The Best Jobs for Seniors

by Cari Wira Dineen, Grandparents.com


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Retirement sounds like a great idea, but in fact, fewer people are retiring today than ever before. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 11.9% of the workforce was made up of people 55+ in 1996, but that number has steadily grown and is expected to be 24.8% by 2024. A recent report from the Pew Research Center found that nearly 9 million people 65+ are employed full- or part-time, an increase since 2000, when 4 million people 65+ were employed.

"How can we retire at 65 when we're living so much longer? The whole notion of retirement has been turned on its head," says Kerry Hannon, a career and retirement expert and author of What's Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job. Plus, many people simply have not saved enough to retire.

There are also many people who are choosing not to retire or choosing to have a second or third career. And working, in and of itself, isn't such a bad thing. "Having a job keeps you mentally engaged and keeps money coming, staving off collecting Social Security or dipping into your retirement account," says Hannon. No matter what your reason behind getting a job you need to know the best resources out there.

Where to Look

Online - Some companies actually label themselves as "age-friendly." RetirementJobs.com hosts an "Age Friendly Employer Certification" program, where the companies included have met "best practice" standards (such as management style, flexible scheduling, and health care benefits that tend to be senior-friendly). To find out more, click here. Other great job sites specifically geared toward the post-retirement crowd include Retireeworkforce.com, SeniorJobBank.org, and Workforce50.com.

New career - Get in on an industry that's growing. Some of the biggest growing jobs according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics include nursing, retail sales, home health aides, office clerks, food service, customer service, and truck driving. While you may have to head back to school in some cases, there's a high probability that you'll have a job waiting for you when you are finished. Another option to consider is a direct sales business, such as Avon or Tupperware. The hours are flexible, there's a social component of hosting parties, and you can make a five- or six-digit salary depending on how much you work. Look at the Direct Selling Association member directory for legitimate companies that might be interesting for you.

Part-time - Working part-time means money's coming in, but it also gives you a more flexible schedule. Jobs to consider:

  • Your old job. - "Consider doing your old job, for less," says Hannon. Employers don't like to lose people with experience, so find out if you can consult or work on short-term projects at your old company.
  • Freelance. - Freelancing (such as bookkeeping or editing) is on the rise, since employers are nervous to make full-time hires in this job market. Check out FlexJobs for short-term professional jobs. Pay is based on your profession.
  • Tutor or substitute teacher. - The credentials you earned during your working years can qualify you to teach a class at your local community college, cover for sick teachers at elementary schools, or help prepare kids to take the SAT. Call local schools or sign up with an online agency such as Wyzant or Champion Learning Center. You can earn $10 an hour and up.
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  • University work. - "College towns are virtually recession-proof and are teaming with part-time job opportunities, especially on campus with jobs such as part-time research positions," says Hannon. Log on to a university's website to look for current openings. Pay is $8.50 and up.
  • Handyman/Household services. - If you enjoy tinkering, you can make $10-$20 an hour to fix things, so long as you have your own tools. If you are a talented seamstress, consider doing alterations (check local tailor rates to price accordingly). Start with friends or neighbors and ask them to pass your name along.
  • Pet sit. - Love animals? "Pet sitting ($25 to $45 a day) and dog walking ($10-$22 an hour) can actually be very profitable," says Hannon. Check out Sittercity.com and Pet Sit International.
  • Seasonal work. - At the holidays, department stores often hire extra staff. In the spring, accounting offices, amusement parks, and nurseries hire extra hands.
  • Sporting events/coaching."Practically every major and minor league team host job fairs each spring for everything from ticket collectors to game announcers," says Hannon. Pay range is $8 to $11.50 an hour (plus the perk of getting to see the games for free). If you're interested in coaching (between $3,000 to $5,000 a season) or being an umpire (up to $50 a game), get in touch with local high schools, youth teams or amateur leagues.

This article comes courtesy of Grandparents.com, site of the American Grandparents Association. Visit their site for "Ageism In America: Discrimination at Work" and "6 Steps You Should Take If You Lose Your Job".

Take the Next Step:

  • Find telecommuting and other great jobs such as part-time and freelance work at Flexjobs.com. Because life is flexible. Is your job?
  • Use this tool to maximize your retirement by determining the best age to take your Social Security benefits. Don't leave thousands on the table by taking Social Security at the wrong time.
  • Subscribe to After 50 Finances. You've learned how to work smarter, not harder. This weekly newsletter is dedicated to people just like you. Subscribers get a FREE copy of our After 50 Finances Pre-Retirement Checklist, a list of everything you need to do to be ready for retirement.

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