There are many reasons people stay in the workforce after they “retire.” Most people do it for the money, according to a December 2019 study by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Maybe they haven’t saved enough for retirement, they need the group insurance benefits or they feel uncertain about what the future holds for Social Security.
Other people continue working after retirement simply because they enjoy it, it keeps them active, gives them a sense of purpose and helps them stay socially connected. Whatever the reason, 55 percent of workers plan to work in retirement, the Transamerica Center survey shows.
The coronavirus pandemic is bleeding some businesses, such as shopping malls and retail stores, where retirees could find part-time work. It’s also forcing more 55-and-over workers to retire, says Dick Dawson, a career and retirement specialist at Career Curve in Cleveland, Ohio. “We’re seeing people jump into retirement sooner than they had planned. They’re getting laid off because of COVID-19,” he says.
But the pandemic is also opening up more opportunities for retirees to work part time from home, says Renee Ward, founder of Seniors4Hire.org, a career center for people 50 and older. “I get a request every day for legitimate work-at-home positions. Older workers are prime for these kinds of positions,” Ward says, who notes that retirees are more tech-savvy than they get credit for.
“It’s a myth that the senior crowd is not or cannot be taught to be technologically savvy. This group is on Facebook, FaceTime, email, Zoom, dating sites, and just about every platform out there.”
Before you begin your job search, 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,” Ward says. “Narrow your focus and be very targeted.”
If you want to work part time, still enjoy retirement and be able to stash some cash in your savings account, here are 15 part-time jobs for retirees. Many offer remote or work-from-home opportunities.
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.
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.
If you have the skills and experience, you can tutor students in math or English. Connect with your local school district to get started.
Consultant or freelancer
Many companies hire people with specific skills just for certain projects. Other organizations, especially those that are downsizing, look for freelancers to fill gaps in their staff.
Online bidding sites, such as PeoplePerHour.com, can help retirees find this kind of work.
A simple savings calculator will help you gauge your potential earnings.
Many older workers can find “help desk” jobs that require the kind of knowledge they have amassed over a lifetime of work. FlexJobs.com, for example, lists numerous companies that hire remote customer service representatives. Amazon, DocuSign, Humana and State Farm are just a few.
Do what you did before retirement, just less of it
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. Someone who had a career in public relations, for example, might find a part-time job with a former client.
Researcher for universities, businesses
Information gathering is a skill that is useful in many fields such as medicine, science, politics and technology. For example, there are researchers who help scholars find and collect the data they need to complete academic projects.
Maybe you’ve worked as an investigative reporter, done research at a university or collected data for a political organization. You can use your ability to delve for information in a variety of industries.
Federal government agencies have seasonal and part-time work. Visit USAjobs.gov to start. Being a military veteran is a big plus when it comes to landing a federal job.
Governments offer a wide array of part-time opportunities, from clerical to grounds maintenance. You may find appropriate work in state, county and city governments.
Take advantage of the best mortgage rates to make your home purchase as affordable as possible.
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,” says Carisa Miklusak, CEO and founder of tilr, a fully automated job recruiting company. “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.
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, the website Everything About RVing was started by a retiree and recreational vehicle enthusiast who built the site as a hobby. When the recession hit his retirement savings hard, he focused on turning the site into a profitable business. And it worked.
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 flyer 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.
If you speak a foreign language, you may be able to get a flexible, part-time job as a translator or interpreter. Customer service centers, courts and social service agencies often need people with these skills.
Translators work with the written word, whereas an interpreter translates what is being spoken. Being bilingual will give you an edge for many jobs.
Usher, ticket taker or museum guide
Many performing arts centers and local theaters use part-time workers 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 shopping for and delivering groceries, medicines, gift baskets and other items. The coronavirus pandemic put companies such as Instacart, DoorDash and Shipt in hiring mode.
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 tilr’s Miklusak, who says many retirees enjoy working, “but aren’t interested in signing up for the 9-to-5 grind.”
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.
“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.
Medical billing/coding specialist
This is a job perfectly suited to working from home on a computer. Certified medical billing specialists need a high school diploma and a postsecondary certificate, in addition to computer, clerical and customer service skills.
These workers code patient diagnoses and request payment from insurance companies or other sources. They may also organize patient records and bills and set up payment plans for patients.
Featured image by Tyler Olson of Shutterstock.