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Employment for Retirees: A Look at Your Options

If you can afford to retire without working, you’re lucky. Many retirees have to take a job after they retire for financial reasons. Others prefer to keep busy—and think of retirement as an opportunity to pursue work they love, rather than a paycheck. No matter what your reasons, here’s an overview of your options if you’re considering working after retirement.

Part-time employment


Retirement can often present an opportunity to pursue a dream you’ve held for a long time—such as making a career change or owning your own business. 



Getting a part-time job might be exactly what you need after retiring—a low-stress position with a company you love, doing something you enjoy on a part-time basis. And if you can afford having a part-time paycheck, that would be ideal.

Some part-time positions involve cashiering, answering phones, and other menial tasks. Jobs like this don’t pay well and often don’t offer benefits—although some, like Starbucks, do. If you’re interested in a part-time job, look for one that draws on one of your passions—working for a kitchen store if you love cooking, or working the till at your local museum if you love art and history. 

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Owning your own business

Some retirees take the plunge into business ownership after they retire—when they have the time and money to get going. Opening a restaurant, a store, or an online Etsy craft shop can be exciting—but can also be risky, especially if you have a lot of up-front costs for materials, space, and other things.

If you plan to open a business, be sure your finances can handle it. Don’t wager all your retirement money on the business’s success. Instead, do the math and find out what the financial impact would be if the worst-case scenario happens. If you’d be sunk if the restaurant fails, for example, it might be best to look for a less risky investment.

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Not all careers move easily into freelancing opportunities. But some do. As a freelancer, you’d be working independently for one or more different companies on a contract basis—limited contracts, possibly full-time for a certain amount of time, and possibly part-time.

Freelancing involves owning your own business as well. But, depending on the type of freelancing you’re doing, it can be less risky—because your cost of overhead is lighter. Also, if you stay in the industry you’ve been in throughout your career, it’s likely you already have contacts who can help you find contract work.


If you were in an executive-level position at your last job before retirement, chances are you could get work as a consultant—advising people who are still in the business. Consultants are freelancers, as well—but they tend to be highly experienced, highly paid, and valued more for their advice and insight than their ability to implement. Consulting can be a lucrative part-time job, if you can make it work.

Full-time employment

It’s possible you need to go back to work full-time for financial reasons—or simply miss the excitement of a full-time job. If that’s the case, you may be able to find a new full-time position—but it can be difficult, especially if you’re returning to work after several years of retirement. Still, full-time jobs include full-time wages and benefits—and the trade-off may be worth it.

Retirement can often present an opportunity to pursue a dream you’ve held for a long time—such as making a career change or owning your own business. But some retirees go back to work because they need the money. Whatever your reason, research your opportunities carefully. Often, full-time work is the hardest to get after retirement—but that doesn’t mean you don’t have options.