Working After Retirement: Alternative Ways On Your Own Terms [You Wish! No Chance]

Updated: June 21, 2023
by TJ Salvatore

Are you nearing retirement age but not quite ready to hang up your hat? Many older adults are redefining what it means to retire and opting for alternative ways to work and live on their own terms. From starting their own businesses to volunteering or returning to the workforce, there are more options than ever before for seniors who want to stay active and engaged in their communities while still enjoying a fulfilling lifestyle. If that’s what you want too, then read on!

Working After Retirement: Alternative Ways On Your Own Terms

Discover Alternative Ways to Work and Live

I will start by examining the reasons behind more older adults are choosing to continue working in some capacity rather than fully retiring. Then I’ll share some of the myths surrounding retirement and discuss popular jobs for those who want to keep working with you.

After that, I’ll show you how you can be your own boss by starting your own business, including benefits and tips for successful entrepreneurship in retirement. Let me also cover the many benefits of volunteering in retirement, from finding a purpose to discovering fulfilling opportunities.

For those who may want to return to work but need additional training or experience, we've got you covered with information on adult internships and job training programs geared toward seniors.

So let’s examine whether traditional retirement is becoming obsolete as more seniors opt for positive alternatives focused on balancing work with leisure activities. If you're thinking about retiring but aren't sure what path is right for you, keep reading!

Retirement Trends and Why Older Adults Aren't Retiring

Here are the reasons not to retire but continue working well beyond the traditional retirement age. 

Financial Reasons

Many people may not have saved enough for retirement or may have experienced financial setbacks, such as economic recessions or unexpected expenses. Inadequate savings or a need for additional income can lead older adults to continue working to support themselves financially.

Longer Life Expectancy

People are living longer due to advancements in healthcare and improved living conditions. With increased life expectancy, people may feel the need to work longer to ensure they have enough savings to support their extended retirement period.

Changing Retirement Aspirations

Some older adults may not want to retire completely. They may prefer to remain engaged in work to stay mentally and socially active, pursue personal interests, or maintain a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Health and Well-Being

Improved healthcare and a greater emphasis on personal wellness have enabled older adults to maintain good health and vitality for longer. As a result, many people feel physically capable of continuing to work and see no immediate need to retire.

Shifts in Work Dynamics

The nature of work has changed, with more opportunities for flexible work arrangements and remote work. This flexibility allows people to continue working part-time, start their own businesses, or take on consulting roles, making it easier for them to balance work and personal life.

Social Connections and Identity

Work provides social interaction and a sense of identity for many people. Retiring from a career can lead to a loss of social connections and a feeling of purposelessness, which some older adults seek to avoid by remaining in the workforce.

Knowledge and Experience Retention

Older adults often possess valuable knowledge, skills, and experience that can benefit employers and colleagues. Employers are recognizing the value of retaining experienced workers and may offer incentives to encourage them to continue working.

Changes in Pension and Retirement Benefits

In some cases, changes in pension plans or retirement benefits have made it less financially advantageous for people to retire early. This can influence older adults' decisions to continue working until they reach the eligibility requirements for maximum benefits.

Popular Jobs for the Older Crowd

Retirement and financial planning

There are certain jobs that tend to be more popular among older people while being relatively less attractive to younger people. These jobs often align with the life stage, experience, and preferences of those who are aged. 

#1 Retirement and financial planning advisors: 

Older people nearing retirement age often prioritize retirement planning and seek guidance from professionals in this field. 

Youngsters may be more focused on building their careers, saving for major life milestones like buying a home or starting a family, or paying off student loans. Retirement planning may not be a top concern for themselves, then inevitably, they don’t feel they’re at the position to give advice at that stage of life.

#2 Home health aides and caregivers

As the aging population increases, there is a growing demand for home health aides and caregivers. Older people may be more drawn to these roles as they have empathy and may find fulfillment in providing care and support to older adults. 

Youngsters may have career aspirations in other fields of healthcare, such as nursing, medical research, or specialized medical roles. They may be more interested in pursuing positions that offer higher levels of responsibility, professional growth, or intellectual challenges.

#3 Senior services and recreation coordinators

Older people may have a deep understanding of the needs and preferences of their age group. They may be more inclined to pursue roles that involve coordinating and organizing senior services, recreational activities, or social programs.

