Click HERE to return to the Home Page


  << Click to return to

Free Prize Drawings
10 second  
sign-up to quailfy
Articles Archive


finance & law  
Free Resources
  free legal advice    
  free maps & directions    
  free games    
    shop for  
gifts & products
  gifts for grandkids    
  product profiles    
Support Our Site
your Home Page
  Click on our sponsors'  

In Association with

Projects for Deferred Retirement


by Rob Kelly

Not all retirees want to stop working. The motivations may be financial, emotional, or just the sheer boredom with the extensive unscheduled time that retirement brings into one's life. Many retirees, who feel physically fit and like the routine and discipline that a regular job brings, will seek out a full- or part-time job. The job may be a second career or something completely different from what they used to do. This article presents ten interesting jobs that as a retiree, you might consider.

Project One-Start a New Career
For many successful independent-thinking people, the fun of working was in the process of striving to achieve their initial career goals-to become the head of marketing or the company president, for example. Maybe the goal was to earn a million dollars before the age of fifty or become known as a master craftsman or one of the best experts in a chosen field. Striving to attain a goal, despite the hardships and challenges, can make life interesting, exciting, and personally rewarding.
For most people, those challenges disappear when they retire. If you are one of those people who still needs that challenge to make life interesting and give you a reason for jumping out of bed in the morning, consider starting a second career. After twenty or thirty years in a profession or trade, you have become extremely good at a number of tasks and skills that can be applied to a new career.

One army sergeant, for example, spent his military career working with sophisticated target acquisitioning systems in tanks and armored vehicles. When forced into mandatory retirement at the age of fifty, he began a new career working as a field consultant for a company that manufactured and marketed weapon targeting systems. He traveled to various army bases as a consultant, checking the accuracy of newly installed weapon systems.

Retirees who formerly managed office complexes, manufacturing plants, or data processing departments or nurtured a start up business into a successful enterprise also make great business consultants. Small fledgling businesses that sell products and services often get into trouble as they grow larger and need outside expertise to provide advice and direction.

No matter what your past career has been, you still have an array of skills that can be put to use in another direction. Make a list of the skills that you have developed over the years, such as people management, problem-solving, crisis intervention and resolution, creative development, marketing, teaching, technical, computers, writing, or artistic design. Then, make a list of possible careers that can use those talents.

Retirees can become mentors, teachers, consultants, new business developers, service providers, legal advisors, investors, tradespeople, truck drivers, photographers, freelance authors, interior decorators, political advisors, and senior travel consultants. There really is no limit to what you can do if your heart is set on it. Feeling like there is a purpose and direction to your life may be the key to a happier semiretirement. For additional information for those contemplating a second career, refer to the following resources.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting a Home-Based

by Barbara Weltman, and Beverly Williams
Alpha Books, 2000, 2nd Edition
ISBN 0028638425
Highly rated book on the ins and outs of owning a home business. Covers types of businesses, financing, taxation, marketing, the home office, and keeping your personal and business lives separate. A primer for success.
Turn Your Passion Into Profits: How to Start the Business of Your Dreams
by Janet Allon
Hearst Books, 2001
ISBN 1588160068
Equal parts information and inspiration, this book will teach you what you need to know about starting the business of your dreams. A New York Times writer, Allon uses actual case studies from women entrepreneurs. Topics: business plans, business name, financing, marketing, and hiring staff.

Project Two-Become a Travel Escort
All-inclusive packaged tours to various domestic and exotic destinations, such as Britain, Europe, Australia, Russia, and China, have become increasingly popular methods of travel with this generation of retirees. Many people love to travel, but many prefer that someone else plan the details of the itinerary and do the organizing. Escorted tours fill this niche in the travel industry. These extended trips may involve several methods of transportation, including planes, tour buses, passenger trains, or cruise ships. Passengers travel together as a group accompanied by a representative of the travel agency referred to as a travel escort.

The travel escort is part guide, part entertainer, part organizer, and part troubleshooter. This is also the person who handles the day-to-day details of the trip, such as room assignments for sleeping, making sure the luggage gets to the rooms, getting people up at 6:00 A.M. for breakfast and onto the rest of the tour. He or she may also provide a travelogue over the audio system of interesting things to see and has daily chats with each person in the group.

