If having a job is part of your retirement plan, you’re not alone. More than one-third of workers between the ages of 50 and 64 say they plan to continue working after their official retirement date, according to a 2015 survey by AARP. Meanwhile, the number of people age 65-plus who are still working has climbed steadily, from about 5 million in 2006 to 9 million in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, 40% of people over age 55 are working in some capacity, a Merrill Lynch study on work in retirement found. That’s the highest level since the 1960s.
Some older Americans are refusing to leave their desks because they truly love their work. But many seek out retirement jobs because they need the extra cash. Paltry savings, pension cuts, and high health care costs can all conspire to keep people in the workforce longer than they may have initially planned. Nearly 80% of workers who planned to put off retirement planned to do so for financial reasons, a 2014 Career Builder survey found. But money isn’t the only motivator for the post-retirement job searcher. Retirees may also keep working because they want to keep busy, learn new skills, maintain social and business connections, start a new business, pursue a particular passion, or give back in some way.
“For many, work is an enriching experience that may not end at the age of 65 or even 70. Whether it’s continuing to do what they love, pursuing a long-desired interest or simply seeking to remain socially engaged, there’s a revolution brewing,” Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Age Wave, said in a statement. “People have come to realize that retirement doesn’t necessarily represent the end of an active life, but rather the beginning of new and exciting chapters.”
If you’re ready to get out of the rat race but not quite prepared to give up working entirely, there are many options available. These six part-time retirement jobs give retirees the flexibility they want while also keeping their finances healthy.
1. Consultant or freelancer
Half of retirees surveyed by Merrill Lynch say they’ll continue to work in some capacity in their current career after they retire. Rather than trying to land another full- or part-time job, many will work for themselves. One-fifth of people surveyed by AARP said they planned to work as a freelancer or contractor in retirement.
Shifting from a traditional career to a more flexible consultant role can ease the tough transition into retirement, especially for those who fear boredom once they stop working. Freelancing or consulting means you can continue to do what you love, keep your professional skills fresh, stay in touch with colleagues, and make some money, all without having to put up with a strict 9-5 grind. As an independent worker, you can set your own hours, choose your wage, and pick and choose clients with whom you work. How much you’ll earn as a consultant will depend on your industry, the amount of effort you put into marketing your services, and the demand for your skills.
2. Tutor or teacher
Sharing your knowledge with a younger generation can be a rewarding way to earn extra cash. The average hourly rate for tutors is $17.29, according to Payscale, with higher pay going to those with expertise in tough subjects like physics. Rates can be far higher for those with teaching experience. Private tutors may charge up to $75 an hour, according to Care.com.
A flexible part-time gig as a substitute teacher is another appealing option for many retirees, though the pay varies widely by state, according to the National Education Association. In Alaska, substitutes with a teaching certificate can earn up to $125 per day (about $17.85/hour based on a seven-hour school day), while in Minnesota, pay ranges from $70 to $130 per day. In Oklahoma, the typical district pays only $40 to $55 per day.
Every state or school district has its own rules about who can serve as a substitute. In some, like Delaware, Florida, and Vermont, a high school diploma is sufficient, while in Colorado and Minnesota substitutes generally need to have a teaching license or credential. Generally, substitutes without teacher certification are paid less than those with a credential.
3. Tour guide
If you’re comfortable speaking in front of large groups of people and have a head for dates and trivia, a job as a tour guide could be just the thing. The average tour guide earns $12.94 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). You’ll probably take home slightly more if you work for a private tour company or travel service, and a bit less if you work for a museum or local government historic site. Some tour guides may also earn tips.
Not surprisingly, tour guide jobs are more plentiful in areas with lots of out-of-town visitors, museums, and historic sites, including New York City, Honolulu, Boston, and San Francisco. There’s also a high concentration of tour guide jobs in smaller cities like Savannah, Georgia; Flagstaff, Arizona; and Asheville, North Carolina. Tour guides in the Bay Area, Anchorage, New York, Chicago, and Seattle all earn more than $15 an hour, on average, per the BLS.
If you’ve raised kids of your own (or even played the role of doting aunt or uncle), you may be able to put that experience to good use with a part-time gig as a babysitter. The going rate for a sitter is $15 per hour, according to Care.com. Age could work in your favor when it comes to pay. When Care.com surveyed parents, half said they would pay $5 more per hour for an experienced caregiver.
If you’re serious about picking up some extra work as a babysitter, you can likely earn more and find jobs more easily if you brush up on your first aid and safety training. Fifty-three percent of parents polled by Care.com said that was the most important skill they look for in a sitter. To find jobs, you can start by letting family and neighbors know you’re available, or use online services to broadcast your availability.
5. Camp host
People list being able to travel more as their number-one pre-retirement dream, but only a third of retirees actually end up spending their time seeing the world, according to a survey by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. The cost of travel could be one obstacle preventing some retirees back from pursuing their globe-trotting dreams. For those budget-conscious would-be travelers, a job as a campground host could be the perfect solution.
Camp hosts work at campgrounds in state parks, national parks, national forests, and other recreational areas, helping to collect fees, enforcing rules and regulations, performing maintenance, cleaning restrooms, and other duties. The gigs are typically unpaid, but you do get to stay at the campground for free, sometimes for months at a time. That could translate into a no-cost stay in a prime location, such as the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park. And not all camp host jobs require an RV. Camp hosts at Angel Island State Park in San Francisco can dock their boat for free in San Francisco Bay, while campus hosts at Acadia National Park stay rent-free in a two-bedroom apartment in exchange for working about 30 hours a week. To find out about camp host and other volunteer opportunities, check with the park you hope to visit or visit Volunteer.gov.
6. Tax preparer
Retirees with business and accounting experience can make extra money around tax time by preparing tax returns. The average tax preparer earns $21.50 per hour, according to the BLS.
There are surprisingly few requirements you need to meet to become a tax preparer. Whether you’re setting up your own shop or working for a big company like H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt, you’re required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number from the IRS, which costs $50. The IRS also has a voluntary program for tax preparers, which includes continuing education and a listing in the tax preparer database once you complete the training. In addition, the IRS hires seasonal employees during its busy time of January through May. Available jobs might include positions as a clerk, tax examiner, or data transcriber.