If you’re nearing retirement but can’t see yourself completely leaving the workforce — whether due to financial necessity or to keep boredom at bay — you’re not alone. Roughly 54% of older workers (those age 60 and older) say they plan to work after retirement, according to a CareerBuilder retirement survey.
Career expert Nancy Collamer says work after retirement can be a good time to reinvent your career. “Whether out of necessity, desire, or a combination of the two, it is clear that millions of boomers will soon be looking for ways to reinvent their careers without a traditional 9-to-5 job,” Collamer says in Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement. “We will work during a phase known as semi-retirement — the stage that occurs after the big full-time job ends and before full retirement sets in.”
There are many opportunities for you to make the most of your retirement while earning an income and making a difference in people’s lives. This time around, you can choose work you enjoy and work on your own terms. Here are 10 of the best jobs for retirees.
1. National park worker
Why not see some of the most beautiful parks in the world while making a few quick bucks? If you’re looking for a slower pace and serene environment, consider taking a job at one of America’s breathtaking national parks. There are several jobs to choose from, including management, grounds maintenance, food services, and retail. The median salary for a national park service employee is $53,000 annually, according to career site PayScale.
Next: Share your smarts in this next job.
2. Adjunct professor
Put your years of experience to use by teaching an introductory class in your field. Don’t let your level of education hold you back. If you didn’t earn a Ph.D. have no worries. Depending on the area of study, a Ph.D. isn’t always necessary to teach on the college level. Many adjunct professors hold a master’s degree. The median annual salary for an adjunct professor is roughly $30,000. However, PayScale notes the salaries in big cities pay bigger bucks. Los Angeles adjunct professors, for example, can earn an average of $90,000 a year.
Next: Would you rather work on short-term projects?
If you’d rather work on short-term projects instead of staying with one company, consulting might be just right for you. The first place you can go to seek project-based work is your current employer. If you haven’t left the workforce yet, or if you left a while ago but still have contacts at the company, ask whether your employer would like to hire you on a freelance basis. This might be the best option because the managers are familiar with you and already know the quality of your work. There are many types of consultants, and the pay will depend on your industry and location. However, the average consultant salary is roughly $81,578 a year, according to career site Glassdoor.
Next: Want to feel young again?
4. Child care worker
If you enjoy being around children, you might want to look into working in the child care field. You could start by offering to take care of your neighbor’s children. You might even consider working at a day care center or starting your own home-based family day care center. The average salary for a child care worker is $9.53 an hour.
Next: Have something to say?
5. Freelance writer
Working as a freelance writer can give you the freedom to work from home while earning an income. Freelance writers can set their own hours and don’t have to worry about the stress of commuting to the office every day. You can find freelance jobs through word-of-mouth referrals as well as job boards dedicated to freelancing. The average salary for a freelance writer is about $24.70 per hour.
Next: Knock that cross-country road trip off your bucket list.
6. Cross-country driver
Feel like hitting the road after retiring from a mundane 9-to-5 life? What about finally taking that cross-country road trip? Some retirees are turning that yen to travel into a paying job. People will pay for someone to drive their cars or moving trucks across the country, and retirees with time on their hands are jumping at the chance. CNBC reports one retiree charges $10 per hour of driving time plus an additional $60 for transit to and from the airport. Some drivers work for companies while others are self-employed, advertising their services on Craigslist, travel forums, and social media.
Next: Are you a lover of languages?
Are you fluent in another language? Don’t let that go to waste in your retirement years. Many organizations — including courts, social services, and customer service centers — need the help of a good translator, according to AARP. It’s a win-win. You’ll keep your mind sharp while using your skills to help others. AARP suggests checking out the American Translators Association or online job boards to find work near you.
Next: Feeling crafty?
8. Craft worker
Are you an arts-and-crafts person? Now that you finally have time to dedicate to your hobby you can turn it into a paying gig. AARP says first you must focus your work, determining both what you like to create and how skilled you actually are. Then, if you want to turn it into something lucrative you have to dedicate time to it. Try selling at local craft fairs, as well as on websites, such as Etsy. Finally, follow your finances to make sure you’re not spending more on supplies than what you’re taking in.
Next: Need some extra cash for the holidays?
9. Seasonal retail worker
For the retiree who is only interested in occasional work, finding a seasonal retail job could be the perfect fit. “The key to making this kind of work satisfying? Don’t think of Walmart only,” Dick Dawson, vice president of CareerCurve, tells Bankrate. “There may be other fun things to get into. For example, if you’re interested in organic food, try Whole Foods.” And it’s a great way to bring in some extra spending money around the holidays.
Next: Make some money while giving back to your community.
10. Nonprofit employee
Retirees are the perfect fit for many nonprofit organizations. They bring with them decades of work experience at an affordable rate. Often nonprofits can’t afford to hire full-time employees, so snagging an educated, experienced retiree who only wants to work part time is a bargain. The hours can be flexible, and sometimes the work can be done from home, making it a prime job for retirees who want to give back to their communities while relaxing in their golden years.
Additional reporting by Mary Daly.
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