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Retirement and Working: It’s Not a Contradiction!

Will you work after leaving your primary career? If the answer is yes, you will be in good company – an AARP survey reports that 80% of boomers plan to work full or part time after retirement. Finances are the biggest reason, but over one-third of those surveyed cited enjoyment of work as a factor, and doing something different enticed an additional five percent.

There are a number of options for working during the second half of your life. Let’s look at several areas beyond the usual greeter, retailer, cashier, food preparer, and server positions. To begin, let’s look at the ideas below:

Work part of the year

If you love the great outdoors, consider working at a national park, ski resort, ranch, theme park, tour company, on a ship, etc. For a seasonal commitment, you can receive lodging, meals, and a paycheck. It won’t be the Ritz, and you won’t make a fortune, but it may be the right thing if you’re open to new experiences and like to work hard.

For more information, contact www.coolworks.com – there is even a link for the “older and bolder” or call 406-582-9491) or Xanterra Parks & Resorts (Xantara Careers or 303-600-3400) if you’re interested in managing the concessions (lodging, food, gift shops, etc.) at national/state parks or resorts.

Best employers for those 50 or better

The AARP is constantly looking at employment options for workers over 50. They used to publish an annual list ofd best employers, based on  “recruiting practices, workplace culture, continued opportunities, employee benefits, retiree benefits, organization statistics, and innovative practices.”

We haven’t seen them publish this since about 2012. But they do offer a job board database and regularly publish articles on employment, resume writing and jobs for people 50+.

Check out the job board. If you’re within striking distance of one of these companies, it would be worth checking out.

Hot jobs

If you’re looking for a new direction, but want to find out where the jobs are – or will be – check out the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, which is revised every other year. It contains a treasure trove of information about national growth projections, wages, education, and working conditions for specific careers. Access the newest edition of the handbook, the 2018-2019 edition, online at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/

Predicted areas of highest employment growth include healthcare (no big surprise as we boomers advance in age), employment services, technical (think computer) services, the leisure and hospitality industry (all the boomers ready to spend their money!), and the financial services industries. If these areas appeal to you, you’re in luck!

Start your own business

Some retirees dream of taking a passion or hobby and turning it into a money-making venture – writing, painting, opening a restaurant or boutique or B&B, or having a consulting business, for example.

Although two million Americans 55 and older are self-employed, the cold reality is that most businesses fail within the first three to five years. Carefully consider financial issues (cash flow, potential outside sources of money, develop a business plan, have a niche market), your personality (perseverance, ability to cope with rejection, stamina, desire and energy to solicit business, reasons for pursuing this goal), and kind of business (sole
proprietorship, joint enterprise, corporation).

Do you want to start a new business from scratch or buy into a franchise? Investments in franchises can begin under $15,000 and can climb into six or seven figures. Take a look at www.franchisedirect.com or www.franchsie.com for more information.

Work from home

Although it seems that scams abound in this category (stuffing envelopes, anyone?) there is a definite legitimate side to this industry. “Homeshoring” allows customer service agents to work out of their home, primarily phone work and data entry. Some people hired for this type of work are independent contractors, others are employees of the company.

Examples of firms that hire stay-at-home customer service reps:

Teach English as a second or foreign language (ESL/EFL).

If you’d like to combine work and travel, consider teaching English in a foreign country (or in locations within the United States).

Many positions require a college degree; some require a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate, which can be obtained in
the United States. A good website is www.tesol.org, or look on www.eslemployment.com to get a sense of positions, locations, requirements, and pay.


Real estate attracts those who are people oriented, flexible, realize that there won’t be a steady paycheck, and don’t wish to have a 9-5 job. You’ll need to take the appropriate real estate course, pass the licensing exam, and be sponsored by a broker or real estate company in the state in which you wish to be licensed. Contact the Board of Realtors in the location where you wish to be licensed to find out the specifics.


Several other assorted thoughts:

  • Become a Mystery Shopper (www.secretshopnet.com), a member of a focus group (access the New York Marketing Association Greenbook) – www.greenbook.org – and search their national directory by desired location, or look for ads in local or college newspapers).
  • Get paid to participate in surveys
    over the Internet (www.buzzback.com and www.gozing.com). Whether you are asked to participate in a survey is a function of the
    demographics a company needs.
  • How about being a Club Med staffer? See www.clubmedjobs.com for more specifics.
  • For Men Only (who like to dance): you can be a “gentleman host” on a cruise ship (www.theworkingvacation.com).
  • Would you like to be paid to exercise? Consider a stint as a dog walker/sitter – done on your own or as through a company such as LA
    County’s Your Dog’s Best Friend (www.yourdogsbestfriend.org) or a Fetch! Pet Care (www.fetchpetcare.com).

Although not an exhaustive list by any means, you can see that there is a wide variety of second careers/jobs in a wide variety of fields.
So, freshen up that resume and start investigating!

Jan Cullinane Author, Entreprenuer, Retirement Expert

Jan Cullinane is the co-author of The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Rodale, 2007). She gives seminars on the (primarily) non-financial aspects of retirement through her company, "Retirement Living from A to Z."

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The New Retirement
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