Young people may have different interests and preferences when it comes to the types of populations they want to work with. They may be more inclined to work with children, adolescents, or younger adults, or have a specific focus on certain specialties within their field of interest.

#4 Encore career or second career roles

Some older people choose to pursue an encore career or a second career after retiring from their primary occupation. These roles often leverage their previous skills and experiences while providing new challenges or a sense of fulfillment. 

Youngsters are often in the early stages of their careers and may be focused on building foundational experience and advancing in their chosen field. They may not yet be considering or ready for a second career or a significant shift in their professional path.

#5 Part-time retail or customer service positions

Older people may be attracted to part-time positions in retail or customer service as these roles offer flexibility and opportunities for social interaction. Younger people, who may be focused on full-time career development or pursuing other industries, may be less inclined towards these types of positions due to their differing priorities and aspirations.

Younger people may prioritize positions that align more closely with their career goals or offer opportunities for skill development and advancement within their chosen industry. They may seek roles that provide a foundation for their desired career trajectory rather than part-time positions that primarily offer flexibility and social interaction.

Be Your Own Boss: Alternative Ways to Work in Retirement

Retirement is no longer about putting your feet up and relaxing; it’s more about exploring new opportunities to work on your own terms. Starting a business in retirement can be incredibly rewarding, both personally and financially.

One of the benefits of starting your own business in retirement is that you get to call the shots. You are free to choose what kind of work you want to do, when you want to do it, and how much time you want to devote. This flexibility allows retirees to pursue their passions while still earning an income.

Starting a small business also provides retirees with an opportunity for continued personal growth. It requires learning new skills, networking with other professionals, and developing marketing strategies - all activities that keep the mind active and engaged.

When considering starting a business in retirement there are some important tips to keep in mind: start small, leverage existing resources such as social media or personal networks, manage cash flow wisely and seek advice from experienced entrepreneurs or mentors.

What Kind Of Business Can You Run?

home business

Older people can consider starting businesses that leverage their experience, skills, and knowledge. Here are some business ideas that are relatively easy to learn, have lower competition, and can be well-suited for older entrepreneurs:

#1 Consulting/Coaching

As we age, we gain a wealth of knowledge and expertise in specific industries or professions. They can offer consulting services or become coaches, providing guidance and advice to individuals or businesses based on their specialized knowledge.

#2 Home-based services

Starting a home-based business can be a convenient option for older entrepreneurs. Examples include offering home organizing services, home staging, pet sitting, or elder care services. These businesses often require minimal upfront investment and can be tailored to fit your capabilities and interests.

#3 Handcrafted products

It’s safe to say the older generations have more craftsmanship skills than younger ones because that’s how they entertained themselves without the digital existence. 

They can create and sell handcrafted products such as jewelry, woodworking items, ceramics, or artwork. Online platforms and local craft markets can provide avenues for selling these products.

#4 Senior-focused services

Businesses that cater to the needs of seniors are always good because because we all know that we need certain age-related services once we get to the age, but we never appreciate them until the time arrives. Older entrepreneurs can sell senior-focused services well because the experiences are more real.

This can include services like senior transportation, home modification and accessibility solutions, meal delivery, or specialized fitness classes designed for older adults.

#5 Personal services

Personal services that target specific niches can be a viable option. For example, offering personal shopping services for busy professionals or providing personalized event planning and coordination services. These businesses can leverage personal connections and tailor services to meet specific client needs.

#6 Tour guiding

Older individuals with extensive knowledge about their local area or a specific region can offer guided tours to tourists or provide specialized niche tours like historical tours, nature walks, or culinary experiences. This can be an opportunity to share their passion and expertise with others.

7 Tips for Successful Entrepreneurship in Retirement

Successful entrepreneurship in retirement can be achieved by focusing on certain factors that are particularly advantageous for older generations. Here are some tips specifically tailored to retired entrepreneurs:

Tip 1: Leverage your experience and expertise

If you have a background in project management, you can start a consulting business where you offer project management services specifically tailored to small businesses or non-profit organizations. Your years of experience and industry knowledge can help guide clients through complex projects and improve their operational efficiency.

