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Jobs for retirees are available in many industries to help older Americans supplement their income after they leave the workforce. Finding a part-time job that fits your skill set and your schedule has benefits for your finances and your social life. And it can offer a sense of fulfillment to people seeking purpose in retirement.
If you’re thinking about getting a job after retirement, you’re not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, retirement-age people are set to become the fastest-growing segment of the workforce in the coming decade. By 2024, an estimated 28 million people in the workforce will be aged 55 to 64, and another 13 million will be aged 65 and older.
Financial challenges such as sky-high health care costs and modest Social Security checks are motivating some retirees to seek supplemental income streams. Others may simply miss the friendly socialization working life provides. Regardless of your motive, if your retirement planning includes income from a paying job, you’ll need to set financial goals that align with your ideal retirement lifestyle.
Part-Time Jobs for Retirees
With age comes experience and wisdom. Employers like that. But in a modern economy, there are also ways to make money working from home or being your own boss.
If you’re looking to supplement your Social Security or other retirement income but don’t want the stress of a 40-hour work week, a part-time job in retirement may be the solution.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics published data in 2017 showing that upward of 42 percent of workers aged 55 and older were employed in “management, professional, and related occupations.” The data also revealed that workers in this age group were more likely than younger workers to be self-employed.
In addition to the occupations cited by the BLS article as having the highest concentration of older workers, you may consider jobs that give you flexibility and control of your schedule or allow you to pursue an interest, make new friends, stay active or continue to apply your expertise in a meaningful way.
From substituting at a local elementary school to online adjunct instruction at a community college, teaching offers many opportunities to give back to your community and earn income at the same time.
The Economic Policy Institute recently released a report on the teacher shortage in the United States and its consequences. While the statistics are daunting, the right person with the right motivation can make a positive impact on students at a time when it’s needed the most.
And because of the shortage, jobs in the education field are in high demand. Many employers look favorably on older applicants with expertise in a subject.
In addition to positions with public schools, state colleges and universities, you may find opportunities for private tutoring. Average pay for private tutors is roughly $20 an hour, and you can set your own schedule and work from the comfort of your own home.
Pay can vary greatly, but these positions often come with flexible hours, summers off and a chance to interact with younger generations.
If you enjoy hitting the road, consider driving for ride request applications such as Lyft and Uber. Food delivery services such as DoorDash and Postmates offer similar opportunities.
Working part time for these companies lets you be your own boss and maintain your retirement lifestyle. You get a chance to mingle with passengers from all walks of life without being confined to a 9-to-5 desk job.
Your location and your ride volume determines your pay, but according to a 2018 report from the Economic Policy Institute, Uber drivers average $9.21 an hour after fees, vehicle expenses and payroll taxes are deducted.
School bus drivers carry students to and from school and home and often drive them to field trip locations and extracurricular activities.
Communities across the United States are facing crippling school bus driver shortages and have dozens of openings at any given time. School districts struggle to find qualified candidates willing to work a morning and afternoon split schedule. That’s why retirees can be ideal candidates for this role. Districts almost always pay for the training and licenses required to get started. Plus, positions often come with great health care benefits, retainment bonuses and other perks. It’s a special way to serve the children in your community and earn money to supplement your other income streams.
Dog Walker or Pet Sitter
If you love animals, consider dog walking or pet sitting. This job offers lots of flexibility and a chance to work from your own home. Start small by offering pet sitting services to friends, family and people at church. Post flyers at the local pet store to attract clients.
Websites such as Rover.com can help you build a client base by marketing your specific services to registered, verified pet owners. Users report making between $1,000 and $2,000 a month, depending on how many weeks they work each month. Rover.com offers service options, such as taking care of someone’s dog in your own home or in their home. Spring break, summer and holidays are always busy times for this job.
Pet sitting and dog walking come with some physical demands, especially if you grow the venture. It might be best to get your toes wet first to see if it’s right for you.
Consulting and Freelance Work
You spent your entire career honing skills. Now put them to work on a freelance basis.