Not surprisingly, agencies that hire travel escorts tend to favor escorts who love being with people, over people who just love to travel. Frequent travelers will often request trips on which their favorite travel escort is working.

Veteran travel escorts will learn the names of the group members before the tour begins and send them welcome letters a week ahead of time, with travel tips on which items to bring, as well as health insurance suggestions. They often have a set of personal audio cassettes with six to eight hours of pleasant travel music, a jug of water and disposable cups (and garbage bag) for passengers, a bag of toffees and candies, a first aid kit, puzzles, brain teasers and pencils, and anecdotes to entertain passengers on monotonous long stretches of travel.

Escort pay is meager and varies by the agency. It may range from $350 to $500 (plus tips) for a three-week tour, or they may be paid $80 to $150 per day depending on their experience and ability. Agencies will often placate their best escorts by offering them their favorite travel venues instead of more money. Most escorts, however, enjoy the adventure of meeting a new group of people and the thrill of travel. The experience is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you are going to get until you bite into them.

Project Three-Be A Car Rental Agency Shuttle Driver
Car rental agencies, such as Avis and Tilden, advertise in retirement newspapers and magazines specifically for retirees to serve as shuttle drivers for their fleet of cars. The problem for which they need your help is that customers often drop off a rental car in a location other than its point of origin. Since rental agencies are independently owned, and that car is the owners' corporate property, they need to get it back to their rental agency lot as soon as possible. So they charge the customer an additional drop-off fee of $20 to $50, depending on the distance, and use that money to pay their team of shuttle drivers. The larger the agency and the bigger the urban center, the greater number of trips the shuttle driver can expect per day.

Shuttle drivers may work within a single metropolitan center shuttling cars between different agency locations, airports and inner city locations, different cities, or frequented cross-border routes. Usually retirees are offered the local shuttle jobs.

Typically, car rental agencies look for enthusiastic retirees with a valid driver's "G class" (general) license or better, free of traffic violations, who are available on call with flexible hours to drive their vehicles. Interested candidates will be required to present their driver's license, which may be photocopied and kept on file, and a short one-page resume with their name, mailing address, phone number, and social security or insurance number. It may be helpful to have a cell phone or pager so that the company can keep tabs on you while you're in transit or waiting for a new assignment.

To apply for these jobs, seek out local independently owned car rental agencies and ask the rental manager about job availabilities and a possible job interview at which you can drop off your resume for their files. The larger the agency, the greater the need. Look for franchises that have a national brand car rental name, such as Avis, Tilden, National, and Budget. You can find them in your telephone book's yellow pages.

Project Four-Sell Your Caregiver Talents
If you enjoy taking care of other people, but also have need of part-time income, you might consider selling your caregiving skills by the hour. With the increased number of elderly people in North American cities and towns, the need for caregivers has also increased. People need someone to assist with elderly parents or individuals with debilitating arthritis, loss of memory, or a recent injury, or some lonesome relative who just needs a little company while younger relatives are out shopping or need a break from being the full-time caregiver.

Advertise as a part-time caregiver for $10 to $20 per hour, depending on the difficulty and complexity of the assignment. If an assignment sounds too difficult, refuse to take it. Schedule your assignments so that you also have free time for yourself. Relieving full-time caregivers for a couple hours each week can be scheduled on particular days well in advance so that both of you can make other plans.
Some substitute caregivers offer a range of skills, including cooking lunch or supper, washing dishes, light housekeeping, chatting with an infirm patient, or reading newspapers or books to someone who is losing his/her eyesight.

In large apartment buildings, you can advertise your skills on the laundry room bulletin board or on their social activity board. Include your hourly rate, what tasks you are willing to do, and tear-away strips with your phone number. Other inexpensive locations where you can advertise include neighborhood grocery store bulletin boards, the Internet, a local seniors' newspaper, and at senior community centers. You may wish to advertise in the classified section of a local newspaper for about $15 a week under the section Caregiving Help Offered. Specify the distance you are willing to travel.
Project Five-Become a Professional House Sitter
One interesting nonstrenuous part-time paying job for singles or couples that involves travel to different parts of the country is house sitting. At any point in time, a certain number of homeowners all over North America are planning extensive vacations, temporary career relocations, or lengthy hospital recuperation that cause them to be absent from their homes for a certain length of time. They may be worried that during their absence their home will be broken into or vandalized, or that their flower garden and lawn will die from neglect. The solution to their problem is to find a responsible individual or retired married couple who will act as caretakers for their property while they are gone.
If homeowners cannot convince a relative or neighbor to take the assignment, they will often resort to advertising in a national newspaper, a retirement or seniors magazine, the classified section in a senior association website, or through house sitting agencies. The advertisements will specify the region of the country where the house is located and the length of time that the homeowner will be absent. Since the house sitting assignment involves a vacation of sorts for the house sitter in a different climate, it is considered as part of the pay. The rest of your salary is negotiated with the homeowner who may also be willing to pay for some of your travel costs.

