more americans than ever are working past retirement age, whether it's to supplement a nest egg or just to stay active. an aarp survey of workers over 50 in 2011 found that almost half planned to work at least part-time in retirement. here are five senior-friendly careers suitable for those not quite ready to hang up their hats:
leverage those managerial skills and stuffed rolodex into a rewarding job with your favorite nonprofit. "older workers have networks that are really valuable to employers, especially for fundraising," says richard johnson, a research director on retirement and income for the urban institute. he also warns that the stress of raising money can sometimes cause burnout, and cash-strapped nonprofits may not jump to hire expensive, older workers.
put a career's worth of expertise to good use by independently contracting your skills to established contacts within your field. a consulting role offers scheduling flexibility and independence that older workers tend to value in a job. the downside? the irregularity of freelance work can be an adjustment for those used to a more regular paycheck.
the personal caregiving field is booming, and the u.s. projects to add 460,000 home health aide jobs by 2018. in particular, there's been an upswing in older workers caring for still older counterparts. but the physical and emotional toll of such positions can be taxing. some good alternatives are wellness coaching and community health work.
for many, the golden years are a chance to use one's life experience to help others via social work, life coaching and even the clergy: baby boomers are the fastest-growing demographic at u.s. divinity schools, according to the association of theological schools. "it's a good fit because they've been through a significant part of their life cycle and they can relate," says marci alboher, vice president of civic ventures, a think tank on boomers and work with social purpose.
retail sales are one of the most common late-career jobs, though real estate and insurance sales careers are picking up among older workers, as well. buyers often trust a more mature salesperson, johnson says. entering these jobs requires some advance planning because of license requirements. but it can pay off, especially in areas with healthier housing markets.