Dollars and Sense: Ease into retirement by becoming a consultant

Derrick Kinney

An increasing number of baby boomers who want to scale back from their nine-to-five job but aren’t ready to fully retire are discovering a perfect compromise: taking on the role of a consultant. Becoming a consultant is a way to apply the significant experience and knowledge you have acquired over a lifetime of work in a productive and profitable manner. It can also help you maintain meaningful connections as you transition into a full retirement.

What makes consulting an option you should consider? Ask yourself the following questions:

Do you have a desire to remain involved in meaningful work before you settle into full retirement?

Do you have expertise you would like to share with others?

Is there a need to continue to generate income from work to meet your long-term financial goals?

If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, consulting may be a good fit for you.

Just what does a consultant do?

The role of a consultant can vary widely. In the ideal scenario you will find a way to turn your skills into marketable services that can attract business from potential clients. Depending on your skillset you could either provide advice, help craft a client’s strategy, or create deliverables. Your business could center on these topics:

Marketing, advertising and public relations

Financial activities such as accounting, tax preparation or auditing

Legal services

Writing and editorial services

Human resources services

Career counseling

Establishing your consulting business

In some cases a consulting opportunity may present itself naturally. For example, many individuals consult with their former employers. If you are resigning or retiring from a long-time employer, keep your eyes out for consulting opportunities; firms tend to be hungry for experienced talent that understands their business. Or you may find a ready market for your experience with competing firms in the same industry or nonprofit organizations.

No matter how you start your consulting business, the best strategy is to make plans while you’re still in the workforce, especially if you intend to rely on income from your new business. Start making connections and identifying potential clients before you’ve made the transition.

Next, decide what skills you’ll offer and assess the state of competition in that part of the market. Doing so will help you determine your marketing strategy. How will you position your services with potential clients? What are the key messages you will use to market your capabilities? Do you need a website? Recognize that success in your new role will most likely require you to be an active self-promoter.

Finally, consider if it makes sense to create a business entity (i.e., Limited Liability Corporation, “S” Corporation, etc.). If you do formalize your services, you will need to be registered with your state. Deciding how you’re going to operate your consulting business will help you when you’re setting up bank accounts and getting insurance, if it is required. You may wish to consult with an attorney for guidance on establishing your business entity.

Derrick Kinney is a Private Wealth Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Arlington, Texas. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 20 years. To contact him call 817-419-6001. The primary office is located at 700 Highlander Blvd, Suite 335 in Arlington, Texas or visit