Many people continue to work after retirement. Their reasons vary from making extra money to meeting new people, helping their community, learning new skills and even benefitting their physical and mental health.1 Some work part-time. By aligning their skills and life experiences with job opportunities, seniors may continue on a career path that’s rewarding for them and the communities they serve.
Elderly adults at work: a growing trend
Many employers now actively recruit mature and experienced workers.2 Studies show that newly hired older workers are more likely to remain in a position over the long term.3 In a recent AARP survey, 70% of HR managers cite a strong work ethic as an advantage of hiring seniors, and workers over 55 demonstrate the highest levels of positive engagement on the job.4
Just look at the numbers:
- By 2024, 1 in 4 workers will be older than 55.5
- Almost half of new jobs created in 2018 were filled by 55-and-older workers, making seniors the age group with the biggest job growth that year.6
Benefits of working as an older adult
Research shows a potentially wide range of benefits associated with working as an older adult.
- Mental well-being. Retirement can increase the risk of depression by 40%.7 Continuing to work provides opportunities for social contact and community engagement, as well as mental stimulation.
- Health insurance for healthcare needs that aren’t covered by Medicare.
- Extra income for travel or to help family.
- Optimization of retirement savings. Delay accessing your retirement savings so your investments can continue to grow.
- Optimize Social Security. Every year of work adds more money to your lifelong earnings, which raises the amount of Social Security you’re eligible for. If applying for Social Security can be delayed, benefits increase 8% for every year from age 66-70.8
- Life expectancy. One study found that delaying retirement for just 1 year after the age of 65 can lower a healthy senior’s risk of death by 11%.9
- Stay sharp. Research suggests that remaining in the workforce may also delay the onset of dementia.10
Tips for older job seekers to consider11
- Talk to an accountant about the financial implications of working during retirement, particularly regarding Social Security and retirement savings.
- Beware of scams, especially work-from-home jobs for retirees that sound too good to be true. Approach vaguely worded ads with caution.
- Know your rights. Read the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which forbids age discrimination against people who are 40 or older.
- Network. Job hunters should make sure that people are aware that they’re looking for a job, what kind of job they’re looking for, as well as what they have to offer. Consider joining (or rejoining) social media, updating LinkedIn, or even attending webinars and conferences.
- Optimize your resume. List the last 10-15 years of work experience only. Leave graduation dates off the resume. Focus on ways to add value to the organization instead of focusing on the number of years of work history. Remember that many resumes now go through an automated tracking system first so include words that are used in the job posting.
Common jobs for seniors12
Working as a consultant can maintain a connection to a pre-retirement career. Older workers can share knowledge by writing about a particular topic. Subject matter experts create authoritative content on their areas of expertise, online or in print. Teaching, perhaps at a community college or community center’s professional development department, is another opportunity.
Look for more engagement with the community. Driving-related positions like ride-share companies, or courier jobs—delivering food, packages, even medical supplies—offer flexible options.
For social contact, consider teaching English as a second language, locally or abroad. Customer service positions are good for people who enjoy talking on the phone, often offering work-at-home options. For those who live somewhere with tourism, a job as a tour guide can be fun and physically engaging. Another option is working in retail or as an usher at local event facilities.
For those looking to give back, consider working as a tutor for anyone from elementary students to adult learners. A personal caregiver or home health aide provides assistance to sick or disabled individuals. Consider a job at a daycare, children’s center or serve as a private nanny. Or help out your local schools as a teacher assistant or school bus monitor.
Temp or full-time office work is a good option for people who need to sit. Administrative assistant, virtual assistant, translator, data entry, proofreader/editor, tax preparer—these jobs tend to be accomplished while primarily seated.
For more physical activity, consider becoming a dog walker or pet sitter. A handy person might offer their services as a repairperson. Or get involved with young athletes as a coach or referee. Working as a landscaper or gardener will have one out and about during the day. Night owls should think about working as security guards.
Or become an entrepreneur. People in the 55-64 age group start new companies at the second-highest rate in America. One study found that a tech business started by a person who is over 50 is almost twice as likely to succeed as one started by someone who is 30.13
Regardless of the reason for working, there are plenty of options that fit different goals and lifestyle. By following these tips, seniors may be able to make valuable contributions every day, while enjoying the benefits of working past retirement age.
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1Kira Botkin, “10 Reasons to Continue Working After Retirement,” Money Crashers, last accessed July 28, 2022, https://www.moneycrashers.com/reasons-working-after-retirement/Opens in new window.
2Paul Bergeron, “Companies Renew Efforts to Retain, Hire Older Workers,” SHRM, last accessed July 28, 2022, https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/companies-renew-efforts-to-retain-hire-older-workers.aspxOpens in new window.
3“31 Good Jobs for Older People: How to Make Money, Stay Active, and Thrive at Work as a Senior,” Great Senior Living, last accessed June 18, 2022, https://www.greatseniorliving.com/articles/jobs-for-older-people#growing-trendOpens in new window.
4“31 Good Jobs for Older People: How to Make Money, Stay Active, and Thrive at Work as a Senior.”
5Mark Miller, “Companies need older workers: here is why,” Reuters, last accessed June 18, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-world-work-olderworkers/companies-need-older-workers-here-is-why-idUSKBN1JH15FOpens in new window.
6Patrick J. Kiger, “Workers Over 55 Filled Nearly Half of New Jobs in 2018,” AARP, last accessed June 18, 2022, https://www.aarp.org/work/careers/2018-jobs-older-workers/Opens in new window.
7“31 Good Jobs for Older People: How to Make Money, Stay Active, and Thrive at Work as a Senior.”
8“What are delayed retirement credits and how do they work?,” AARP, last accessed July 28, 2022, https://www.aarp.org/retirement/social-security/questions-answers/delayed-retirement-credits.htmlOpens in new window.
9“31 Good Jobs for Older People: How to Make Money, Stay Active, and Thrive at Work as a Senior.”
10“31 Good Jobs for Older People: How to Make Money, Stay Active, and Thrive at Work as a Senior.”
11“31 Good Jobs for Older People: How to Make Money, Stay Active, and Thrive at Work as a Senior.”
12“31 Good Jobs for Older People: How to Make Money, Stay Active, and Thrive at Work as a Senior.”
13“31 Good Jobs for Older People: How to Make Money, Stay Active, and Thrive at Work as a Senior.”
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