My husband and I were having a discussion the other day. It was about retirement and the fact that someone we knew hadn’t been able to retire because of a financial challenge that had taken place. We felt that was a shame and it probably came because of some bad financial advice. We discussed others we knew had had similar challenges in the past.
In recent years the government here in Australia have made it clear they want people to work till they are 70 years of age but in some industries, particularly very physical ones, that just wouldn’t be possible. And, as my husband reminded me, many people lose their jobs in other industries in their 50s, due to redundancies, businesses folding, or something else and who wants to employ a 50+ year old these days? Very few companies. (I do have a client that runs a website for over 45s but that’s not the point of this post.) Clearly they feel they can’t accommodate the growing numbers of upcoming retirees and are trying to extend that time (baby boomers). People who have been paying taxes for 45 years or more will now be paying for another 5 years – will the government then be able to support them on a pension if it’s needed?
I said to my husband how I am grateful that what I do doesn’t have an age agenda. As long as the person who chooses to be a VA has good skills (minimum 3-5 years of working experience), they can start in their 20s or 30s and even in their 40s, 50s and 60s to continue on for as long as they wish. Being a VA isn’t about being young and fashionable, or fitting in with the current staff culture or environment or being the right age. VAs tend to work on their own, in their own offices, usually at home, providing much needed skilled support for the clients they service. They don’t have to be reporting to an office environment in the corporate world or elsewhere, they don’t need uniforms or business suits. They do need good computer skills, a great knowledge and understanding of the software programs they choose to use, with no restriction on learning others. They do need to have good personal skills to interact with a range of clients who are in many industries and many age groups. If you are in the older age group, not yet ready to retire, but have been ‘pushed’ out for one reason or another, perhaps becoming a Virtual Assistant is exactly what you need. Have a read of my article How to Become a VA and if it suits you, elect to join our team of VAs. You would be most welcome!
Kathie is the owner of VA Directory and is former past President of the Australian VA Association. She founded the Virtual Assistant industry in Australia in the mid 90s, having already been operating a home-based secretarial service. Today the VA industry covers a multitude of office-based services for clients worldwide.