Many pre-retirees consider a second career to help them stay active and pursue a passion. In fact, an Edward Jones/Age Wave survey (PDF) indicates almost 10 percent of non-retired Americans say they'll never stop working to keep their sense of purpose alive.

So how do you determine what your second career will look like? Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself:

  • How do you spend your free time? If you have a hobby or a passion that gives you pleasure, think about how you can turn it into a second career. And some experts say, don't rule anything out.
    • Enjoy playing bridge? Teach it to others.
    • If you appreciate woodworking, painting or crafts, sell your projects.
    • If the outdoors is your passion, explore becoming a guide at local parks and wildlife areas.
    • Contact community colleges to become a guest lecturer.
  • Are you still passionate about your current career? If so, consider consulting opportunities within your field.

Once you answer these questions, do these three things to help you be successful in your chosen second career:

  1. Volunteer or freelance first.
  2. Test your second career option prior to retirement to help decide if you've made a marketable choice.
  3. You'll need to keep in mind how much money you can earn in your second career. If you collect benefits before your full retirement age and continue to earn income, the Social Security Administration will temporarily withhold one dollar in benefits for every two dollars you earn over $18,960. Consult your tax preparer for more information.

You really can have the best of both worlds in retirement with a second career. The trick is to find your passion and do it for the reasons that are important to you: social interaction, fulfillment, to make money or all three. It's up to you to write this next chapter.