Best part-time jobs for seniors
While you may think of your golden years as a time to be free from the shackles of work, retirement isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Some seniors find that they can’t live comfortably on their fixed income, while others get bored, lonely or lack a sense of purpose without work. Finding part-time jobs in your 60s and beyond can help you be more financially comfortable, not to mention benefit you mentally and emotionally.
Vicki Winters, a 62-year-old living in New York City, spent most of her career working as an executive assistant in marketing or in sales. She recently split from her husband, and Social Security isn’t enough to pay the bills — but ever since her mid-40s, she says she has struggled to find a full-time job due to ageism. So she’s now working a handful of part-time gigs: babysitting a child a few hours a day, taking acting gigs and working from home as a luxury travel agent.
In addition to helping her afford to keep living in her apartment in New York, Winters says she has found that working part-time jobs in her senior years helps keep her young.
“It also keeps me in contact with people, loved and nurtured,” she says. “I see people who are retiring and just staying at home. I understand the concept of not having to get up at 7 a.m. and be responsible, but I say get out there and reinvent yourself to suit your situation.”
If you’re looking for part-time jobs for seniors at home or in an office environment, here are some great options. We chose jobs and industries that are either popular with seniors, are growing in demand and/or offer flexibility.
1. Consulting or freelancing
Did you enjoy the type of work you did before retirement? Put those skills or licenses to use in a part-time consulting or freelance capacity. Whether you have expertise in marketing, law, engineering, taxes, health care, management or any other professional skill, you might be able to find clients who could use your knowledge or advice. Or if you have capabilities to produce a work product, you could do freelance work, such as freelance writing or graphic design. One of the biggest perks of being a consultant or freelancer is that you can typically set your own hours.
The “gig economy” has been growing steadily for years, and there is significant opportunity. But the amount you can make consulting or freelancing depends greatly based on your industry and experience, though you could use your previous salary or hourly rate as a starting point. Do some research about consulting in your field, and consider reaching out to your network or colleagues at your last job to gauge interest in hiring you. You could create a company or an LLC and market your skills to other businesses.
According to a 2017 study by the Urban Institute, two of the most common jobs for newly hired women over 62 are being a personal care aid or working in child care. These jobs are always in demand — the Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts a growth rate of 7% for child care jobs between 2016 and 2026 (which is the average growth rate for all jobs in this timeframe), and they consider job opportunities favorable. For home health aides and personal care aides who help seniors or others with disabilities, the career outlook is exceptional; the BLS expects a 41% growth in jobs in this industry between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than average.
This type of work can help give you a sense of purpose since you’re helping people. Winters picks up a child after school each weekday and entertains her for a few hours until the parents come home, and she finds this work meaningful and rewarding. For some seniors, it could also be more comfortable than an office environment, as it’s typically based in a home. You could take care of a family member or neighbor, or find a job as a part-time nanny or babysitter in your area. According to Care.com, the average pay for senior care and child care is between $12 and $13 an hour, but you may be able to charge more depending on your location, experience and any certifications you hold.
3. Education and teaching
Teaching is the most popular job for women who have college degrees and are being newly hired at age 62 or older, according to the Urban Institute. 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 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, office assistant or student advisor. According to Care.com, average pay for tutors is $15 an hour.
You could also find jobs at local preschools or elementary, middle or high schools, such as part-time substitute teaching. Keep in mind that they also hire librarians, tutors, teacher's assistants, administrative workers, cafeteria help, bus drivers, bus monitors, crossing guards, etc.
4. Travel and hospitality
If you love to travel, consider a part-time job in hospitality and tourism. You could 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. Or, like Winters, you could become an agent for an established agency. Her agency provides training and ongoing information about travel destinations but allows her to work from home at the hours she chooses.
While the BLS predicts travel agent jobs will decline over the next decade, Winters says she was pleasantly surprised to learn at conferences that many people still use travel agents, especially for overseas or luxury trips. The median pay for a travel agent is $18.61 per hour, according to the BLS. Winters says it’s a great job if you have the skillset and want to make some extra money and travel the world.
“You get to travel; I get invited to conferences, events and familiarization trips, and that’s amazing,” Winters says. “If you want to earn a little extra money and travel the world, it’s a fantastic thing to do. Or if you have seniors who are friends, you can make thousands of dollars by getting 10 of your retired friends booked on a river cruise.”
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.
Administrative jobs are popular with those over 62, according to the Urban Institute. If you have previous experience working in an administrative or secretarial job and know your way around a computer, you could find a part-time admin job at a local private or government office.
Administrative assistants and secretaries earn a median hourly rate of $18.69, according to the BLS. While jobs aren’t expected to grow in this industry, many offices will always need someone to help with clerical work, answering phones and office organization.
Working in retail is one of the more common jobs for people over age 62, according to the Urban Institute. Retail work is usually done in shifts, so you could pick up a few part-time shifts during the hours that work best for you. Depending on where you live, you might have numerous options. To narrow it down, think about what your interests are or what you’re knowledgeable about. For example, if you love animals, you could work at a pet store a few times a week. If you love arts and crafts, you could work somewhere like Michael’s.
The pay for retail jobs isn’t great. According to the BLS, the median pay for retail sales workers is $11.70 per hour. But slight job growth is projected in this industry, and many employers offer some form of an employee discount. Plus, if you feel disconnected at home, working retail is a great way to get you out of the house and around people. Retail stores often hire temp workers during the holidays, so you could look for seasonal work if you’re not interested in working year-round.
While you may not have expected to work in your golden years, these part-time jobs for seniors can help keep you active, more financially comfortable and more social and engaged in the world.
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