By CATEY HILL
By now, almost anyone> with an IRA has probably considered the prospect of working, at least a little bit, in retirement. But new research shows something surprising: Far more people who are working in retirement are doing so because they want to, not because they need to. For them, there's good news. The pool of part-time, flexible-schedule, professional jobs precisely the ones that appeal to retirees is growing.
And while the job market has been dismal as a whole, there's good news, a CareerBuilder.com survey of 2,400 hiring managers found that 13% plan to hire part-time employees in 2011. And 34% said they will hire contract or temporary workers this year. That's up from 11% who said they'd hire part-timers and 30% who said they'd bring on temps or contract workers a year ago. For employers, part-time, contract and temporary hires are an easy way to get the staff they need while saving money, as temps and part-timers often get no benefits, says Art Koff, founder of RetiredBrains.com, a job search site for older workers.
For many retirees, "'working in retirement' is quickly becoming a new stage in career progression," a 2010 Families and Work Institute Study concludes Of the 20% of retirees currently working for pay, nearly half do it because they'd otherwise be bored or want to feel helpful or productive; 53% also say they'd like a little extra money. But just 18% say they work because their current retirement income is insufficient, according to the study.
Under those conditions, part-time or temporary jobs are often ideal. They can pay enough to provide a meaningful supplement to investment income and social security, but most won't pay so much that social security payments would be reduced. Many offer flexible schedules, whether a week a month, a few months a year, or even on-again, off-again contract work, which means that three weeks at the cabin in the summer is still a realistic option. And many of these jobs allow for the ability to tap into your professional skill set and can serve as a way to meet or even help people, and more, says Marci Alboher, vice president of Civic Ventures.
With that in mind, SmartMoney.com has created a list of jobs that suit this new set of retirees who see work as a choice, not a burden. For them, we looked at criteria critical to the retired-and-working set to find jobs that have relatively good pay, offer flexibility, make use of professional-level skills, and aren't too hard to get. And since many retirees want to give back, we also looked for positions that had a social or philanthropic bent. Below, 13 positions that fit the bill, for all different types of personalities.
Profile: Anyone with subject-matter expertise who values her independence more than a steady cashflow.
Best job: Project-based consultant
What it pays: Self-employed management consultants earn between $50 and $187 per hour; financial consultants up to $102 per hour, according to PayScale.com.
True story: When Kevin McNiff, 64, retired from his job as the CFO of Office of Naval Intelligence in 2002, he wanted to find a temp job so he could stockpile a little more cash. Financial management consulting seemed like a no-brainer; he'd make use of his skills and have flexibility. Since then McNiff has had a steady stream of project work for companies like computing firm Global Systems and Strategies and accountancy KPMG. Like many independent consultants, McNiff usually works for a few months at a time, sometimes up to 40 hours per week, and then takes a break for several weeks or months. One big upside to that pace, he says, is the "forecasted end followed by personal free time."
Successful consultants often have subject-specific expertise that can help companies solve a short-term problem or reach a specific goal. Jobs can last a few weeks or a few months and can require as little as 10 or so hours a week for smaller projects. People with backgrounds in finance, accounting, management, healthcare and information technology are especially in demand for consulting gigs now, says Rachelle Chapman, senior manager of recruitment programs at global staffing firm Adecco. The work can have its downsides: in particular, slow payments from clients and project delays that extend the work longer than planned. Still, McNiff says consulting provides him flexibility to enjoy retirement.
How to land the job: Call former employers, colleagues or clients and offer your skills. Join industry groups on LinkedIn or other professional networking sites to meet more potential clients and find job postings. For example, management consultants might want to join their local chapter of the Institute of Management Consultants, Koff says.
Other jobs like this one:
Tutor: Help students sharpen skills or prep for entrance exams for $15 to $30 per hour more if you can teach specialized or in-demand subjects like MCAT or GMAT prep.
Freelance writer: Write marketing proposals, ads, newsletters and more (eLance.com is a good site for job listings) and make between $20 and $60 per hour, according to Payscale.com.
Profile: Those who like helping people, enjoy one-on-one interaction and have an interest in health care.
Best job: Patient advocate
What it pays: Between $15 and $34 per hour on average, according to recent job listings; advocates with a health care background can earn more.
The appeal: As the population gets older and lives longer the health-care industry is hiring. Ten of the 20 fastest growing occupations are health care-related; the industry is expected to add 3.2 million new jobs between 2008 and 2018, according to the BLS. Many people can move the skills they have from another industry into the field, says Chapman.
Among the fastest-growing options for retirees: Patient advocate positions. Patient advocates act on a patient's behalf in a number of ways, including coordinating care or appointments with various doctors, filling out insurance forms and working with doctors to get better rates on uncovered procedures. Work hours depend on the health situations at hand, and part-time advocates usually work between 10 to 30 hours per week, depending on their patient load and needs. Some advocates work for an individual or family, others at a hospital, nursing home, non-profit or even an insurance company.
