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Millions of Americans are finding the leisurely retirement of their dreams is just that: a dream. Some have to work because their retirement savings and/or Social Security income won’t go far enough. Maybe the mortgage, car loan or credit cards they thought would long be paid off by now aren’t.
Others may realize they need to be cautious about tapping sources of retirement income. In a recent radio interview with financial planner Charles Alkire, he told me that delaying Social Security can be the single most important decision a retiree makes about his or her financial future. It can literally make or break their financial security in retirement.
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For those wondering, “But what am I going to do now?” the new book, AARP Great Jobs For Everyone 50+ by Kerry Hannon comes to the rescue. It takes a detailed look at many job opportunities available, and also offers strategies for networking, resume writing and interviewing; all things you may not have had to do for a while.
So whether you are looking for some fun ways to keep busy during semi-retirement while putting a little extra money in your pocket, or you are looking for a way make sure your sources of retirement income last as long as possible, here are five fun jobs to consider for a part-time gig or an encore career, excerpted from the book:
1. Fitness Trainer
While this may conjure up pictures of buff twenty-somethings at your local gym, there are also opportunities here for more mature workers. (Career opportunities also include personal trainers and physical conditioners.) While most fitness trainers do still work at gyms, there are growing opportunities at senior living communities, wellness centers and more.
Fitness trainers can also choose to specialize in water aerobics or “accessible” yoga, for example. Hannon says you do need to be in good physical shape, and training in nutrition is also helpful. You may also need to obtain certification and purchase liability insurance.
“There is a growing senior market who needs this kind of help,” says Hannon, and “They don’t need a 20-year old to tell them what to do.” Plus, who better to understand client’s aches and pains than someone who has had a few herself?
How much can you earn? The median scale is $17-$30 an hour, though some can earn as much as $100 an hour.
2. Adjunct Professor
Community colleges often need professors, both for in-classroom and online courses. Summer courses, as well as those offered nights and weekends, are common, says Hannon. While some positions require a master’s degree, it is possible to land a position with just a bachelor’s degree if you have the right experience, including job experience.
Curious? Pick up a catalog from your local community college to learn about they types of courses offered. And check out opportunities at AdjunctProfessorsOnline.com and HigheredJobs.com.
How much can you earn? While the average is $1000-$1800 a course at community colleges, when you break it down to an hourly rate, typical earnings are $30-$40/hour.
3. Jobs at Ball Parks
If you love hanging out at the ballpark, you may be able to pick up work that lets you do just that. Granted, you’re probably not going to have much opportunity to enjoy the games, but you’ll still get to hear the roar of the crowd when players hit home runs. Hannon writes: “Ballparks around the country are scouting for seasonal usher, ticket takers, box office attendants, ballpark guides, cashiers, bartenders, suite attendants, in-seat servers, concession stand workers, and more.” Similar opportunities are available for spring training camps in Arizona and Florida.
How much can you earn? $7.50-$10 an hour at spring training camps; $8-$11.50 an hour at major league ballparks.
4. Tour Jobs
If you love teaching and people, a tour job may be worth checking into. There are opportunities at historic sites or cities, as well as at unusual places you may not have thought of, such as “pretzel factories, wineries, breweries, and more,” Hannon points out. The downside is you may be on your feet and talking for hours on end, both of which can be physically taxing.
How Much Can You Earn? $7.72-$18.87 an hour is the typical range.
5. Veterinary Assistant
“If you have the time and a real love of animals, this is an area that is rapidly growing,” Hannon told me. “There is a huge demand for veterinary assistants.” Indeed, in her book she points out that the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook predicts employment in this field will grow 52% from 2010-2020.
But this is not a job you’ll be able to transition into without training and skills. Most vet techs earn a two-year associate’s degree from one of about 200 programs accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. A credentialing exam is required as well.
How much can you earn? In May 2010, the median wage was $29,710, says Hannon, while PayScale.com put the pay range at $9.40-$17.71 per hour — and up to $27.62 overtime.
For those who have already worked for 25-30 years or more, the job search is about finding a way to “redeploy skills you already have,” says Hannon. And if you are burnt out on the field you spent so many years working in, checking out new opportunities can help you “get excited about work again. Sometimes at this age you think, ‘I’ve been doing this so long,’ so that’s when you need to dig deep and figure out what you want to do.”
For detailed descriptions of these and many other job opportunities, I encourage you to check out Great Jobs for Everyone 50+ by Kerry Hannon.
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