Every year, hundreds of thousands of people retire around the United States. Of course, the act of retiring is practically synonymous with idleness, but many retirees find fulfilling work in their retirement — especially if they have a good plan to keep themselves engaged and productive.

Many people choose to pick up jobs within their fields, sometimes filling out the ranks of another company or business as it expands its workforce. Others elect to move away from traditional employment environments and start their own small businesses or join an entrepreneurial startup that’s just getting off the ground.

Many types of workers are drawn into entrepreneurship during retirement because they can offer years of experience for younger entrepreneurs who are just starting out on their career-building projects. Some retirees are even able to rekindle their love of learning by working as interns for new businesses in their area.

If you’re thinking about retirement, you might be wondering what’s available to fill your days when the time comes. Here are some popular retirement jobs that seniors have turned to successfully in recent years:


Consulting is a career path that can keep someone busy well past the traditional retirement age. Those who start this type of work after just five or 10 years in another field often excel at it because they bring with them years of experience and business insights that can provide comprehensive advice for clients across a wide range of industries. Anyone looking to consult should consider starting their own practice rather than working for an established consulting firm because there are fewer barriers to entry in the field.

Substitute teacher

For many retirees, this is an ideal part-time position that can provide them with some extra cash while allowing them to spend their mornings doing any number of things. Some retirees use their morning hours to exercise, volunteer for important causes, or get started on home maintenance projects that have been hanging around the house for months or years.

There are also more than half a dozen states where retired teachers can return to work without having to get licensed again — just check your state’s particular regulations if you’re interested in substituting at school after your retirement. Teachers who do want to pursue licensing will be glad to know it’s fairly easy and cheap (read: inexpensive resources) to obtain a basic substitute teaching license in most states, but the requirements vary by location.

Real estate investor/estate planner

If you have enough retirement savings to live comfortably for the rest of your life without needing to touch your principal, you might be able to turn those assets into an income stream through investments. Real estate investments are particularly popular among retirees who are eager to keep their money working for them long after they’ve retired from full-time employment. You can either invest directly or work with a firm that specializes in managing large portfolios of real estate investments for individual investors.

Working as an estate planner allows retirees to earn extra cash during their early years of semi-retirement while also ensuring that loved ones will be taken care of after they’re gone. Estate planning is also a popular profession for those who want to continue their work as lawyers, but it’s typically only necessary if you have assets worth at least $500,000 or more that you’ll be leaving to heirs — most people won’t need to worry about estate planning until they reach this threshold.

Adjunct professor

College teaching is an unlikely option for many retirees because most colleges and universities demand that part-time profs be actively working in the field and bringing new insights to the table. However, retired professionals with advanced degrees can sometimes secure adjunct positions at local colleges through connections with retired colleagues or professors who are willing to hire them as contract workers. This type of work is typically flexible, allowing retirees to pick up an extra class or two in their free time while pursuing other interests.

Fundraiser/volunteer coordinator

Many retirees find they have excellent communication skills and lots of time on their hands after leaving the workforce behind — both traits that can translate well to volunteering and fundraising. Jobs like these allow retirees to keep their skills fresh while also helping people or organizations in need.

Regardless of what you decide, make sure it is something you will enjoy!

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Join a growing community of women who are breaking down aging stereotypes and creating a fresh perspective toward embracing life after 50.

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Join our growing community of women who are breaking down aging stereotypes and
creating a fresh perspective toward embracing life after 50.