Who even knows what “retired’’ means anymore?
You might have left the career you had in the 40-hour-a-week workforce. But now you don’t exactly want to be glued to your couch watching puppy videos. You want to be active, you want to work, and you want to make a little money to support your fun retirement plans.
While “retirement income’’ or “retirement job” might seem like oxymorons, they are a more reasonable pursuit today than in years past due to advancing life expectancies and improved health among older citizens.
Many people reach so-called retirement age and are in no way done with being productive. Many continue in freelance jobs and part-time gigs, whether in a brick-and mortar setting, from home, or even outdoors.
There are plenty of ways to bring in some extra money to augment pension, social security, or other retirement funds. We’ve rounded up 18 ideas for good jobs for retirees that offer part-time opportunities, flexible hours, or both.
20 Part-time Jobs for Retirees
Most of the examples here require your physical presence on-site, but there are remote jobs, too, such as virtual assistant and customer service work that can be done from the comfort of your home.
As you browse these possible jobs for retirees, keep in mind one warning: If you are collecting Social Security, you can only earn a certain amount each month before your benefits are reduced.
So let’s get to work, shall we?
1. Substitute Teacher
Substitute teachers have never been more valuable than today. Covid has increased the chances that a teacher might be out of the classroom either awaiting test results or recuperating. When that happens, their students need someone to teach — and that could be you.
Most school districts have lenient requirements for substitute teachers, often requiring just a bachelor’s degree with no teaching experience.
To be successful, you need to be ready to deal with a room full of 20 or so children of varying ages. But it could pay off. School districts in Chicago, for example, pay as much as $200 a day for a full day of work.
If you have an advanced degree, you may also qualify to be an adjunct instructor at a community college or four-year university.
2. School Support Worker
Most schools are always looking for crossing guards, recess supervisors and other positions. A call to your local elementary, middle or high school could lead you to a good retirement job that would fit your schedule. Even better is searching online for jobs at your school district. This will give you a range of what’s out there.
This is a classic retirement job that gets you out of the house, allows you to have contact with neighbors, and lets you provide security and safety with another set of adult eyes on the children.
There are hundreds of tutoring companies in the U.S. who work with kids of all ages to enhance their school education or prepare for college entrance exams. If you sign up with one, they’ll match you with work and you won’t need to market yourself as a tutor.
The hourly pay for these companies ranges from about $13 to $25. Requirements often are limited to a bachelor’s degree, although exam-prep work might require a recent ACT or SAT test score, or might require you to retake the exam for verbal or math instruction.
If you are interested in online tutoring, there are many good paying gigs out there. Match your skills to the openings.
4. School Bus Driver
School bus drivers can earn up to $20 per hour. They have regular hours with the opportunity to earn extra for field trips or outings. Some states require a specific license (a commercial drivers license, or CDL, for example) or require you to pass a driving test to qualify.
Recent news reports indicate there are many job openings for school bus drivers.
The job is likely to include more than just driving, however. You may be asked to supervise students on the bus, and you may be called upon to discipline rowdy students or those who are making the trip unsafe. A tolerance for children of all ages is probably an important requirement.
5. Shuttle Bus Driver
There are dozens of different types of shuttle bus driver jobs. Most hotels have shuttles to and from airports. Senior citizen homes, churches and community centers often offer shuttles to shopping areas or grocery stores. Hourly pay for shuttle bus drivers can average above $13 per hour, and that’s not including tips from satisfied riders. Like school bus drivers, shuttle bus drivers have regular hours.
Depending on the particulars of the job, a commercial driver’s license might be required.
There are different state laws regarding licensing for shuttle bus drivers. A specialized license might be required if the bus holds a certain number of people or is a particular size. Your state motor vehicle website will tell you what’s required in your state, and any potential employer will know, too.
6. Tour Conductor
Tour guide is one of those jobs that, when you see someone doing it, you think, “Well, I could do that too!”
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.
These jobs require knowledge about the subject and the ability to tell a good story — often while walking backwards.
Tour guides make an average base salary of $20 per hour. Plus, they are often offered tips by tour participants.
This could be a dream job for someone who knows the topic well and likes to retell stories about history, natural science or architecture (among many other possibilities).
If this appeals to you, don’t overlook a special area of knowledge you’ve developed during all those years in the workplace. Know a lot about the manufacturing industry? Maybe you’re just the person to lead tours at a cheese factory.
7. Patient Advocate
The job of a patient advocate is to assist someone who is struggling to cope with the healthcare system. A patient advocate deals with paperwork and appointments, and communicates with healthcare providers to get information on diagnosis, treatment and followup procedures.
Advocates might also be asked to work with insurance companies to understand coverage and costs. Many are asked to help a client obtain assistance with financial or legal issues. The range of duties can be as varied as the patient’s needs.
Being a patient advocate does not require any particular educational degree, but it is possible to become certified in this role.
