Work After Retirement
Creative Options

Part-time or full-time work after retirement is something many folks are looking to do (and not necessarily the same thing they were doing when in the working world). Others are looking for ways to earn extra money, yet may be having a hard time coming up with new ideas. Some people want to work out of the home; but there is a growing trend to figure out what we can do that is home-based.

A Great Book

I want to first start out by sharing about possibly one of the most valuable books I’ve come across about extra income ideas – Put More Cash In Your Pocket, by Loral Langemeier. And it fits right in with the idea of work after retirement.

The specific goal of the book is to make extra money fast -- to launch your idea and get the first payment, all within 30 days. The goal in the book is to make $500 to $1000 extra per month in new cash. If you can put in more than part time hours for work after retirement, your income of course goes up. And you use skills, knowledge or hobbies you already have, “with a twist,” as she says. (We have a page at Finding A Hobby that may give you ideas too). And even provides a couple pages full of ideas in the book. I first wondered, What? Is that really possible?

But this small, easy-to read book is complete with very specific to-do steps, charts, worksheets, etc. The author shows in precise detail how four very different people made new income doing very different things (including power washing) within the 30 days.. Plus she has other ideas that are excellent for work after retirement, such as a dog walking business.

For instance, at $15 an hour for dog walking, if you walk three dogs a day Monday through Friday, you’d make an extra $1000 per month. Cut that in about half if you want to work less and make $500.

Other miscellaneous work she details include tutoring, computer fixing, reading tarot cards (!), catering, cooking lessons, teaching music, desktop publishing, bookkeeping, fitness instruction, foreign language lessons, handyman, and more.

How To Plan

First, of course, you have to decide how much you need in extra income per month when you work after retirement. Divide it by four weeks, and you’ll know how much you need to make per week. You’ll figure out how much you’d charge per hour, and then you’ll know how many hours you’d be putting in per week. How to duplicate something similar that is out there instead of reinventing the wheel; yet be unique.  And you may actually find you can work a bit more than you thought, bringing in more money.

If you want to work from home -- In a nutshell, besides deciding how much money you want to make, how much time you can put in with work after retirement, and which skills and interests to utilize…
You also need to know about:

•    What others with similar work are doing
•    How much they charge
•    Pretend you’re a customer, or research online
•    How to just duplicate what's already successful
•    How much you will charge
•    What you can do to improve or stand apart
•    How to then charge a little more
•    Who your market really is
•    What start-up costs you may have, if any
•    How to organize and schedule
•    How you are going to get customers/clients
•    Keep it simple; don’t overwhelm yourself or you won’t start

These are some of the specifics that all work involves, and that is addressed in the book. I’ve recommended this book to dozens of people who want to work after retirement.

Work Ideas

The following are different types of extra income ideas done by people I know. And they’re all doing what they know how to do. (The book mentioned above also specifically helps you to get the word out, also known as marketing). I hope some of these ideas can trigger brainstorms for you too!

I have a friend who is a hair stylist. She works at the salon part time, and decided to get her license to do hair in-home. Now she also styles at the nursing homes and assisted living nearby, plus goes to people’s homes. She’s making as much as she does in the salon.

A retired guy in town has been doing metal detecting for several years and gave a talk on it, which I went to because I was so fascinated. He told about how he made all kinds of money (finding actual money, but also items he could sell including jewelry). He always took it while traveling too, and made quite a nice little income on the side. Plus got outside and got some exercise. I even had a guest write a page about how to do this, at Treasure Hunting With Metal Detectors.

Someone I know is a retired farmer who wanted to work after retirement, and specifically with animals. So he got a job at a local zoo working at their baby animal barn and teaching visiting kids (and adults) all about them. In fact, he talked the zoo into expanding their program to accommodate what he wanted to do!

A former boss got laid off, but instead of panicking, she decided to do what she’d always wanted to – have a dog walking service. She has a steady clientele, walking their dogs and doing pet sitting, and has never been happier.

Years ago I knew a gentleman who retired from the Air Force. He also had basic bookkeeping skills, so his work after retirement involved doing bookkeeping and taxes for several steady clients. He brought in a very lucrative additional income.

I’ve noticed that people who have had a professional background in accounting, finance, business, teaching, nursing, and even law, have a fairly easy time extending the same work into part-time retirement jobs, including from their own home.

Another friend is a nurse. She realized the great need for seniors especially, to receive basic foot care; but many needed it in their homes. (I have her visit us regularly to do my Dad’s feet). Her routine service entails toenail and fingernail cutting, a basic foot check, plus a bubbly foot bath (in a small electric model that she carries with her), and a foot, leg, and hand massage with lotion. A session takes 35 to 40 minutes of her time.

Since Medicare no longer covers this service with a podiatrist, her business has virtually exploded. She can make one visit to one senior building, and do several people in one day without traveling elsewhere. Now her mother, also a nurse, is helping her do the same work after retirement.

