January 30, 2012
If you're at or near retirement, you may find that a part-time or occasional job would make a big difference to your budget. Beyond paper routes and baby-sitting, how can you make a few extra bucks on the side? Here are some good options you might not have considered.
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1. Consult or freelance
Many consulting companies need people to come in on a project basis, says Dick Dawson, vice president of CareerCurve, who coaches many workers over age 55. "Explore the company -- write to the person who heads up the unit you would want to work in." Other organizations, especially those that are downsizing, look for freelancers to fill gaps in their staff. Try online bidding sites, like PeoplePerHour.com, to find this kind of work.
2. Do the same job, only less
Larry Schaffel, director of public relations for Magellan Development Group, says that he retired after selling his PR agency. Then, a former client offered him his current job on a two-day-a-week basis. "Impossible to say no," says Schaffel. Many professional jobs allow for a phased transition to retirement, in which you may work fewer hours each year over several years. Or, keep your former employer as a client and work part time.
3. Research for businesses or universities
Career counselor Anne Headley knows a retiree who volunteered at the local university, which led to a part-time job. "Because he has lots of experience in researching, delving through records to answer questions, he came to the attention of the archivist." Also needed are researchers who can help scholars find the studies or do the data collection they need to complete their research projects. Let departments related to your area of expertise know you're available.
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4. Go to the government
Age discrimination is less likely in government jobs, says Dawson. Government agencies have seasonal and part-time work. Visit usajobs.gov to start. You may also find appropriate work in state, county and city governments.
5. Think seasonal
Retailers need part-time workers during the holiday season, says Dawson. The key to making this kind of work satisfying? "Don't think of Wal-Mart only," he says. "There may be other fun things to get into. For example, if you're interested in organic food, try Whole Foods."
6. Show your team spirit
Many sports teams hire workers seasonally or part time. These kinds of jobs can run the gamut from ushering spectators to their seats to running the front office. Retiree Harold Jaffe manages the Diamond Club, the premier seating facility for Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners. "This is my eighth season doing it," says Jaffe. "I started when I was 64. I'll do it another 40 or 50 years. It's great fun!"
You won't find a job like this advertised, though, and you have to be willing to start at the bottom of the ladder. "Call up your local ball club," he says. "It's something you have to go after. If you have the ability to network, it will lead you to this kind of thing."
7. Customer service
Many older works excel at customer service. Alpine Access, for example, employs many part-time retirees who work from home as customer service agents. They still have the flexibility to travel and enjoy their retirements. Headley says that many older workers can find "help desk" jobs that require the kind of knowledge they have amassed over a lifetime of work.
8. Monetize your gifts
Look at what you're good at and try to find a way to make money from it. If you're handy around the house, you may be able to find work helping people unstop their sinks, put together their bookshelves or hang pictures. If you're good with a needle, you could alter clothes or fix torn hems.
Tell your friends and family, post fliers and connect with places that might need your skills. The dry cleaner may need someone who can sew buttons back on or the rental management company may need an occasional handyman. Don't discount your skills, says Aricia LaFrance, a psychological marketing strategist and retirement coach. "These are all goods and services that people buy."
9. Teach or tutor
Many organizations need class instructors. For enrichment (noncredit) classes, oftentimes the only credential you need is experience. Try your local college or university, art center, or parks and recreation center. If you have aptitude and patience, you can tutor local students in math or English. Connect with local school principals and teachers to get started.
Or start your own program based on your hobbies or interests, as Dennis Golden did. He's the founder of IM-Safe, an organization that provides personal safety training, which he began after retiring.
10. Sell online -- but not the way you think
You know you can sell your prized doll collection on eBay or use Craigslist to get rid of your furniture. But to build a sustainable source of income, establish a Web presence around an area of expertise and then sell ad space and related items.
For example, when Al Wiener retired, he built everything-about-rving.com as a hobby. When the recession hit his retirement savings hard, he focused on turning it into a profitable e-business. He's able to work on his business even when he's in his RV. Now, he says, the money he earns from ad sales on his website exceeds his monthly retirement income.