8. Child Care Provider
Child care might be a bit of a political football these days, but rarely has it been more necessary. Single parents or two-parent families that require or want two incomes are likely to need child care, and that could take the form of a nanny or frequent babysitter.
A babysitter sits in a home with a child or children. A nanny is responsible for getting children to day care or other activities; they are a substitute parent in many cases.
Craigslist, Next Door or other neighborhood job sites are great ways to search for these positions, but your best bet is to work with your personal network. Let people know that you would be willing to work as a nanny or frequent babysitter, and, with the proper recommendation, you could have a very gratifying retirement job.
There are no actual nanny or babysitter licenses or certifications in the United States, but many families require that nannies be bonded, which is a guarantee of service. It is a protection against someone failing to show up for work; one such failure forfeits the bond and that area of work is no longer available to that nanny.
Taking classes in CPR or other emergency response techniques, which offer certifications upon completion, can improve your chances of being hired.
Nannies are likely to make $15 an hour on average. Babysitter earnings vary widely by affluence of the neighborhood. Check out The Penny Hoarder’s tips on how to get paid up to $21 an hour babysitting.
9. Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants are independent contractors who offer business services virtually. Those services can include website management, website design, marketing assistance, social media postings, blog writing, email correspondence or any number of clerical duties that can be carried out with a computer and phone. This kind of work is often well-suited to flexible hours.
As of this writing, ZipRecruiter showed more than 221,000 virtual assistant jobs, suggesting that a virtual assistant could make up to $60,000 a year, depending on the work required.
You are more likely to work on an hourly wage determined by your experience and amount of work you are required to perform. There are also job firms that provide virtual assistants; you can sign on with them and accept work as it is offered to you.
Any task that can be done virtually via computer is likely to be requested by a virtual assistant. Firms would rather pay a freelancer than an employee to do the work.
You have a good head for numbers. You are in charge of your own finances, and you perhaps worked in an accounting role at a previous job.
Many small or civic organizations cannot afford, nor do they truly need, a full-time bookkeeper or accounting service. They are not in it for the money. Often, they are charitable or non-profit organizations. But they need occasional bookkeeping, often with an eye towards tax advantages.
A part-time bookkeeper job often requires simple financial recordkeeping or upkeep of other financial records. Part-time bookkeepers are usually former accountants or have experience as a bookkeeper. They may be asked to track invoices, but most companies use financial services for paychecks.
The average salary for a part-time bookkeeper is around $20 per hour.
11. Umpire and Referee
This is a perfect retirement job if you have a sports background and the ability to withstand criticism.
Competitive sports programs need officials for their games. Baseball, basketball, soccer and football all have leagues at 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 high-level programs require officials to get licensed or certified, lower-level and youth group programs require just a basic knowledge of the rules. Look around your community for sports leagues in need of umpires or referees.
Pay is often dependent on the age of the players and the competitive level of the organization, but officials are likely to make at least $25 per game. At higher levels where certification is required, you can earn $100 per game.
12. Pet Sitting and Pet Walker
For between $10 and $15 an hour, you can earn money by pet-sitting in a home or, if the pet happens to be a dog, you can walk the animal. Pet-sitting is a good job for retirees who want to work outdoors without a lot of physical requirements other than being able to walk while pulling or being pulled.
Pet sitter/walker is also a good line of work to get into because one job can lead to another. Pet owners tend to concentrate around each other, and they will give recommendations to other pet owners about a reliable person who can watch Fido or Fluffy while they are on vacation.
If you are going to house-sit the animal, you will likely get paid more for also keeping an eye on the property while the owner is away.
13. Freelance Writer
Although freelance writers no longer provide articles — it’s called “content” now — freelance writing is a gig that can offer the freedom to accept the assignments you want. There are firms that will connect freelance writers to people or companies in need of blogs, resumes, cover letters, marketing content and more.
According to Indeed, the average hourly pay for a freelance writer is a bit over $20, but you are often paid by assignment or by word, so the pay varies. If you have knowledge in certain topics like science and medicine, the pay can be higher.
Writing skills rarely diminish, but the requirements for writing change over time. A knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) is going to open more doors. Many jobs that use job search websites like Indeed ask for candidates to take a writing test, but many of those are simple grammar or proofreading tests.
While there are occasional situations where someone needs a one-off writing assignment, freelance writer jobs often offer consistent, if sporadic, work. A retiree who can write could have a client for years. Check out this Penny Hoarder article on places hiring freelance writers.
14. Call Center Employee
Just to be clear, we are talking about taking calls from customers, not making calls. A call center representative answers incoming calls from customers or potential customers and either answers questions or sends the caller to someone else who can answer.
As much as this is a remote job, it is definitely a people-person retirement job. You are likely to be talking to someone who is upset or unhappy, and you are the first line of communication for the company you are representing. You need to be capable of being friendly and helpful in the face of unpleasant conversation.
