Work-Life Balance

7 jobs for retirees who want to get back to work

Written by Michael Hoon

Retirement can be great: There’s time to travel, do projects you’ve put off for years, or just do a whole lot of nothing. But sometimes, it can also be difficult to transition to a more relaxed pace. A job can give you purpose and a reason to set your alarm in the morning, a little extra cash to finance your retirement or travel, or the chance to apply your drive and creativity to a new endeavor.

But one way to frame this new life phase is having the freedom to choose a job that is simply enjoyable—not tied to your ambition. There are fulfilling, low-stress jobs out there that can offer retirees the opportunity to learn something new, engage with the community, and make some extra money in the process.

1. Pet sitter

If you’re an animal lover or have been a pet owner before, starting your own pet-sitting business as a retiree can be a great way to make money and find some companionship in four-legged friends. For many, retirement means traveling and visiting relatives, so pet owners have to find a local kennel or pet-sitter. If you have retired friends, you can fill that role. You can pet sit out of your own home or visit neighbors’ homes a few times a day to give pets the extra attention they need when their owners are traveling.

2. Small business owner

If you have the talent and access to supplies, you can turn a hobby into a small business. Explore your photography skills, get into woodworking, look into selling your knitting masterpieces—you’ve honed skills over the years, and now you have the time to see where they can take you. You can create your own website or open an Etsy store—you don’t need to have a physical storefront to start a business. If you’re up for a challenge, starting your own small business that engages your skills and your passion can be a rewarding way to fill your time while you make extra money in retirement.

3. Consultant

You likely amassed tons of knowledge from your former career. You can leave it behind and forget it, or you can use your experience to do consulting work. In the tech industry, for example, retirees often return as consultants to use their knowledge of code writing—because technology has changed so much, consultants with this type of knowledge may be vital to the industry. Consulting in your former industry is a way to employ your skills while keeping your work schedule more flexible.

4. Teacher

Whether it’s by being a substitute teacher or adjuncting at a local university, retirees likely have knowledge to impart. Adjunct jobs at universities often require graduate-level degrees, but experience in the real-world industry can be a leg up when teaching subjects like principles of business, advertising, marketing, writing, or engineering. Substitute teaching, from grade school level to high school, can be a rewarding way to engage in the community, help shape young minds, and keep your own mind involved in the lifelong learning process.

5. Working in the arts

Love art? Movies? Music? Working in the gift shop at a museum or as a docent can be a great way to share your interest that may not have been part of your full-time job before retiring. You can work at a theater and take tickets, or become an usher at your local concert hall. These positions mostly deal with hospitality, but having a job in the arts and entertainment industry can bring you near to the things you love. And instead of buying the tickets, you’re getting paid to be there and help others enjoy the experience.

6. Retail

If you’re looking to make some extra cash, retail jobs (such as a grocery store clerk) are always out there, and seasonal jobs abound during the holidays. Interacting with and helping customers can be an enjoyable way to stay engaged. Chances are you can find retail work more closely attuned to your interests too. If you enjoy home projects or painting your house, you might be a good fit for the paint department at your local hardware store. If you are a book lover, recommending books and ordering books for customers at your local bookshop can be a great way to spend time and earn money.

7. Earn money through traveling

Enjoy your newfound freedom and go to the place you want to visit. Traveling can be expensive, but moving to a resort town to find a local job in a tourist area or looking into house-sitting opportunities can let you explore the country while you finance your retirement—and still enjoy the sights in your downtime. Diving into the tourist culture, while still working, can feel more leisurely than your previous job and can be an excellent opportunity to take you to new places through your retirement.

About the author

Michael Hoon