The baby boom generation currently funneling through retirement is altering the traditional practice of sudden and complete withdrawal from the labor force. The new trend is towards “phased retirement.”According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and statistics report on older workers, many people of retirement age continue to work, even those receiving a pension or social security benefits. As people approach their 70s and beyond, more prefer part-time rather than full time work.
The following suggested jobs for retirees could be interesting ways to earn extra income. Some of these jobs are full time, but several are part-time or seasonal. A few require some skill or training. But all have an element of fun or adventure.
Teach English abroad. There are many opportunities to teach English abroad and strong preference is given to native English speakers. You do not need teaching credentials, but may need TEFL certification or other training (usually completed in less than one year). Some countries require that you have a college degree, but there are some that do not. The pay and benefits vary, but there are many good situations in countries around the world. Start your research at International TEFL Academy, GoAbroad, or Go Overseas.
Concert venue, movie theater, or stadium staff. The pay isn’t stellar, but there are tangible benefits to jobs in venues and stadiums that may appeal to you. My brothers worked as ushers in the large concert and event venues in our city through their late teens and early twenties. They’re senior citizens now, but still talk about that part-time job as one of the best they ever had. They saw a lot of concerts for free as a benefit of the job. If your city has an opera house, music halls, or other performance venues, it could make a great gig for you. Movie theaters are another interesting employment opportunity, especially if you’re a film buff. Jobs at major multiplexes come with free tickets as a benefit. Finally, sports stadiums are another possibility. In addition to ushering, major league stadiums have bartenders and guest services in their premium level seats and suites that might appeal to your people skills. If you like sports, working at a stadium offers great benefits in addition to the pay.
Professional Speaker. If you are charismatic and comfortable speaking in front of large audiences, you can become a speaker at conferences, corporations, and colleges. It’s a great job for retirees because it’s one situation where the appearance of maturity is a definite plus. The hardest part is coming up with a speaking topic and then landing your first job. Start with a topic that is interesting to you. Develop an entertaining presentation that delivers useful information with broad appeal to business professionals and aspiring students. Write up a “pitch”, a compelling overview of the presentation in 300-600 words, and include a summary of the takeaways — what attendees will learn from your talk. Use your pitch to apply to conferences that would be interested in your topic. Don’t be discouraged if you are turned down. It can take a while to land your first speaking opportunity. For more details on getting started as a paid speaker, visit: http://grantbaldwin.com. Grant has an interesting story about his road to speaking gigs and free practical advice.
Bus driver. I have met people who drive a municipal bus as a retirement job. One woman decided it wasn’t for her, primarily because she drove in a city that was new and unfamiliar to her. In her case, it turned out to be more stress and less fun than anticipated. But other women and men enjoy driving a big rig, and the challenge that people, weather, and traffic can bring to an otherwise ordinary job. Depending on your perspective, driving a bus can be adventurous. Less stressful alternatives are school bus driver, with short, predictable routes, through very energetic clientele. Or, drive a tourist bus or van.
Dog walker. If you love dogs, you can find dog walking clients through people you know, in your neighborhood through the free social network NextDoor.com, or to anyone in your city through craigslist.com. Dog walkers typically charge by the walk. Walks can be of various durations from 15 to 60 minutes. As a guideline, dog walkers charge $0.66-$1.00 per minute for shorter walks and $0.45-$0.66 for longer walks. Multiple dogs from the same owner are usually an additional $5-$10 per walk. Dog walkers will sometimes offer a lower rate for multiple walks per day, though you should consider any travel costs to and from the dog’s location, which limit your ability to offer a discount.
Cruise ships. If you have a travel bug, working on a cruise ship might be your dream job. You receive room and board in addition to a salary. Since a cruise ship is basically a floating city, there are a wide variety of occupations. You might be able to work in the same field as you did throughout your career or transfer your considerable job skills to an onboard management position in sales or hospitality. Lecturer is another possibility, if you can talk expertly on topics related to the ships destinations. Working on a cruise ship requires energy, passion, and stamina. Depending on the cruise line, regular assignments run four to nine months working seven days a week (with several months off). But there is also seasonal work of shorter duration, such as a river cruise. There are many cruise companies who cater to different types of clientele. The best ones for older workers might be those that focus on couples or luxury travel, rather than younger clientele or families with children. But explore several and see where it takes you. Note that several of the major cruise lines have different ships and cruises designed for different types of travelers. Here are a few to get your research started: Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, and Viking.
Selling crafts. If you’ve always had a creative hobby, anything from needlework to woodworking, you might be interested in selling your wares at fairs, festivals, farmers markets, and swap meets. Another alternative is to sell handmade arts and crafts online, through the Etsy marketplace. If you decide to go this route, do read the Etsy policies carefully.
Babysitting/nanny. If caring for children interests you, then offer your services to families in your neighborhood. Babysitters provide short term supervision. Nannies are regularly invested in a child’s well-being and can be assigned tasks such as creating activities, meal preparation, and driving children to appointments. The charge for babysitting or live-in nannies across the country is around $10-$16 per hour. Rates trend higher or lower where the cost of living is above or below the national average. Live-out nannies make slightly more than the prevailing babysitting rates. Rates also run higher for younger children, more than one child, and any experience or credentials you can offer (for example, nursing, teaching, or CPR-certification). You can solicit babysitting jobs directly through neighbors you know, or cast a wider net through a free social network such as NextDoor.com. There are also many websites that list sitting services in cities across the country. Here are a few of the most widely available ones: Sittercity.com, Care.com, UrbanSitter.com, and Seekingsitters.com.
Restaurant or catering bartender or wait staff. If you held a restaurant job in your college years, you might consider a return to hospitality service. The total pay (including tips) in finer establishments can match or beat many other jobs. If you live in a coastal city or resort area where there is a lively tourist trade, you can meet people from many places. Another alternative to restaurants is to work on-call for catering services, with fewer and more flexible work hours.
Some of these suggested jobs for retirees provide good income, while others offer modest pay. But all are interesting and fun ways to remain active and fulfilled while enjoying retirement.