

Everyone should start a business, an online business. And while that might be a great option for some people, I don't think it's. The perfect option for everyone. So don't feel like there's only one way to do this, and maybe you're someone who says, well, I wanna start a business remotely fine. You can do that too.

What really this boils down to is there are so many options. You can work full-time remote. You can be employed by somebody. You can be employed by yourself. You could start a business. Heck, you could hire your own contractors and start a small business. There's no one size fits all. And for me, I find that really exciting.

The next thing that is really positive is that the barriers to get into remote work or even an online business are really low. You pretty much only need a computer. Maybe you might need some other technology. Like if you travel like I did, you might need some other extra little internet. Talk about that another time.

You might just need a mobile phone. Right? So the barriers to entry are low, and that's true whether you're going to work for someone else. For yourself. Because if you wanna work for yourself, there's not a lot of overhead costs, especially if you're remote. Again, you don't need buildings, you don't need office equipment.

You don't need a huge amount of capital to invest. You have to invest some time and you might need to learn some things. But we're not talking about that. I'm just talking about straight up investment of money. And then lastly, this is really big and really important. You have more skills than you think.

This is one of the number one things that people tell me. They say, Camille, I would love to take advantage of all this remote work stuff, but I don't think I have the skills, and I am telling you, you have way more skills than you think. If this is something you're worried about, you have. Loads of experience.

You have a proven ability to do lots of different things, tasks and jobs, and probably many jobs in probably many industries. And you have what are called transferable skills, and these are things that you can transport from one job to another, from one industry to another, or from one location to working remotely.

So if that excites you, I wanna give you some next steps for you to think about or, or do. If you're someone who falls into the camp or you're doubting your skills and you're thinking, I, I don't know. I just don't know if I can work remotely. A couple things. Number one, I wanna leave you with some inspiration.

I talked about people in my family a couple of times in this episode, and I'm not gonna tell you who they are because they. They're like, please don't say it was me, perhaps, but these people are in their seventies and before the pandemic, they were working on location. They had to drive somewhere or be somewhere at a certain time, and they really did not want to work remotely.

They were afraid of it. They didn't know how to do it, all that stuff, but they were forced into it. And I'm happy to say that both of them not only learned how to work remotely, but now have figured out another source of income because now they have options. It's really all about having options. Do they wanna do it a hundred percent of the time?

No, because they, they like people and they wanna be in person. But this just gives them another way to actually generate income that isn't so tied to them driving somewhere or going into an office or going on location. Remember, for me, it's all about finding ways to have choices and be empowered. So number one, I wanted you to have inspiration.

Number two, something more practical is do a skills inventory. It's a really good idea to do a skills inventory so that you can see all of the things that you're good at on paper. This will give you a more objective view of what you're good at and things that you can really capitalize on if you want to, you know, work for yourself or somebody else.

The other thing you need to think about is what does your ideal remote workday look like? Do you wanna work full-time? Do you wanna work part-time? Do you wanna set your own hours? I was talking to a guy in my program who said, Camille, I just, you know, I really would rather work from six to nine o'clock at night because I wanna go fishing in the daytime.

And quite frankly, I said, well, you've earned the right to do that, so let's figure out. What makes sense for you? What is the right type of remote work that will allow you to work from six to 9:00 PM at night? Right? So that's the second thing I wanna tell you is figure out what your day looks like, because that will give you a lot of clarity about what remote work types will actually fit your needs.

Number three is decide your financial and even your mental risk tolerance. So what I mean by that is, Do you have money that can can get you through? Like for example, do you have some savings? Do you wanna take some time to really figure out a business? Right? It might take some time if you're gonna go, go at it alone and develop your own business to work remotely, and you might need a little bit of time.

So you really do have to take stock of your financial situation. Additionally though, think about your mental and emotional health. Like is it easier for you to just go work for somebody else? Would having a pay check coming in every two weeks give you peace of mind because that might suit you better?

And if that suits you better? Then don't even bother with starting a, a remote business because that may take some time. That might cause some stress, that has some, uh, you know, unpredictability. So really think about that because again, that'll lead you to the right decision on the right remote work for you.

And then lastly, This is just a little, uh, maybe a pep talk. Stop undervaluing yourself. I, I just see people all the time that say things to me like, I've never worked remotely, so how could I do it? Or, um, I don't have the skills to work remotely, so I probably have to take a pay cut. Or maybe they say, you know, who's gonna hire me at this point?

I've had a long career. I've worked in one type of job or industry and, you know, maybe I'm 55 years old at this point. Am I even hireable? And, and, and this is what I wanna tell you. Yes. Yes. You are hireable. Why do I know this? Because I've seen it with hundreds and hundreds of people inside of remote work school.

Again, I mentioned that at the beginning of the episode. That is my coaching and online program. I've seen this literally with hundreds of people who really doubted themselves. Who didn't need to. And so, yes, it's possible. I've seen it. The statistics are there. I've seen it with different people in my family and I've seen it with members in my own program and the clients that I help.

Maybe that's not you. Maybe you have all the confidence in the world, and if you do, then hats off to you. But I can tell you about nine outta 10 people that I talk to. These are some of the concerns they share with me. In this episode, I talked about why I think remote work is the new retirement plan. Now, can I just say, what the heck does the word retirement even mean anymore?

It used to mean that you would be done working at a nice age of 55, maybe 60. You could finally do your hobbies, spend time with your grandkids, and that is just not realistic anymore. I outlined that in this episode. I've made a pretty strong case, I think, for why there are a number of reasons. That people will continue to work into what is traditionally known as retirement.

But also, I didn't mention people want to keep working. Not everyone, but people love purpose. People want to be useful. People get a lot of satisfaction out of working. Heck, my stepmom, who is. I shouldn't say this, who's in her seventies, is going back and becoming an actress, something she did in her twenties and she's now rebooting her acting career.

And by the way, she's auditioning 100% remotely. So I should mention that lots of people still wanna work, and that is another reason why I believe that remote work. Is the new retirement plan. I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as I did. In future episodes, I will dig deeper into everything I've talked about today, all things remote work, all things retirement, and more.

Until then, if you're looking for additional resources, you can sign up for my free training, how to Get Remote Work, to have the income to enjoy a flexible lifestyle without running out of money. Until then, thanks for listening. Now let's get back to work.

 If you want to learn more about how to use AI (artificial intelligence) in your remote work journey visit:

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If you have suggestions for the show, you can contact Camille via Instagram: @camille.attell

 **DISCLAIMER: This podcast is not a substitute for professional consultation. For any retirement or income-related matters, it is best to work with a professional advisor.**
 Welcome to The Remote Work Retirement Show, the only show that is dedicated to remote work for semi-retirees, people leaving the workforce, and people working in retirement to help them have the peace of mind that they can live how they want without the fear of running out of money.

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Camille Attell is the founder of Remote Work School, where she coaches and helps semi- and working retirees get remote work so they don't run out of money. In 2016 she walked away from a 20+ career in corporate training to live the life she always wanted—adventure and travel on her terms. She and her husband Bryce traveled full-time in their RV for four years while reinventing themselves professionally to work over twelve different remote jobs. Camille combines her corporate training experience, and her Master's degree in psychology, with being a long-time remote worker, to provide a well-rounded, no-nonsense approach to helping people in a career and life transition get the right remote work so they can live how they want.

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