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  • 4-Minute Article
  • |
  • Jan 10, 2019

6 Tips to Discover Your Ideal Work Opportunity in Retirement

Explore ways to work on your terms beyond the traditional retirement age.

6 Tips to Discover Your Ideal Work Opportunity in Retirement

More people today find fulfillment in retirement by continuing to stay active, whether it’s pursuing a passion, gradually shifting to part-time status, generating income from a hobby, or launching a second career. In fact, nearly 3 in 4 Americans say they plan to work in some capacity past retirement age, and for many, that choice is out of preference rather than necessity.1

Here are some resources and tips that can help you pursue a work arrangement that’s right for you.

Assess Your Skills in New Ways

As retirement approaches, it’s helpful to reassess your skills and interests. Doing some self-evaluation could highlight knowledge gaps or point to other fields where existing experience can be put to work.

These three sites, part of the CareerOneStop resources sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, can jump-start the process:

  • Enter a current or previous occupation at mySkills myFuture to see careers that use similar skills and experience, along with links to job listings, typical pay, and training resources.
  • Use the Skills Matcher to rate your skills and view jobs that could be a good fit.
  • Answer some quick questions in the Interest Assessment to learn how the activities you enjoy relate to different types of careers.

Keep Learning

To fill knowledge gaps, many pre- and current retirees take advantage of college and online courses. Some are geared toward older adults and are often low-cost or free. Here are three examples:

  • Adults age 60 and older can audit (meaning, receive no credit or grades) college classes at many universities nationwide. Public institutions often have lifelong learning programs that offer this perk. In Florida, for instance, residents 60+ can audit classes for free at state universities through the Senior Citizen Tuition Fee Waiver Program.
  • The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute sponsors programs for people 50 and older at 122 university and college campuses around the U.S.
  • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are university courses packaged for online audiences. These huge online learning destinations partner with major universities and companies, and offer free or paid options depending on academic aim. Find a searchable catalog and reviews of thousands of MOOCs at Class Central.


Top three US based MOOC providers graph

Consider Phased Retirement

Phased arrangements allow pre-retirees to continue working but scale back their hours – and keep certain employer-sponsored benefits – as they transition to full retirement. While nearly 20% of organizations offer these programs today (up from 12% four years ago), about three times as many employers offer informal arrangements versus formal policies.2

Top five flexible work options offered by employers graph

Target Your Job Search

Rather than scour mega-job sites serving a general job-seeking audience, aim for niche organizations that cater to those over age 50. Here are three examples:

  • YourEncore partners with nearly 90% of the top life sciences and consumer companies to recruit retirees with scientific or technical backgrounds for short-term, flexible assignments.
  • Work At Home Vintage Experts is a contract staffing group that brings companies and pre-retiree professionals over age 50 together nationwide for independent contractor positions in insurance and accounting.
  • Encore.org, through its Encore Fellowships, matches skilled, experienced professionals who are 50+ with social purpose organizations for high-impact, paid transitional positions.

Grab a Gig

Gig economy workers – individuals who regularly use online platforms and mobile apps to connect with temporary paid work – now number 1.6 million, and 18.4% of them are age 55 and older.4 If this popular option interests you, here are three websites to check out:

  • If you speak a foreign language or play a musical instrument, find tutoring opportunities at Take-Lessons.com.
  • Read about 100 popular side gigs on this Hurdlr.com blog post.
  • Visit SideHusl.com for ratings and reviews of more than 250 gig opportunities, their earning potential, and fees.

Explore Entrepreneurship

Adults age 55 to 64 now represent 26% of all new entrepreneurs, up from 15% a decade ago.1 If this idea appeals to you, learn more with these resources:

  • The Small Business Administration offers a 30-minute free online course for “encore entrepreneurs”—those wanting to start a business after retiring from earlier careers—called An Introduction to Starting Your Own Business.
  • Free business mentoring and startup education is available from SCORE, a national nonprofit network of volunteer business mentors who share their expertise across 62 industries in 320 U.S. locations.

Refine Your Financial Plan

If you plan to work beyond the traditional retirement age, your financial advisor can help provide guidance on strategies for preserving savings, exploring growth opportunities, and ensuring guaranteed income.