As such, typical hourly pay is $15 as a call center representative.
15. Freelance Bartender
Freelance bartending doesn’t require bartending school and can earn you good money working at large events or small, private parties. Hourly pay for freelance bartenders can be anywhere from $20 to $50 even before tips.
If you can memorize lots of cocktail recipes, if you have an outgoing personality and a steady hand, and if you’re willing to cut people off if needed, this could be a fit for you. Your best bet might be starting out tending bar for people you know and then building a network of referrals.
Plan on some up-front costs, such as a portable bar (if the host doesn’t have one) and basic bar tools. The host is expected to supply the alcohol and mixers. And to protect against possible liability you might want to consider an annual liability policy.
16. Shopping Specialist
Is it the shopping or the buying that you enjoy? If it’s the shopping, then you might consider becoming someone’s personal shopper.
The job title describes the job. You are given a shopping list and the means to make the purchase, and you chase after the items.
Certainly, many people already have personal shoppers and don’t know it. When they contact a grocery store and provide an itemized list of goods they want, someone does the “shopping,” and the items are then delivered.
But true personal shoppers are more likely to purchase clothing and accessories than groceries. A personal shopper often finds items and then sends photos and descriptions to the person who hired them to get approval.
Some high-end clothing stores offer personal shopper services as well. These positions might be a little less “personal,” as they might be a one-day relationship. But the concept is the same.
Personal shoppers who go after groceries or staples are likely to make typical hourly pay of $14 to $20. Those who work for a service are likely on a wage or salary determined by the service rather than by the client.
There’s also money to be made as a mystery shopper. Mystery shoppers are sometimes called evaluators or secret shoppers and often work on their own time. Their job is to document their shopping experiences and report back to the owners to help them improve customer service.
17. Security Guard
A security guard who does not carry a weapon serves as a presence to discourage inappropriate behavior. While many large businesses like Target or Wal-Mart hire security personnel from a service, small employers such as charitable or service organizations are likely to hire someone who is reliable and gives the appearance of authority.
The responsibilities of a security guard depend on the needs of the company being guarded. There may be requirements that go beyond just being a presence, but the differences depend on the needs of the company.
Hourly pay for security guards without weapons training is likely to be between $10 and $17. Night-time security guards are likely to make more than daytime ones.
This is a good job for retirees who do not mind a bit of boredom.
Security guards who do carry weapons require special training and weapons licensing, and is an entirely different job pursuit, perhaps not as well-suited to a retirement job.
18. Seasonal Job Employee
Remember when you had a summer job as a teenager or a part-time job during your winter break from college? The same logic can work when you’re thinking about some extra retirement income.
Many seasonal jobs are defined by the weather, which is defined by the time of year and the climate where you live. Seasonal jobs are popular, never go out of style (except when the season changes), and can actually be a fun job to look forward to.
Ski resorts in the winter and water parks in the summer are two great examples of places that require seasonal employees. It is not necessary to be a ski instructor or a lifeguard, either. These places require assistance in areas outside of their main purpose: security, transportation, customer service. Even the National Park Service hires seasonal temps.
Also included in seasonal work are holiday positions during the months of October-December. On-site customer service, truck unloading, shelving of new goods, and custodial services are among the positions for which big box stores are likely to need employees. For example in 2021, we tallied more than 1 million seasonal jobs at national retailers and delivery services.
Some stores hold hiring events in October to fill these positions, but they often continue searching for employees throughout the final three months of the year.
Perhaps you grew up baking your own bread, and your cupcakes were legendary at your kid’s school events.
Perhaps you know your way around a rump roast, or can identify all the various cuts of meat they offer at your local butcher.
You could turn your lifelong interest in food preparation into a part-time job, and you are likely to be welcomed because you don’t need as much training as a newbie. Your local grocery store would be a good place to start, letting the hiring manager know that you have some background as a butcher or baker.
These are speciality skills, and as such get paid better than some other positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a butcher’s hourly wage is approximately $17.15 an hour. Payscale.com lists the average hourly wage for a baker at just under $13 per hour.
20. Specialty Store Employee
You know which hardware store to go to to get advice from someone who has fixed a toilet in their life. You know which fabric store to go to where the employees know the difference between chiffon and silk.
You could be one of those employees.
During your life, you have become knowledgeable about some aspect of household or everyday life. People with your knowledge are hired by companies to help people who do not yet have that experience. Stores that serve a specific type of customer would love to hire someone they don’t have to train extensively.
According to payscale.com, the average hourly rate for a hardware store employee is just under $13. Indeed says a sales associate at a specialty store will make an average of just over $10 an hour, maybe more now that minimum wages are increasing across the country.
The Penny Hoarder’s Work-From-Home Jobs Portal makes the remote-job hunt easy. Our journalists scour the web for the best gigs, vet the companies and aggregate the latest listings in one place.
Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.