For many retirees, retirement isn’t necessarily about ending the working part of your life. Instead, it’s about working on your own terms. While you may be cashing in your retirement benefits and calling it a day on your “career,” it doesn’t mean you have to stop earning, learning or being productive. Whether you simply need a little bit of supplemental income or you’re just seeking a constructive way of staying active, meeting new people, and keeping your mind sharp, there are tons of great jobs for retirees.
Retirement jobs will usually offer benefits like flexible hours, low-impact physical activity, and plenty of opportunities to interact with people while on the job. So now that you’re done working the 40 hour week, what should you be doing with your time? What are the best jobs for retirees?
If you’re still planning for retirement, check out some of our advice on how and when to begin preparing. Spoiler alert–the time to begin is now. As for how, check out these ten tips.
Otherwise, read on for a look at some fun, interesting, and creative jobs that you can do after you’ve said goodbye to your full-time gig.
Retirees At Work
The meaning and connotation of the term “retirement” has changed somewhat in recent years. Historically, we might think of a retiree as a person who no longer works. But this assumption is changing for a number of reasons. First and foremost, this is because many retirees do choose to either remain working or to reenter the workforce after a few years away.
As an article i Investopedia explains, these days, retirees may work because they must or they may work because they choose to. As we’ll explore here, for many retirees, the cost of living may simply exceed the combination of Social Security benefits, retirement benefits, and savings.
Investopedia points out that, for the average worker who retired at age 65 in 2022, Social Security benefits covered roughly 37% of monthly expenses. And, continues Investopedia, when you “Couple that with the elimination of most defined-benefit pensions…it’s no wonder why many people continue working at least part-time after retirement due to financial need. Workers with Social Security as their only retirement income often feel they have no choice but to get a part-time job.”
In other words, for many retirees, there is a strong financial imperative to supplement these benefits with a regular and predictable income. To reiterate an important point, given the high cost of living in the United States, many retirees seek part time jobs because they must do so in order to make ends meet.
But this imperative only tells a part of the story. In reality, many retirees simply choose to work because of the opportunities employment can provide to remain active, to socialize, to experience new things, and to feel a sense of usefulness. Rarely will these opportunities be found in high paying jobs. But Investopedia points out that seniors are easily ranked as the most satisfied working demographic in the U.S.
According to Investopedia, two-thirds of seniors report high job satisfaction, regardless of the typical hourly pay. A 2023 Pew Research Center survey showed that workers over the age of 65 were substantially likelier than their younger counterparts to report being “extremely” or “very” satisfied with their work, in addition to gaining a sense of fulfillment from their employment.
This does suggest that at least a certain percentage of seniors have returned to work voluntarily or that they have had the flexibility to choose personally fulfilling employment opportunities. It’s also just as likely that a number of retirees fall into both categories–those who work to supplement their income while also gaining personal satisfaction and fulfillment from their role.
Taken together, these retirees actually constitute a rapidly growing demographic of American workers. “In fact,” reports Investopedia, “according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, among people aged 75 years and older, the labor force is expected to grow by 96.5% by 2030.”
There are likely a number of additional reasons for this rapid growth. Particularly, as the uniquely large Baby Boomer cohort continues its transition into retirement, the number of retirees continues to swell to record proportions. In fact, this population is growing at a rate that even threatens to undermine the growth of the total working population. This means that seniors who wish to hold part time jobs have the opportunity to be important contributors to the U.S. labor economy. It also means that many employers are very much in need of additional labor, especially from those with the ability to be flexible.
Not only that, but a number of practical changes in the nature of labor are creating more opportunities for seniors to contribute. The rise in opportunities to work remotely and the emergence of the gig economy have, in particular, combined to open a lot of doors for non full-time work.
Jump to our article on the gig economy to learn more. Or read on for…
10 Great Jobs for Retirees
1. National Park Service Roles
If you’re approaching retirement age and you love being in the great outdoors, we’ve got some excellent news for you. More than a third of employees working for the National Park Service are over the age of 50. That’s because the park services are noted for a wide range of seasonal jobs with part time hours and a modest hourly pay. Many of these roles are uniquely attractive to those who are seeking a retirement job that combines service and recreation.
As the AARP notes, “The National Park Service and its $1-billion-a-year concession industry rely on thousands of seasonal employees for everything from giving ranger talks about history and nature to manning the entry gates to shuttling employees from housing to work. And that housing — cabins, dormitories, apartments or RV spots – often is a perk that comes with the job.”
By the way, this is an especially attractive option if you’re also looking for ways to save dramatically on housing while perhaps even getting in a bit of travel during your retirement years. AARP notes that many seniors working in park positions may choose to reside in onsite campers. If your vision of retirement includes a touch of van life, think about trading in your expensive mortgage for a cost-effective and livable camper.
AARP also strongly advises that you start your search for National Park work at least six months ahead of your intended start date. This is the typical lead time for hiring, especially for seasonal roles.
