In a financially sane world, the words "retirement" and "job" would never be uttered in the same sentence. But the reality of the recent economic downturn is that more and more workers are postponing retirement to salvage their drained savings, and a significant amount of confirmed retirees are hanging up their golf bags to return to the workforce. Sometimes, though, the motivation to get a job after retirement has less to do with money than simply remaining engaged and productive.
Few retirees want to work full-time. Instead, they're looking for ways to capitalize on their ample skills and experience in a part-time or contract setting. One of the positives of an uncertain economy is that employers are more likely to hire part-time or contract workers because they don't have to pay for benefits like health insurance or vacation days.
We've consulted employment experts to assemble a list of the 10 best part-time jobs for retirees of all interests and backgrounds, from business to medical care to crafts. Let's start with one of the most in-demand careers, even for retirees.
There is an abundance of part-time job opportunities for retired nurses, particularly in home health care. Home health nurses specialize in continuous care patients, those whose medical needs require the constant presence of a trained health care professional [source: Childers].
The good news for retired nurses is that you don't need to put in the long hours you did back in your full-time days. Home health nurses work in shifts to cover all 24 hours of the day. Shifts are usually very flexible, from four to 12 hours at a stretch, and you can limit yourself to two or three days a week. Qualified and licensed RNs and LPNs/LVNs can earn more than $60 an hour in high-demand markets where there are a lot of assisted living facilities [source: Dobosz].
Even if you don't have a nursing degree, there are other well-paying and fulfilling part-time jobs in home care. Find out more with our next post-retirement job.
Home health care is one of the fastest growing job sectors in America, but you don't have to be a retired nurse to find part-time work as a caregiver to the elderly or disabled. Patient advocates are non-medical home health care workers who assist homebound individuals with all of their daily tasks, like preparing meals, bathing, getting dressed, filling prescriptions, giving rides to doctors appointments and more [source: Johnson].
If you don't have a nursing background, you might need to attend a year-long training program. After that, you can apply to work part-time with a large agency like Home Instead or Comfort Keepers, or you can offer your services to local assisted living homes or even directly to individuals in your neighborhood. Full-time patient advocates can earn between $32,000 and $52,000 a year [source: Money].
This is the ideal job for retired accountants, or anyone with a knack for numbers and no fear of tax forms. Tax preparers can either work for an established tax preparation franchise like H&R Block, or go out on their own and recruit clients from friends, neighbors and local businesses. The work is highly seasonal, with the bulk of your billable hours coming between January and April, but experienced tax preparers can earn up to $30 an hour during the busy tax season [source: Dobosz].
You don't have to be a certified public accountant (CPA) to prepare tax forms professionally, but you do have to register with the IRS. Starting in 2011, all tax preparers need to pay $64.25 a year for a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). And in mid-2011, tax preparers will have to pass an IRS competency exam, unless you're already a CPA, an attorney or an employee for an established tax preparation company [source: IRS].
Temporary office work isn't the most glamorous job in the world, but it's a great way for retirees to earn some extra cash on a flexible schedule. Since unemployment levels are still high, there are more people applying for temp work than usual, but hiring figures show a continued strong demand for workers with strong experience in finance, law, accounting and administrative support [source: Johnson].
The best bet for finding temp work is to sign up with a large service like Manpower or Kelly Services. They'll shop around your resume and connect you with work that matches your skills and schedule. Another interesting tack is to find another retiree and apply to a full-time position together. Time-sharing is advantageous for both the worker and the employer. Workers get a part-time schedule, and the employer fills a full-time position without having to spring for full-time benefits [source: Salary.com].
Retail jobs aren't only for twenty-somethings. In fact, some retailers seek out older salespeople because they're more reliable and often more patient with customers [source: Johnson]. Are you a regular customer at one of the shops in your neighborhood? Is there a clothing, food or hobby store where you like the selection, or even better, already know the aisles by heart? Then maybe it's time to apply for a part-time retail position.
Holidays are a particularly good time to seek part-time retail employment. You can expect to earn around $13 an hour, and, as an added perk, most retailers offer employee discounts [source: Bankrate.com]. Retail jobs are perfect for retirees who miss the lively interaction of the workplace and want to be around people.
Everybody gushes over the handmade sweaters you give out to all of your friends' grandchildren. Your pumpkin bread has won the blue ribbon at the county fair five years running. And you haven't even begun to tap your fruit-canning potential. Instead of giving away all of those homemade treats and crafts during your retirement, why not turn it into a six-figure income?
Etsy.com is an online marketplace for handmade crafts and foods. Top sellers on Etsy -- hawking everything from oversized scarves to ceramics -- can earn more than $200,000 a year through virtual craft shops hosted on the site [source: Williams]. To make that kind of money, you'd have to be willing to knit baby sweaters 15 hours a day, seven days a week. That said, you can still pull in some solid spending money by simply selling the things you already have the time and energy to produce.
Substitute teaching used to be a solid part-time job for retired educators, but the recent rise in overall unemployment and budget cuts in public schools has led to a surge in substitute teacher applications. Many school districts have closed applications to all but bilingual teachers [source: Lloyd].
But retired teachers can still find plenty of part-time work as one-on-one tutors. There's a high demand for test preparation tutors who can help college-bound kids raise their SAT scores. An experienced educator averages between $10 and $24 an hour, but specialists in math, science and foreign languages can pull in even higher rates [source: Hannon].