A local woman in our town began a miscellaneous and errand service business -- doing errands, organizing, house cleaning, even help with moving. She soon had a thriving business, expanding services as people inquired. Her husband joined her, doing basic repair work, painting, and small construction projects.

I knew a retired lady years ago who loved babies and began taking care of infants in her home, just one at a time. She began to work after retirement for someone she knew, and when that child was ready for pre-school, word spread that she did infant care and had an opening. She was never without a client. A real need!

A fella I’ve known for decades got laid off from his management job, and wasn't ready to "retire" yet. He was really good at painting the interiors of houses, as well as basic construction and handyman work. Job hunting in his field was almost pointless and he needed to do something. He launched his new business and now makes more than he did before. And is happier. To get the word out, he did a couple freebies for friends, got some referrals and gave a discount, got more referrals, and also passed around flyers in the neighborhood. He was good, efficient, and cost less than competitors.

We have a couple colleges where I live. A friend who retired from her office job placed an ad in both college papers and hung notices on their bulletin boards about her typing, editing and proofreading skills. Her work after retirement is making her a nice little income on the side.

Likewise, a woman I know who had a background in working with seniors began her own business doing home services for the elderly. She did their errands and shopping, took them to appointments, did a little housekeeping. She served as a companion as well, reading, baking with them, watching movies, doing activities and/or crafts, helping with a little exercise, having coffee, etc. She was a certified aid, but with many of these activities, no certification would be necessary. Just a little love and a helping hand. For many, their work after retirement involves helping those who are retired.

One of my neighbors had been in the corporate world forever. Upon retirement, he set up a small engine repair business out of his garage. I regularly brought my lawn mower, snow blower and weed whacker for service and repairs. He usually had complimentary coffee there, and lots of good conversation too. During certain seasons, his work after retirement became pretty much full time.

Similarly, another friend who was already familiar with appliance repair, took a course to further enhance his skills and set up a thriving business. He coupled this with a little handyman work on the side.

Another woman in town who I met set up a small business as a seamstress in her home. She did alterations and specialty sewing and always stayed busy. Eventually she also ended up doing some costume design and sewing work for the colleges in town.

For years I had a retired neighbor who had a small yard service business come over and mow my lawn once a week, do a little extra yard work, and rake my leaves in the fall (I had a ton of trees and no time). His rates were so reasonable, and he loved being in the outdoors and getting exercise. In the winter he also did a little snow blowing. His wife also did seasonal gardening. (She also started working in the local gardening nursery). They'd decided they needed some kind of work after retirement that would keep them active.

When I was doing property management in a predominantly over-50s building, I knew several people who had some good ways to earn extra money. One man drove the activities bus for the local middle school and high school. He was the bus driver on field trips and for sporting events with the teams. He loved it, got see the games, and became good friends with many of the kids and their families.

Another person became a tutor for children after school, especially in reading. She was excellent with a particular learn-to-read program based on phonics that really worked. Word spread because the parents were so thrilled with the outcome, so that her work after retirement was making her much more money than anticipated. Math is another much-needed subject for tutoring .

I know two musically talented people who have put their skills to work after retirement. One teaches music lessons (piano) in his home, but sometimes in the client’s home too. He also made arrangements with the local music store to be their piano instructor as well. If one of his students ends up buying a piano, he gets a commission.

He also plays at weddings and has a steady gig in one of the fine restaurants in his town. When I was growing up my piano teacher was also retired and teaching lessons on the side. This works for any kind of instrument. Teaching music can be really good work after retirement, usually bringing in about $25 per lesson.

The other guy, who’d been in an unrelated sales job for many years before retirement, joined a band afterwards. Now he and his friends have steady gigs around town. He can play drums or guitar, and has also been asked to be a substitute player for others bands when they need someone.

Speaking of creative, if you know anyone with a daughter who loves American Girl (or other) dolls, you’ll know their wardrobes can be a bit expensive.  Making doll clothes and accessories can be very successful.

I bought all of my daughter’s doll clothes from a local lady I’d met at a craft show. She always added just a little something extra to the outfit to makes hers stand out, at little additional cost to her. I could even tell her what I wanted, pick out fabric, and go over to her house later to pick it up. She had a little room set up as her designated sewing and display area. And naturally, a selection of “impulse” items which customers (like myself) just could not resist.

Along the same line, at another craft show there was a husband and wife team. He built the American Girl-sized doll furniture, and she painted it. I got a beautiful chest and doll bed for my daughter from them. They also make doll house items. Now they have an online business through their web site.

If you’re an artist or crafter, doing the craft shows can provide some really fun work after retirement. I know a woman who specialized in making stuffed snowmen out of (used) white chenille bedspread fabric. She made many at a time, assembly-line style. Soon she had a following. After about three years (with a new collectible snowman or woman character each year, she was making thousands of dollars in profit... for a few months of work and shows. Eventually her husband started helping her. They got a business name and tax ID number, so were able to buy all supplies wholesale.