One more piece of helpful advice–don’t limit yourself just to job openings listed by the parks themselves. Many parks have contracts with private concession companies which may do their own hiring. Look for work within National Parks by applying through these on-site concessioners.
2. Ride Sharing Services
If you like meeting new people, seeing new places, and chatting it up with strangers, you might consider working for a ride sharing service like Uber or Lyft. As a ride sharing driver, you are technically considered an independent contractor in most states.
This comes with a number of advantages. You make your own hours, you can do it without earning a commercial driver’s license, and you’ll be making money just for cruising around in your car, picking people up, and delivering them to their destination.
Certainly, as a full time job, rideshare driving can be demanding. But for retirees, the flexible hours mean that the job doesn’t necessarily have to be demanding. You have the freedom to drive only as needed or desired. It goes without saying though that you should have a clean driving record and a reliable vehicle that can handle the extra wear and tear.
3. Substitute Teacher Gigs
Substitute teaching jobs are a popular option for many retirees, but it’s pretty important to point out that the vast majority of working substitute teachers are actually retired teachers. That’s because you need some level of teaching degree or certification in most states to serve in this role.
That said, being a substitute teacher is one of the very best jobs for retirees who do have full-time classroom or teaching experience. While the hours can be unpredictable–you tend to work only when you receive a call to fill in for an absent teacher–it is up to you to decide which jobs you take and which you pass on. It’s true that accepting jobs is the best way to be offered more.
But the real point is that as a substitute teacher, you have a freedom and flexibility that full-time teachers don’t have. If you’ve retired from full-time teaching, or you have teaching experience and you’ve retired from a different full time role, substitute teaching could be a great outlet for your knowledge.
Alternatively, retirees who have a desire to share their knowledge but who lack a formal teaching degree may consider applying their skills as tutors. Most tutoring roles are also highly flexible part time jobs.
4. Tour Conductor
Are you the type that enjoys telling a good story, cracking a few punchy one-liners, and getting to know all kinds of new people? You might consider working as a tour conductor. This is the perfect job for folksy retirees who just love being around groups, sharing knowledge, fielding questions, and imparting historical tidbits.
So where can you work as a tour guide? That’s the best part. This is something you could do in an extremely wide range of settings. According to Penny Hoarder, “Businesses, organizations and sites that host tours come in many shapes and sizes, from historical sites to museums, from outdoor walking tours to behind-the-scenes workplace tours. They can be an everyday part of a business or scheduled by appointment. What do they all have in common? A tour leader.”
If you’re not sure where to start, think of some areas where you have both a passion and a bit of experience. If you’re a retired government employee, you may be a great candidate to tour visitors around your township’s historical city hall. As a retired engineer, you may be in a unique position to field visitor’s questions while touring your local aerospace museum. And quite frankly, if you simply love a good ghost story and donning historical garb, you could lead groups on the ever popular haunted tour in your nearest city.
Go with what you know, what you love, or a little of both. No matter where you end up working, you can be sure that serving as a tour guide will bring you into constant interaction with fun, interesting, and curious people.
5. Pet Sitting
Many jobs for retirees revolve around animal care. If you love animals and you know how to work with them, there are a few different ways to turn this into a paying gig. For instance, many animal shelters need extra hands for things like feeding, bathing, and handling animals, as well as clerical work such as bookkeeping and filing of financial records.
You may also be able to work independently, providing dog walking and pet sitting services to pet owners. This is something you can do by word of mouth in your own neighborhood, though you may be able to find more work year round by landing a role with an actual pet sitting or dog walking company.
You may be able to identify these opportunities by reaching out to your local animal shelter or veterinarian for references. And while you’re at it, ask your vet if they need any help around the office. According to an article in U.S. News & World Report, “There were 171,000 seniors involved in animal production and aquaculture in 2022, per BLS data. Animal care and service workers earn an average of $14 an hour. If you live in the city, you might check nearby veterinarian offices or animal shelters to see if positions are available.”
An important word of warning regarding animal care however–this job is better suited to seniors who do not have mobility issues. Working with animals, especially as a walker or sitter, may require you to be capable of basic physical activity such as long strolls, animal waste pickup and even just basic playtime. Be sure you are up to the rigors of working with your furry clients.
6. Call Center Employee
Looking for a job that combines working remotely and interacting with tons of people? Consider a gig taking calls on behalf of a business or organization. As a call center employee, you will generally spend your time on the job answering incoming calls from customers or prospective customers.
You may be fielding questions, responding to complaints, or simply routing calls to somebody who can help a given customer. While you may be able to do the job while working remotely, this is very much a customer-facing role. You will be a first point of contact both for those considering becoming customers and those who are already customers.
This means you should be calm, courteous and, most importantly, patient. Indeed, working as a customer service representative can at times be a challenging job. You will inevitably encounter some customers who are frustrated, angry, or just plain rude. So it’s important that you have an even temperament no matter what kind of customer you’re dealing with. Your job is to defuse any negative situations by helping customers get the answers they need. Try not to take anything too personally!
