4 rewarding part-time jobs for retirees — that actually pay well

You can make well over minimum wage and work remotely.

  • By Catey Hill,
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Make your retirement work for you.

Nearly half (47%) of retirees say they either have worked or plan to work during their retirement, according to a Merrill Lynch study. And that may be even more common in the future: About seven in 10 older workers over 50 say they want to work in retirement.

The top motivations for working in retirement are to stay mentally active and for money, the study found. So with that in mind, Marketwatch asked career experts what jobs would pay decently (well above minimum wage) and keep retirees mentally engaged. Here’s what they told us.

Consultant

Brie Reynolds, a senior career specialist at FlexJobs.com, says that this can be “an excellent way to use your former skills after retirement.” As a consultant, companies or individuals will hire you to help them do anything from boosting profitability to developing strategy to reorganizing staff or company structure — and your years of experience and success in your own career can play perfectly into that.

Retirees may like that they may get to think through complicated issues and find solutions and interact with a variety of people in the company. You can earn anywhere from about $25 to well over $100 an hour, depending on experience.

How to land the job: Networking is a big help in landing these jobs; let your former colleagues and peers know you’re looking for consulting work. And “keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. You never know who might be looking for someone with your skills and background,” says Cheryl Palmer, founder of Call to Career.

She adds that it is a good idea to also “set up job alerts on a major job board like indeed.com that specify the type of consultant work that you want to do.”

Interpreter or translator

Do you speak, read and write another language fluently? If so, make an encore career of being an interpreter or translator — which often offers a flexible schedule or the option to work from home, says Reynolds. Typically you earn about $20 an hour in these roles and you may get to meet people from different countries and backgrounds.

How to land the job: Think about who might need interpreters and begin your search there, says Palmer. For example, “government agencies that provide public services usually need interpreters,” Palmer says. So might a business that has clientele from different backgrounds. “You can set up job alerts to have positions with your specific criteria sent to you via email,” Palmer adds.

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Project manager

In this job, you will plan and execute projects, making sure everything gets completed in full and on time. Companies may have projects come up for which they need a manager — but don’t want to hire someone full-time as the project has a definitive end date. “This post-retirement career can require a variety of different skill sets, which include strong adherence to time management, the ability to manage a budget, and the ability to stay on schedule and keep others on schedule while maintaining a commitment to productivity and motivating team members.

Project management positions are available in nearly any industry, making it a lucrative flexible career,” says Reynolds. You can make about $31 to $41 per hour, and retirees who like to manage and motivate others may enjoy this role.

How to land the job: This may be harder than some gigs to land on a part-time basis as “most project manager positions are full-time,” says Palmer. That said, you can do it, by engaging in “extra networking so that you seem attractive as a part-time employee,” she says, adding that you shouldn’t overlook LinkedIn as a resource for job postings. And career coach Hallie Crawford adds that you can volunteer your time to work your way into an organization.

Adds Nicole Wood, the CEO and co-founder of career coaching firm Ama La Vida, you can get started volunteering “by attending a local event or researching on their website for volunteer roles they are looking to fill.”

Bookkeeper, accountant or tax preparer

Many small businesses need help with basic bookkeeping or more complicated accounting, but don’t need someone on staff full time. And tax preparers can work just during tax time and then have the rest of the year off to travel, golf or do whatever you please. Bookkeepers earn between $18 and $23 an hour typically, tax preparers about $12 an hour and accountants $23 to $28 an hour.

How to land the job: “For accounting and jobs related to accounting, you can check professional association websites that are for that field,” says Palmer. For her part, Crawford recommends looking on flexible job site FlexJobs.com. And even if the position is full-time, “you can apply and then see if they are open to part-timers,” says Palmer.

Adjunct professor

Okay so this one isn’t rewarding in terms of pay at first — you typically get $1,000 to $5,000 per course — but many retirees love that they can interact with college students and impart their knowledge on the next generation, so we tacked it onto this list anyway. (And to be fair, once you’ve developed all the course materials, subsequent semesters may require a significantly lower time commitment on your part, so that money may be worth it.)

Plus, there’s demand for this role as colleges are increasingly looking for people with years of real-world experience to teach students — even if you don’t have a PhD. So someone who’s had a career in advertising might teach a course on that, for example.

Plus “limited budgets have created an increased demand for adjunct professors,” says Reynolds — as they typically don’t get tenure or benefits. So this gives retirees real opportunity to land this part-time gig. “Working as an adjunct professor not only allows you to share your knowledge but using and sharing that information keeps that knowledge fresh and intact,” adds Reynolds.

How to land the job: Though you won’t always need a PhD, you usually need a master’s degree, says Palmer. “And it certainly helps to have a solid career history in the field where you would teach. Networking is one of the best ways to get such positions. But of course there are also job listings for these types of positions on higher education websites.”

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