The key, of course, is finding the students. You can either apply to one of the larger tutoring services like Kaplan Tutoring or Tutor.com, or go out on your own. Start by spreading the word to your friends and colleagues at your former school that you're available as a tutor. The guidance counselors at your old school might even refer students and their parents to you directly. Otherwise, considering placing an ad in the local newspaper or on Craigslist.org.
The oldest U.S. Postal Service worker recently retired at the impressive age of 95 [source: Gandel]. That alone should be proof that the federal government doesn't have an age bias. The truth is the government is losing a third of its workforce over the next couple of years because of retiring baby boomers, which presents excellent opportunities for experienced retirees looking for part-time positions [source: Bankrate.com].
The source for federal job openings is USAJobs.gov, which you can search by position, location, keyword and more. The National Park Service is always looking for qualified seasonal workers to fill summer positions as visitor assistants, park guides and maintenance workers [source: National Park Service]. Park workers earn around $15 an hour, but applicants with strong experience in botany, history or geology could get a little more [source: Hannon].
There is a certain type of retiree known as the "tinkerer." He's rarely seen without his tool belt, and he has a fully stocked repair shop in the garage where he spends his days sanding and staining new molding for the kitchen, affixing a new gasket to a leaky toilet seal, and taking apart the entire washing machine to extract a lost cuff link. Instead of tinkering around the house, why not put that natural handiness to work as an on-call handyman?
You'd be amazed at what your friends, neighbors and local shop owners have no idea how to do for themselves. Even more amazing is that an experienced Mr. Fixit can earn around $50 an hour just for tightening some screws, unclogging some drains and re-wiring the occasional circuit breaker [source: Bankrate.com]. If you don't like the hours of an on-call Mr. Fixit, consider offering your services on a per-project basis. Some retired handymen decide to work only on weekends [source: Hannon].
You spent four decades of your life working 60-hour weeks to fatten the coffers of some large corporation, and now your well-deserved retirement has finally arrived. But what if you find that four days of golf and three days of lawn and garden care don't provide the same mental stimulation as a long week at the office? Do you really have to go back to the soulless grind just to stave off boredom?
Of course not. Why not apply your strong managerial, financial, IT or development skills to help a non-profit organization? Non-profits come in all shapes and sizes, and chances are high that you can find an organization that matches your particular feel-good interest, like fighting poverty, supporting the arts or saving the environment. You won't earn as much as a non-profit management consultant, but you might find it both stimulating and satisfying.
For lots more information onfinancial planning, see the links on the next page.
HowStuffWorks Now looks at a new twist in the sharing economy: renting your home for office space.
- Bankrate.com. "7 great jobs for not-quite-retirees" (Accessed May 21, 2011.) http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/RetirementandWills/RetireInStyle/7-great-jobs-for-not-quite-retirees.aspx
- Childers, Linda. Monster.com. "Job Opportunities Abound for Retired Nurses" (Accessed May 20, 2011.) http://career-advice.monster.com/job-search/getting-started/jobs-for-retired-nurses/article.aspx
- Dobosz, John. Forbes.com. "Best Post-Retirement Paychecks." January 15, 2008 (Accessed May 21, 2011.) http://www.forbes.com/2008/01/15/retirement-careers-job-pf-retire-in_jd_0114retirement_inl.html
- Gandel, Cathy. AARP. "Oldest US Postal Worker Retires at 95." June 30, 2010 (Accessed May 21, 2011.) http://www.aarp.org/work/work-life/info_06_2010/oldest_u_s_postalworkerretiresat95.html
- Hannon, Kerry. AARP. "5 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees." October 13, 2010 (Accessed May 19, 2011.) http://www.aarp.org/work/working-after-retirement/info-10-2010/5-great-part-time-jobs-for-retirees.4.html
- Hannon, Kerry. AARP. "5 Great Seasonal Jobs for Retirees." January 2011 (Accessed May 21, 2011.) http://www.aarp.org/work/working-after-retirement/info-11-2010/5-great-seasonal-jobs-for-retirees.1.html
- IRS. "New Return Preparer Regulations -- Overview" (Accessed May 20, 2011.) http://www.irs.gov/taxpros/article/0,,id=221009,00.html
- Johnson, Tory. Good Morning America. "Best Jobs for Retirees." July 24, 2008 (Accessed May 21, 2011.) http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Parenting/story?id=5437675&page=1
- Lloyd, Janice. USA Today. "Substitute teaching applications surge." March 11, 2009 (Accessed May 19, 2011.) http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-03-10-substitute-teachers_N.htm
- Money Magazine. "100 best money moves you can make" (Accessed May 21, 2011.) http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/moneymag/1004/gallery.Money_100.moneymag/29.html
- The National Park Service. "Temporary and Seasonal Jobs with the National Park Service" (Accessed May 21, 2011.) http://www.nps.gov/personnel/seasonal.htm
- Salary.com. "Top Jobs for Retirees" (Accessed May 20, 2011.) http://www.salary.com/Articles/ArticleDetail.asp?tab=psn&cat=cat011&ser=ser032&part=par1181
- Williams, Alex. "That Hobby Looks Like a Lot of Work." The New York Times. December 16, 2009 (Accessed May 20, 2011.) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/fashion/17etsy.html