Tip 2: Tap into your network

Reach out to your retired colleagues or contacts in your previous industry and offer your services as a freelance consultant or advisor. For instance, if you worked in the healthcare field, you can provide consulting services on healthcare policy, compliance, or patient care improvement initiatives.

Tip 3: Embrace your unique perspective

If you have a passion for senior fitness and well-being, you can start a business offering personalized fitness training sessions for older adults. You can design exercise programs that cater to their specific needs, focusing on mobility, flexibility, and overall health improvement.

Tip 4: Prioritize work-life balance

Consider starting a home-based business offering professional organizing services specifically targeted at older individuals who may need assistance with downsizing, decluttering, and creating functional living spaces that accommodate their changing needs.

Tip 5: Adapt to technology

If you have a passion for writing, you can start a blog or create digital content focused on topics of interest to older adults, such as retirement planning, travel tips, or health and wellness. Embrace social media platforms to share your content and engage with your target audience.

Tip 6: Stay curious and continue learning

Enroll in courses or workshops that focus on entrepreneurship for older adults or specific skills relevant to your business. For instance, if you plan to start a catering business, you can take culinary courses to enhance your cooking techniques or attend workshops on small business management.

Tip 7: Seek guidance and support

Connect with organizations that specifically cater to retired entrepreneurs, such as Senior Entrepreneurship Works or AARP's Entrepreneurship program. These organizations offer resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities tailored to the needs of older entrepreneurs.

8 Tips to Finding a Job in Retirement


Here are some tips for finding a job in retirement, including the aspect of obtaining references:

Tip 1: Leverage your network

Reach out to your professional and personal contacts to let them know you're seeking employment. They may have leads on job opportunities or be willing to provide references for you.

Tip 2: Tap into professional associations

Join industry-specific associations or organizations related to your field of interest. Attend events, network with fellow professionals, and explore job boards or member directories that may have job postings.

Tip 3: Update your resume

Tailor your resume to highlight relevant skills, experience, and accomplishments. Incorporate keywords and phrases specific to the job you're applying for. Mention your references available upon request, but refrain from including their contact information on your resume.

Tip 4: Prepare your references

Contact potential references to inform them of your job search and seek their permission to list them as references. Provide them with an updated copy of your resume and brief them on the types of positions you're targeting. Make sure to choose references who can speak positively about your work and character.

Tip 5: Seek part-time or flexible work

Consider positions that offer part-time hours, flexible schedules, or remote work options. These types of roles can be a good fit for retirees seeking work-life balance while still utilizing their skills and expertise.

Tip 6: Try online job platforms

Register on job websites and platforms that cater to retirees or offer part-time and flexible job opportunities. These platforms often provide filters to narrow down job searches based on your preferences.

Tip 7: Online presence and LinkedIn

LinkedIn cannot be underestimated. While anyone can create a fictitious social media account using an avatar, LinkedIn actually helps you enhance your online presence, especially if you’re looking for a job.

Ensure your profile is up to date, showcases your skills and experience, and emphasizes your availability for work. Engage with relevant professional groups and people to expand your network.

Tip 8: Prepare for interviews

Practice common interview questions and prepare examples that demonstrate your skills, experience, and value. Be ready to discuss how your background and expertise make you a valuable asset to potential employers.

Designing Your Retirement Lifestyle

Balance work and leisure during retirement, that’s the most important thing, really, as you probably know. We don’t know when but the time will run out soon. Working too much can lead to burnout and stress while having too much leisure time can lead to boredom and lack of fulfillment.

Retirement is no longer just about reaching a certain age and stopping work. Today's older adults have more options than ever when it comes to designing their retirement lifestyle. Whether you choose to start your own business, volunteer your time, or return to work in a new capacity, the key is finding an activity that brings you fulfillment and purpose.

By busting retirement myths and exploring alternative ways of working and living in retirement, we hope this article has provided you with inspiration for designing your own unique retirement lifestyle. Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to retiring on your own terms – it's all about discovering what works best for you.

So take some time to reflect on what kind of retirement lifestyle would bring you joy and fulfillment. With the right attitude and approach, the possibilities are endless!

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About the author 

TJ Salvatore

A freelancer. A nomad. An LGBTQ and animal rights activist. Love meeting new people, exploring new styles of living, new technologies and gadgets, new ways of making money.

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