Maintaining strong relationships with co-workers and professionals in your industry can make the transition to consulting or freelancing easier after retirement. Check in with former associates and managers to see if they need an extra accountant at tax time or could use some graphic design work on a new project.
You can also drum up business by reaching out to similar companies and offering your unique skill set. Emphasize your real-world experience, provide examples of your work and ask if they can use a freelancer. Getting started with one client can open doors for other opportunities down the road.
Pay varies depending on the work and client, but freelance and consulting jobs offer incredible flexibility doing what you’re already good at.
Cruise Ship Employee
Cruises are a popular way to celebrate retirement. But what about working on one after you retire?
This unconventional job allows retirees to visit sunny vacation spots, enjoy high-class amenities and meet interesting people from around the world.
- Gift shop attendants
- Child care help
- Casino dealers
Pay can vary, but nearly all cruise line jobs come with significant perks. In most cases, your cabin is free, and you likely won’t pay for food or uniforms while at sea, either.
Cruise lines hire frequently, especially in winter and fall. Contracts typically last from six to eight months.
Can I Still Work if I Receive Social Security or a Pension?
Generally, you can work if you’re collecting pension money, but there are some limitations.
You can usually continue to work for your former employer, but only on a part-time or contract basis. This is referred to as phased retirement, and according to the 2008 Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans, it is an area of policy that needs reform.
As the law is written today, retirees are free to take a job from another employer on a full-time basis without penalty to their tax-qualified pension plans. At a time when life expectancies are increasing, the barriers to continued employment result in many employees retiring and going to work for competitors, which hurts the current employer, too.
The council, which was formed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, identified several benefits to employers who implement a phased retirement system.
According to the council’s working group,
“Employers who retain trained employees through phased retirement programs are able to reduce costs associated with training new employees. The older, more experienced workers are able to provide on-the-job training to younger new-hires, saving the employer training costs and ensuring that the knowledge base of the older workers is not lost when they retire. This allows for a smoother transition when the baby boomers fully retire. In addition, because employees entering phased retirement shift from full-time work to part-time work, employers are able to decrease salary and benefits expenses.”
Social Security also has limitations for people who want to continue to work in retirement, but only for those who retire early.
According to the Social Security Administration, if you begin collecting Social Security benefits before you reach full retirement age, you can keep working, but if you make more than $17,640 a year, the government will reduce your Social Security check.
After reaching full retirement age, however, there is no limit to the amount of money you can make without being penalized.
11 Cited Research Articles
- Feinberg, R. (2019, February 6). Facing A Shortage Of Bus Drivers, School Districts Scramble To Get Students To Class. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2019/02/06/692115936/facing-a-shortage-of-bus-drivers-school-districts-scramble-to-get-students-to-cl
- Helmreich, R. et al. (2208). Advisory Council Report on Phased Retirement. Retrieved from https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/about-ebsa/about-us/erisa-advisory-council/2008-phased-retirement-2
- Job Monkey. (n.d.). Cruise Ship Industry. Retrieved from https://www.jobmonkey.com/cruise/earning_and_saving/
- Johnson, H. (2019, October 9). How to Make Money Dog Sitting With Rover. Retrieved from https://www.thesimpledollar.com/how-to-make-money-dog-sitting-through-rover/
- Miller, M. (2015, February). Take This Job and Love It! Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/work/working-after-retirement/info-2015/work-over-retirement-happiness.html
- Mishel, L. (2018, May 15). Uber and the labor market. Retrieved from https://www.epi.org/publication/uber-and-the-labor-market-uber-drivers-compensation-wages-and-the-scale-of-uber-and-the-gig-economy/
- NPR News. (2019, October 2). Navigating The New Realities Of Work And Retirement. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2019/10/02/766330750/navigating-the-new-realities-of-work-and-retirement
- Social Security Administration. (n.d.). Getting Benefits While Working. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html
- Social Security Administration. (2019). How Work Affects Your Benefits. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10069.pdf
- Toossi, M. & Torpey, E. (2017, May). Older workers: Labor force trends and career options. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2017/article/older-workers.htm
- Yoe, J. (2019, July). Why are older people working longer? Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2019/beyond-bls/why-are-older-people-working-longer.htm