15 part-time jobs for retirees

6 min read

If you’re retired or planning to retire soon, a part-time job is a great way to fatten your budget.

More people age 65 and older are expected to be working or looking for work over the next five or six years than any other segment of the U.S. population, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The reality is that people are living longer than ever before and, with that, comes retirement periods that are upward of 20 years,” says Carisa Miklusak, founder and CEO of tilr, a Cincinnati-based business that matches workers with companies. “Most of us didn’t plan for that, so even working a few days a month or a few hours a week can really help retirees supplement their nest eggs.”

Before you begin your job search, though, decide on the work schedule you want, how much responsibility you’re willing to accept and how much money you want to make. “Really define what you want to do. Narrow your focus and be very targeted,” says Renee Ward, founder of Seniors4Hire.org, an online career center for people 50 and older.

If you want to work part time, still enjoy retirement and be able to stash some cash in your savings account, consider these 15 possibilities.

Consultant or freelancer

Many companies hire people just for specific projects, says Dick Dawson, who owns a consulting business in the Cleveland area called The Retirement Doc.

“Explore the company. Write to the person who heads up the unit you would want to work in,” he says.

Other organizations, especially those that are downsizing, look for freelancers to fill gaps in their staff. Try online bidding sites, such as PeoplePerHour.com, to find this kind of work. A simple savings calculator will help you gauge your potential earnings.

Do what you did before retirement, just less of it

Larry Schaffel, former director of public relations for Magellan Development Group, a Chicago real estate developer, “retired” after selling his real estate PR business. Magellan Development, a former client of Schaffel’s, then offered him a part-time job as PR director. “Impossible to say no,” Schaffel says.

Many professional positions allow for a phased retirement, in which you work fewer hours each year over several years. Or, maybe you can switch to a permanent, part-time job with your former employer.

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Researcher for businesses or universities

Washington, D.C.-area career counselor Anne Headley knows a retiree who volunteered at a local university, which led to a part-time job. “Because he has lots of experience in researching, delving through records to answer questions, he came to the attention of the archivist,” she says.

Researchers are needed who can help scholars find and collect the data they need to complete their academic projects. Let departments related to your area of expertise know you’re available.

Government jobs

Age discrimination is less likely in government jobs, Dawson says. Government agencies have seasonal and part-time work.

Visit USAjobs.gov to start. You may find appropriate work in state, county and city governments also.

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Seasonal retail work

Retailers need part-time help during the holiday season. The key to making this kind of work satisfying?

“Don’t think of Walmart only,” Dawson says. “There may be other fun things to get into. For example, if you’re interested in organic food, try Whole Foods.”

Does selling trinkets in a little touristy shop with a breathtaking view of the Smoky Mountains sound appealing?

Resorts, national parks and other vacation destinations are great places to score stress-free jobs. These jobs may be seasonal and require you to travel.

Show your team spirit

Many sports teams hire seasonal or part-time workers. The duties run the gamut, from ushering spectators to their seats to working in the front office.

You won’t find a job like this advertised, though. This is the type of job you have to pursue, so start by calling up your favorite local sports team. Networking helps, too.

Customer service

Many older works excel at customer service or have other transferable skills. FlexJobs.com, for example, lists several part-time telecommuting positions that would offer seniors the flexibility to travel and enjoy retirement.

Headley says that many older workers can find “help desk” jobs that require the kind of knowledge they have amassed over a lifetime of work.

Monetize skills and hobbies

Think about what you’re good at and try to find a way to make money doing it. If you’re handy around the house, you may find work helping people unstop their sinks, put together bookshelves or hang pictures.

“People don’t necessarily want to do the same work they did prior to retiring,” Miklusak says. “… Most are drawn to positions where they can interact with others or participate in a hobby they can enjoy.”

If you’re good with a needle, you could alter clothes or fix torn hems. Maybe you love to cook. You could cater special events or sell your products seasonally.

If you speak a foreign language, you may be able to get a flexible, part-time job as a translator. Customer service centers, courts and social service agencies often need translators.

Teacher or tutor

Many organizations need class instructors. For enrichment (not-for-credit) classes, oftentimes the only credential you need is experience. Try the local college or university, arts center or parks and recreation center.

If you have the skills and patience, you can tutor local students in math or English. Connect with school principals and teachers to get started.

Or, start your own teaching program based on your skills and interests. A retired law enforcement worker, for example, might find work teaching personal safety courses or driver’s education.

Sell online, but not the way you think

You know you can sell your prized doll collection on eBay or use Craigslist to get rid of your furniture. But to build a sustainable source of income, you need to establish a web presence around an area of expertise and then sell ad space and related items.

For example, when recreational vehicle enthusiast Al Wiener retired, he built a website, everything-about-rving.com, as a hobby. When the recession hit his retirement savings hard, he focused on turning the site into a profitable business. Now, he says, the money he earns from ad sales on his website exceeds his monthly retirement income.

Pet sitter or house sitter

Tending to other people’s pets while they’re on vacation or away on business can be a great gig for retirees who love critters.

Word of mouth is a good way to get started. Let your family and friends know that you’re available to pet-sit or house-sit. Post a flier on a community bulletin board. Or explore working part time at a business that cares for animals. There are also apps that match pet owners with people with sitters.

Don’t limit your services to dog duties, as you may be needed to look after cats, birds, fish, hamsters or other household pets.

Usher, ticket taker or museum guide

Many performing arts centers and local theaters need part-timers to show audience members to their seats, collect tickets or sell beverages and snacks.

Or maybe you have a background in art history and would make a good museum guide.

The arts offer opportunities for entertaining, flexible part-time jobs for those who have the passion and the people skills.

Courier, light deliveries

Retirees can make extra money delivering groceries, medicines, gift baskets or other items.

A law office or other nearby business nearby may need someone to mail or hand-deliver documents. Or maybe you know people who don’t drive and are willing to pay someone to grocery shop, run errands or take them to appointments.

“Part-time and gig work can be a great way to earn some extra income in retirement, keep your mind sharp or even just to get out of the house and socialize with others,” says Miklusak, who says many retirees enjoy working, “but aren’t interested in signing up for the 9-to-5 grind.”

Direct sales

Companies such as Mary Kay, Avon, Pampered Chef and Amway often recruit retirees because the work can be done from home and sales representatives can make their own schedule.

With a phone, computer, internet access and minimal startup costs, you could earn a few hundred bucks a month selling products online or by hosting parties.

Select a product you like and would use and make sure the company is reputable. Before you sign on, ask whether the company buys back unsold products that are in good condition – just in case you decide this is not for you.

Temp worker

“Some of the most popular flexible jobs for retirees are banquet serving, greeting, landscaping, data entry, back-end retail or even seasonal work designing or delivering gift baskets,” Miklusak says.

One good way to find those jobs is through temporary staffing companies, known as “temp agencies,” which connect their clients with qualified temporary hires.

Temp agencies offer a variety of positions — office jobs, health care work, skilled labor positions and much more — and can be a good path to a permanent job, if that’s your goal.

Temp work also gives workers and businesses a chance to see if the arrangement is a good fit before making a commitment.