If you are considering such a vacation/assignment, you should develop a one-page resume, complete with a current photograph, name, address, phone number, age, past careers, and short biography. Homeowners seeking house sitting candidates tend to prefer nonsmoking retired couples with past careers that indicate stability and responsibility, such as retired police officers or security officers, teachers, doctors, ministers, or store owners. They also look for people who will not stray far from the house, such as writers or painters who are looking for privacy and a quiet retreat.

You can find advertisements for house sitting in retirement magazines, such as Fifty-Plus and GoodTimes, both published in Toronto, Canada. The Caretaker Gazette is a bimonthly newsletter published in Arizona, devoted to 700 house sitting, property, and caretaking opportunities. For additional information, refer to the following sources.

The Caretaker Gazette
PO Box 5887-M
Carefree, Arizona
Phone: 480-488-1970
This bimonthly newsletter outlines 700 house sitting, property, and caretaking opportunities. Subscription cost $27/year. Ask for Gary Dunn.

There are dozens of regional housesitting agencies in the United States and Canada. To access them try the following Internet Keywords: house sitting agencies
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)
Website :
For house sitting opportunities, check out the AARP website classified ads.

Fifty-Plus (Canadian Association of Retired Persons)
Telephone: 416-363-5562
Each bimonthly issue of CARP's magazine for seniors has classified ads requesting house sitters, frequently on the Pacific coast.
Good Times
Fax: 1-416-340-8000
Telephone: 1-800-465-8443
Their bimonthly magazine for seniors contains classified ads requesting house sitters.

Project Six-Research Family Trees for a Fee
Genealogy, the researching of one's family ancestry, has become a popular hobby among seniors in the past thirty years. However, many hobbyists are unable to do archival or graveyard headstone research on their own in a particular area of the country because of great distances or personal physical disabilities. As a result, they hire someone in the region where they suspect their ancestors lived to do the research for them.

Being a family history researcher can be a source of income if you charge clients a consulting fee for services provided. The fee can be by the hour or a flat fee for each task performed. For example, suppose a client has asked for census, marriage, death, and headstone information on a particular relative who was born in the 1800s. The census, marriage, and death data can be researched on microfilm in a state archive (or the National Archives if you live near Washington) or in a Family History Center of the Latter Day Saints. The headstone information can be obtained from an actual visit to the cemetery, reading through headstone transcription records found in printed cemetery records, or on some cemetery Internet websites. The client can be charged $10 to $20 per hour based on time spent on the tasks, or by a varying flat fees, such as $10 for a census or marriage record on one individual, $5 for each headstone transcription, and $10 for headstone photographs. The fees are always collected before the research begins.

The job itself requires knowledge about where information can be found, patience, a willingness to help people, and skills in operating your own business. You will need a suitable filing system to keep track of multiple clients, and a computer system to do research, write letters, and print invoice details of services rendered. Designing letterhead stationery for invoices and letters will provide a professional appearance to your work. If you dedicate the computer, filing cabinet and furniture, supplies, and Internet fees entirely to the business, you can claim an office in the home and use them as legitimate tax deductions against revenue earned from the business.

Marketing your services is going to be one of the on going operational costs. Some suggestions include developing a business website, printing professional brochures, designing a business logo, and advertising in family history journals and genealogy society newsletters in distant locations, such as other states or other countries (Canada or Britain). You may find that specializing as an expert in one particular region, one ethnic group, or the Civil War era will draw more clients than advertising as a general researcher. Base your advertising on things you are already familiar with and have already researched.