If you don't want to do the craft shows, consider selling your creations online at etsy.com -- specializing only in hand-made items of all kinds by artists and crafters. People do very well selling on this site.

My sister is a nurse, and when she “retired” she became a geriatric caseworker in her town, and kept as busy as she wanted to be. Her husband for awhile installed the home set-up for the medical alert pendants that many seniors now use.

A Few More In A Nutshell

A woman skilled at sewing at home began working in a fabric store and also taught beginner sewing classes.

The local craft store, a large chain, hires retired people to teach a variety of classes. Including cake decorating.

Speaking of which, I have a friend who’s been an amateur cake decorator for years, and now does some catering out of her home, as well as working on the side for the bakery in a grocery store – her decorating really stands out.

Teach computer skills (to any age group, including seniors) at a local community ed center. Community ed provides great opportunities for work after retirement, and classes run in cycles throughout the year.

Likewise, teach a foreign language (or any other skill or craft you may have). I know a lady who teaches a type of yoga, including classes for seniors, and her classes are always full. When one season at the center ends, another begins; so she’s never without income.

Another acquaintance has taken up taxidermy. He took some classes to learn what to do, and now has a waiting list of customers.

How To Get The Word Out

How did all of these people start their work after retirement? When I chat with them, they almost all say the same thing…
It’s a combination doing a few freebies or generously discounted services for friends to get the ball rolling, and the friend gives referrals who get a nice discount. Their referrals also get a discount (but not as big).

They also handing out business cards or half-sheet announcements (which are bigger than cards so they don’t get lost) wherever they go. Hanging flyers and passing them out door-to-door (grandkids can do this too). And just plain approaching who they want to work for.

If you're serious about doing some work after retirement, be sure to read the book I mentioned above, Put More Cash In Your Pocket, because you’ll get very specific steps. And according to the author, there is no need for anyone to penny pinch during retirement. As long as a person can do something, including from home, and is willing to put in a little effort, there is tons of potential out there.

Other Employment For Seniors

There are, of course, employment agencies who do specifically work with seniors. But perhaps you still are interested in working from home, but don’t want to start anything yourself.

Online call center work – You may have heard of working from your computer for an online company, such as those who offer call center services to clients (and you’d be a member of the call center staff from home) do your research.

The companies are indeed bona fide. But if you search the company name online first, you’ll be able to access reviews from real at-home employees (such as at glassdoor.com ). And those reviews can be very eye-opening. Some good, some bad. It will depend on what you’re willing to try. For those who just want part-time work after retirement, these set-ups may work out fine.

Typical companies that do have good Better Business Bureau ratings are Alpine Access, Convergys, Liveops, and Arise, and there are others. You really can work for them from home. But do the research first. You can do a BBB search at search.bbb.org. But remember, getting a good BBB rating is not the same as getting a good employee rating!

There are a lot of work-at-home scams out there. Some pay very little, have stressful methods of rating employee work, and little management support.

Other companies require you to put money down for “training,” and then you get very little work. Or no work -- they've taken your money. Others just want you to fill out an application, so they can get all your personal information. So be careful.

Freelance computer work -- There are reputable opportunities available in which you get to choose the jobs you want to bid for and do, such as typing, web site design, graphic design, writing, editing, sometimes even accounting.  I know several people who have needed projects done, placed work orders on these web sites, and gotten really good help; so the work is real. Some of the companies I am familiar with are:
•    mturk.com, (Mechanical Turk) which is part of Amazon
•    odesk,com 
•    elance.com
•    freelance.com
•    guru.com

You bid on projects that people need expertise with, and you usually need references to prove your ability. And you can sign up at several of the web sites simultaneously.

At-home assembly work – I’ve been asked about this a couple times. I’m familiar with the Magical Gift Company (a.k.a .New England Crafters).  See magicalgift.com . It’s real work from home making crafts. However, from the feedback I’ve seen, when you boil down to time vs. pay, you make about $3 to $4 per item, but it equals about $1 an hour. So you’d really need to love what you’re doing, see it as strictly a part-time sort of hobby, be patient, and read reviews about working for the company! This can be relaxing work after retirement that you can do in front of the TV or while listening to the radio.

SeniorJobBank – See http://www.seniorjobbank.org .This is one of the most well-know job search sites particularly for seniors. You can search out senior-friendly companies in your area, with all types of employment and pay scales. These are not at-home jobs.

It’s a known fact that when we keep busy after retirement doing something interesting and fulfilling, we keep our mental faculties sharp. Working is good for the brain! And it's good for the pocketbook.

(P.S. -- If you have concerns about debt, do see our page all about the inside scoop in the world of collections, and why they may go after seniors. It can be confusing and shocking. I know. I was the "insider," at a collection law office/debt buyer. And I give some important tips on our page about paying off debt.)



Be sure to also read:

Crafts and Gifts You Can Make – Our craft books with lots of gift ideas that you can also sell. I used many of these to sell in local gift and florist shops, and also craft shows.


Check out our Share Forum and see what our readers say about extra income ideas.



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