How to land the job: Some employers require certification as a patient advocate (courses are available at a growing number of colleges), says Erin Moaratty, a spokesperson for the non-profit Patient Advocate Foundation. Former social workers, insurance or medical professionals are often in highest demand, since knowledge about the ins and outs of the health care and insurance fields and a healthy dose of empathy are critical. Look for openings at local hospitals, rehab centers, nursing homes or nonprofits that deal with health-care issues; many are hiring advocates in bigger numbers than ever before.
Other jobs like this one:
Home health-care aide: Earn $10 - $11 per hour to provide routine, personal care and household help to a patient, including helping him or her take medicine or move around the house, and doing routine household tasks. Senior companions, a related job, keep their charges company and often also ferry them to appointments.
Home modification specialists: Make modifications to a home to make it more liveable for a senior, either figuring out what's needed--like doorway ramps or new caregiving technology and bringing in outside help to do it, or actually doing the work yourself. Pay is based on the size of the project, and starts at about $12 an hour for simple task.
Profile: Those who want to share what they know with others, particularly young people.
Best job: Adjunct Professor
What it pays: Adjunct professors generally earn $30 to $40 per hour or more, according to Payscale.com.
True story: In 2001, when Harold Burstyn, now 80, retired from his full-time job as a patent attorney. But he kept his adjunct professor gig at Syracuse University, which he'd held since 1995. Burstyn, who teaches courses on the legal aspects of engineering and computer science, among other topics, handles one course per semester. It's a job that takes up about five hours per week of his time for preparation, teaching and other work. The gig keeps him engaged in a subject he still loves and adds the element of "opening young people's minds."
Adjuncts like Burstyn typically teach one class a semester, sometimes two. All told, adjuncts can expect to spend between five and 12 hours a week working. The initial time requirement may be heavier at first because lesson plans need development. You'll need to be well-versed in a subject area and can build your credibility for bigger jobs by starting out as an adjunct at a community college.
How to land the job: Find job listings at AdjunctProfessorsOnline.com and HigherEdJobs.com. Some adjunct jobs require a PhD, but the qualifications needed if you're applying for a job teaching in continuing education or for a certificate program aren't as strict, says Roy Cohen, career coach and author, "The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide."
Other jobs like this one:
Librarian or library assistant: Nearly one out of four librarians work part-time, according to the BLS, and they typically earn between $10 and $30 per hour, depending on experience and certification, according to Payscale.com. Public and university libraries often require a master's degree in library science, but many primary school libraries do not.
Museum docent: If you've got knowledge of art or culture, you can put it to use giving museum visitors tours of exhibits, all the while earning about $10 to $15 per hour. Though the specific qualifications vary by museum, "personality, interest and enthusiasm" are key to the work, says Bill Coleman, vice president of research and certification for RetirementJobs.com. Something to keep in mind: you'll be on your feet quite a bit and some of these jobs may be volunteer-only.
Profile: Those who enjoy crunching numbers and appreciate a flexible schedule.
Best job: Bookkeeper
What it pays: Bookkeepers usually make about $12 to $30 an hour, and can make much more with an advanced degree or CPA credential.
The appeal: Nearly one in four bookkeepers works part-time, according to the BLS, often managing the financial records of a business. That could include everything from overseeing accounts receivable and accounts payable to handling payroll, purchases and inventory databases, says Sherri Thomas, founder of Career Coaching 360. But those tasks can be supremely flexible some only require someone to come in for a week a month to, say, process payroll, she says.
Part-time, temp and contract "numbers-focused" jobs like bookkeeping or payroll administration are in demand these days, especially among small businesses, Thomas says. You've got to be meticulous to hold such a job, but you don't have to be a certified accountant since the functions are relatively different. And because these jobs exist in nearly every industry, bookkeeping in one industry isn't all that different than bookkeeping in another, which means you can easily move from work in a sagging industry to one that's more promising.
How to land the job: A degree in business and some accounting experience helps, but smaller firms will often consider someone with a few years of bookkeeping or financial management experience at another company. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers - akpbjobs.com - lists jobs and offers a national certification for bookkeepers, which may help you land a job if your other qualifications are thin. You should also consider posting your resume to eLance.com, says Sherri Thomas, founder of Career Coaching 360.
Other jobs like this one:
Tax preparer: Preparing tax returns for individuals or small businesses can net $10 to $30 per hour. This work is mostly seasonal, but because during the tax season, preparers are in such high demand, more firms are offering flexible hours, even between January and April 15, and many offer training for employees new to the gig.
Project-based human resources: There's less flexibility here than in bookkeeping or tax prep, but human resources departments often need a numbers guru to help prepare and assess benefits packages, handle 401(k) administration, and other projects. Many firms scaled back their HR departments' full-time staff during the recession and now want to fill some of those holes with part-timers, says executive coach Marc Dorio, says author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Career Advancement." You'll earn between $10 and $30 per hour, according to Payscale.com; If you've got HR experience or benefits experience, look for listings at the Society of Human Resources Management's website .