Retirement is changing. People are working past 65 and many seniors are staying in or returning to the workforce, either full time, part time or as consultants or independent contractors.
According to a study from the Families and Work Institute, this change is largely because people want to earn more money to retire more comfortably or because they believe they would be bored by not working.
This can be a great opportunity for you or your loved one to keep your mind engaged and challenged and stay active in the community. If going back to work makes sense for your situation, here are some job categories that may be a good fit:
This type of work allows you flexibility, but, depending on the work, can also mean long hours. That said, the benefits and money you earn are directly proportional to the amount of time you put into the position. There are many retired individuals with a particular skill or license that's in demand, such as in law, engineering, health care, telecommunications, management, bookkeeping, accounting, taxes, etc.
The best way to determine if your skills can be turned into consulting work is to market them. Do some research about consulting in your field. Access your networks at your last company -- you may already know someone willing to hire you as a consultant. You can even create a company or an LLC and market your skills to other businesses. Someone out there may need your skill set.
- Child Care
Probably one of the more popular ways for seniors to earn income is to go into child care. Whether you take care of a family member's child or get a job as a part-time nanny or babysitter, your services will be in demand.
- Non-profit and Charity Work
If you've always wanted to make a positive impact on your community, try working for a non-profit or charity. Whether you choose a religious institution, a local cause, a human rights campaign, a civil liberties union or some other initiative, most non-profits don't necessarily rely solely on unpaid, volunteer work. Many also have a paid workforce for day-to-day operations. Non-profits may hire part-time workers to alleviate costs, and if you have the necessary skills, you could be a great candidate. Companies such as Goodwill even offer job training for seniors.
- Higher Education
Universities and colleges, such as community colleges and for-profit colleges, have a diverse array of job opportunities available to senior citizens. Consider working as an adjunct professor, teaching students about your area of expertise. Many universities are expanding to online programs, so you could even teach from your home. Or look into teaching continuing education classes at your local community college, senior center or adult education program.
You could also find a part-time job as a tutor, librarian, department office assistant or student advisor.
Private schools, preschools or elementary, middle or high schools may also have a use for your services. They employ people like librarians, tutors, teacher's assistants, administrative workers, cafeteria help, bus drivers, bus monitors, crossing guards, etc.
- Call Center Consultants
Many companies are bringing some of their call center sales, customer service and collections activities back to the United States. Call center reps are always in demand and seniors who can use a computer and phone system may be perfect. Call center representatives can work onsite, but some companies (such as Hilton Hotels and American Airlines) allow reps to work from home. You could get a job doing everything from answering billing questions to taking reservations to troubleshooting issues.
- Health Care, Fitness and Wellness
As the senior population continues to get bigger and people are challenged with health problems, entering the fields of health care, fitness, nutrition and wellness can be a great way to earn an income. Consider working at hospitals or medical clinics and get experience in areas that don't necessarily require a nursing license or doctorate. Some jobs may require a nurse's aide or medical assistant certification that you can get from your local community college. You may qualify in other areas too, such as administration, housekeeping, maintenance, legal or communications.
Or, if you enjoy caring for other, get a job as a home care aide. You'll help elderly people with everyday things like cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, etc.If you have a passion for a particular fitness program or nutrition program, get your certification or license to teach classes at a local gym, hospital, community center or college.
- Government Work
Ever thought about working for the government? Check the websites of your local, city and state governments to find career opportunities in your own backyard.
Give tours through the National Park Service or venture into the numerous federal government jobs available at usajobs.gov.There's even an organization called Encore that connects senior citizens with peers, training and jobs. It has fellowship programs that hire the valuable resources for senior citizens.
- Freelance Writing
If you lived it, you're an expert at it, and more than qualified to write about it. The Internet has made it easier to distribute information. As a freelance writer, you can earn money by writing about what you know. You can write for online publications and get paid for your expertise. As you become more popular, you can then begin to submit your articles to print publications such as newspapers and magazines. You can even go on to produce your own book!
- Hospitality, Event Planning and Travel
Consider a job in hospitality and tourism. As many retirees hope to travel after retirement, you can become a key component to their travel plans. Become a travel coordinator and specialize in planning group trips with particular specialties. Get a travel agent's license from organizations such as the Travel Institute and start your own home-based travel agency. You can also work at car rental agencies, hotels, motels, airports, cruise ships, airlines, ticketing and a host of other hospitality-related occupations. There's also work available in reservations, security, food service, guest services and a host of other positions.
- Unions and Journeyman Trainers
Have you considered training and educating others in a non-traditional setting? If you were part of a union, look into training apprentices. Whether it's carpentry, sheet metal, electrical, plumbing or other types of trade, your expertise is very important. If you were in trucking, but tired of driving interstate roads, consider another career training other drivers.
- Community Experts and Local Historians
Become a community expert in a variety of different settings. Museums and other historical associations require experts to guide tourists and residents. If you're an expert in your community, start a website to share everything you know about the community and offer tours of the area. Publish your own tour guides and books about your community and market these to travel agents or sell them on the web.
There are a lot of great ideas for senior citizens to earn additional income and engage in the community after retirement. The key is putting forth a path and a plan toward doing things you know you will really enjoy.