If you feel like this is something you can do, you will get to spend your time on the job making conversation with all kinds of people. And another thing that makes this such an attractive retirement job–organizations of every type employ call centers to support customer care. This means that you could work in a wide variety of industries from retail products and consumer electronics to cell phone service providers and even charitable organizations.
7. Recreational Sports Referee
If you have a background in sports and you don’t mind fielding some occasionally heated language, you may be well suited for zebra stripes. That is to say that you might be interested in working as a freelance umpire or referee for a league in your local area.
According to Penny Hoarder, “Competitive sports programs need officials for their games. Baseball, basketball, soccer and football all have leagues for various ages that need officiating. Depending on where you live, the work can be constant. If you get certified for multiple sports, you can work all weekend long and often during the week.”
While officiating at higher organized levels like schools or semi-competitive amateur leagues will typically require specialized licensing, most youth sports leagues and adult intramural teams will employ officials with some experience and a strong understanding of the particular sport’s rules. Once you get involved in one or two local leagues, you may find that opportunities to work are quite plentiful.
But there are a few important things to consider first. This is a great opportunity for retirees who are physically fit enough to move on the field of play. You will require some agility and a high level of mobility in order to keep up with the pace of the game and to avoid injury.
And of course, no matter how fit you are, there is an almost 100% likelihood that, at some point, you will be on the receiving end of some colorful or even abusive language, both from players and, in the case of youth sports, from their parents. It’s good to have thick skin and a strong sense of resolve if you plan to take on the role of a referee or umpire in retirement. Because as jobs for retirees go, this one is not exactly relaxing.
8. Security Guard
Most of the jobs for retirees that we’ve highlighted here offer seniors great opportunities to meet people and work with others. But if you’re looking for something that’s kind of exactly the opposite of that, you might want to consider a security guard role. Of course, security guards are an important line of defense when ensuring the safety and security of a facility as well as the people, property, and resources within.
However, for many security guards, such as those who work in night watch roles, the vast majority of hours spent on the job will be done in relative quiet and solitude. That’s because, most of the time, your job will simply be to remain on site, monitoring closed circuit televisions, listening for security alarms, and contacting law enforcement in the event of an incident. Rarely if ever are security guards expected to confront threats themselves.
Instead, your role is to remain vigilant, responsive and in contact with the proper authorities. Of course, most security jobs for retirees will be found on sites that are rarely targeted by crime. So much of the time that you’ll spend on duty will be passive. To state it more bluntly, you may find that you have plenty of time to read a book, enjoy a few snacks, figure out the day’s Wordle puzzle, and shop for things you don’t need on Amazon while still performing your duties as a security guard and getting paid to do so.
If you are a people person, there are also countless customer facing security guard roles available in retail stores, hospital facilities, parking garages, and more. You could sit behind a desk checking IDs and signing in guests, which is a great way to meet and talk to new people all day long.
9. Seasonal Retail Industry Worker
Speaking of being a people person, this is an absolutely mandatory personality trait if you think you might want to work in the retail industry. That is doubly true for retirees who seek part-time work during the holiday season.
During the winter holiday shopping season in particular, big retail stores will typically field more customers, extend their shopping hours, and take on additional employees on a temporary basis. If you’re interested in earning more money for just a few weeks or months out of the year, becoming a part-time seasonal worker can be a great option.
But it’s really important that you enjoy the cheer and energy of the holiday shopping season. After all, you will be completely immersed in this spirit when you work in retail. Expect massive crowds of shoppers, a constant rotation of Christmas songs over the PA, and all kinds of twinkly lights and happy decorations. If you’re the type to fully embrace that spirit, you might be a good fit for the countless retail operations that require additional hands on deck during the holidays.
10. Survey Taker
If you love sharing your opinion with others, the least you could do is get paid for your efforts! That’s what being a survey taker is all about. Organizations of every type use surveys as a method of market research, data collection, and fact finding. From retailers to politicians, from movie studios to public health campaigns, researchers conduct surveys with segments of the public for many different reasons.
Sign up online to become a survey respondent and you could get paid for your thoughts. Penny Hoarder notes that “Typically, survey taking opportunities pay a flat fee for each survey you complete. Some companies may require you to complete a certain number of surveys before you can cash out. But how do you know you’ll get paid at all? While you have to watch out for scams, there are plenty of legitimate survey sites out there that just want you to weigh in on the news or answer some general questions.”
Sign up with survey services One Opinion or Survey Junkie and start cranking out responses for money today. Be aware that earnings for survey taking are quite modest. The average salary for an hour of survey completion through the above noted services will generally be worth about $2 an hour. We admit, this compensation probably won’t move the needle much in terms of your retirement savings and spending.
However, it is an opportunity to do something that is both easy and mentally engaging. Earn a few dollars on the side with minimal effort.
And if you’re looking for a few other ways to improve your household bottom line in retirement, jump from here to our look at the AARP and the countless benefits and savings opportunities available to members.