Call it an “encore,” “second act” or a “second career,” more and more Americans are returning to the job market in their later years. Some make this decision by choice, others by necessity.
Those who choose to continue to work after retirement often do so to challenge themselves, pursue a passion or stay active and engaged in their community. Others choose to find a second career not out of choice, but because they’ve realized that their savings and social security benefits are not enough to get by, or they have family members who need their financial support.
Out of choice or necessity, here are some of the careers that seniors are exploring:
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Tired of the office? Bartending courses are inexpensive and widely available. Bartending isn’t a line of work that is exclusive to young people. Many restaurant managers would love to find a reliable bartender with a friendly attitude who can work during the day.
Have a passion for an obscure niche? Thanks to the internet, there are probably more people who share your passion than you think. Blogging can be a great way to explore your interests while making a bit of money on the side. Be warned that this isn’t the most lucrative option, but if you find the right topic, resonate with your audience and learn how to monetize your blog then it can provide a regular source of income.
Depending on your field you might find it lucrative to go into consulting. Although age discrimination is a serious issue in the corporate world, because consultants are retained on short-term contracts businesses often view a consultant’s experience as a huge short-term asset with no strings attached.
Usually, the best place to get your first consulting gig is at your old firm, but if that is not possible you can always look for independent contracts right from the get-go.
Seniors today are technologically capable and if you have spare time, a car, a license and a smartphone, then you could be a Lyft or Uber driver in no time at all! You’ll meet new people, see new places, and make some money along the way.
If you enjoy children and driving, then consider applying to be a school bus driver – the limited hours and summers off make this a great career option for seniors looking to earn extra income.
If you are a native English speaker and have a college degree then you are already in demand throughout the world. Across Asia, Europe and South America, English is not just a language but a means to a better life. By teaching English you’ll see the world while helping countless adults and children strive for a better life along the way.
All you need to do is find a certification course, take a few weeks of classes and start job searching. Just be sure to do your research before accepting a position. Working in foreign countries with lax labor laws can be potentially dangerous.
Like consulting, going into education makes the most of your years of experience. To teach public school you will need to get a post-grad degree, but in many parts of the country demand for teachers – including part-time substitute teachers – is high.
Of course, these days, education is not limited to colleges and universities. There are many private providers who offer courses in a wide range of subjects. You can even become an executive coach or executive trainer if your CV is suitable for these fields.
Odd jobs are a great way for older adults to stay busy in their retirement while earning some extra spending money. Some of the most popular odd jobs for seniors include:
Whether you’ve always wanted to run a bed and breakfast or own a winery, more and more people are spending their retirement going after their entrepreneurial dreams.
“Age discrimination does not exist when you are your own boss,” Financial Times reporter Lindsay Cook writes. “The growth in self-employment since 2000 has been fueled by the over-50s who are finding it increasingly hard to find full-time work. With the sheer number of baby-boomers now approaching retirement age, the era of the “olderpreneur” is upon us.”
According to Cook, many 55+ entrepreneurs have the financial means to start their own business, “with the potential to embark upon a second career, doing something that they always wanted to do.”
Have you (or someone you know) started a second career? If so, do you have any suggestions for others who are considering joining the workforce later in life? We’d like to hear your recommendations in the comments below.