Project Seven-Refinish and Sell Antique Furniture
Retirees who are good with their hands and enjoy working with wood-related projects should consider purchasing, refinishing, and selling antique furniture as an income-generating venture. The furniture pieces might include old hutches, end tables, dresser drawers, wash stands, bookcases, rocking chairs, kitchen chairs, and tables. There are a number of places where early manufactured furniture can be obtained, including summer garage sales, particularly in small towns with old houses and in farm country; home foreclosures auctions; estate sales; and from friends, relatives, and neighbors.

The main refinishing tools are those designed to strip away old paint and varnish, such as belt sanders for smooth surfaces and the Black & Decker Mouse for getting in and around odd shapes. All the hardware should be taken off the furniture prior to stripping, including brass or wooden knobs, openers, and latches.
Once the refinishing is completed, look for imperfections in the furniture-dents, scrapes, wood bubbles-and smooth those out as much as possible. Then apply some plastic wood to fill in the holes and imperfections and let dry.

How the surface covering is reapplied depends upon the type of furniture. Hutches, end tables, and bookcases will look rich in a dark mahogany varnish, while some pioneer dresser drawers and kitchen tables may look better with a sealant and clear coating for a rustic, unfinished appearance.

Once the hardware is reattached, the completed project is ready for resale. Pricing and selling the pieces is a business skill as important as the woodworking itself. The prices must not exceed what a new piece of furniture would cost, but should be enough to cover the cost of its original purchase plus a 15 to 20 percent profit. Presentation and display of the items is important to getting your asking price. Move the furniture out of the garage or workshop into an attractive setting and add doilies and vases of attractive plastic or real flowers to accent the furniture. Place small nicely lettered price tags on the pieces you are selling.

Another variation on this type of project is to start a business in which you refinish damaged wood furniture for clients. Usually more knowledge is required for this type of venture, including how to use wood laminates, match existing shades of varnish and stains, and use woodworking machines to make exact copies of damaged furniture parts.

Project Eight-Deliver For a Pharmacy
There are all sorts of product delivery positions open for seniors, including pizza delivery, restaurant delivery, and pharmacy delivery. However, they differ in several respects. Pizza and restaurant delivery positions are usually night shift jobs that begin at 4 P.M. and end at 1 A.M. or 2 A.M. As anyone that has done shift work can attest, night shifts will alter your lifestyle, sleeping patterns, and reduce daytime friendships. Usually the food industry requires that you provide and maintain your own vehicle, including gasoline, insurance, depreciation, and possible vehicle theft while making a night delivery. The rate of pay is usually minimum wage or a flat rate of pay, such as $1.25 for each completed delivery, plus any tips from the customers.

Pharmacy delivery is a daytime job with regular hours, typically from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. Drug stores usually provide a car or pickup truck with their logo on it for you to make deliveries. The store is responsible for paying for the gasoline and maintenance of the vehicle. Most of your clients will be elderly and in dire need of the products you bring. Your rate of pay is minimum wage plus infrequent tips from sickly but thankful customers.
You will most likely make less money working for a pharmacy, than for a fast food provider because the tips and number of trips are fewer. On the other hand, the hours are more suited to seniors, the vehicle and accident liability are the store's responsibility, and the social status as a pharmacy driver is much superior to the others and is often perceived just short of an ambulance driver in importance.

To seek a position as a pharmacy driver, consider the smaller independent pharmacies that provide home deliveries rather than the major pharmacies located in shopping malls that depend on walk-in customers for their business. Refer to the yellow pages of your telephone directory to find those stores that offer home delivery. A second source of job openings may appear in the want ads of your local newspaper. Be prepared to begin as a part-time driver, and bring a friendly smile and positive attitude to the job interview.

Project Nine-Organize a Musical Group
Retirees who are musically talented might consider organizing a musical group for pleasure and/or profit. The group might specialize in specific ethnic music, such as polkas or Irish music. It could be a Scottish marching pipe band. It may be a classical ensemble of strings and brass that plays at concerts and benefits, or it might be a traditional guitar band that plays pop or country music at traditional dances, square dances, and fall fairs. The group may concentrate on instrumental music or have a lead singer or a group of singers whose voices harmonize with the instruments.

The group needs a place to practice where they won't disturb the neighbors. This might a rented hall, someone's basement, an empty barn, a Legion Hall on non-event days, or a senior community center. The group may consider trading free performances at a dance hall in return for permission to practice there in the early mornings or when the place is normally empty.

Someone from within the group or from outside the group acts as the business manager. That person becomes responsible for booking performances, arranging for payment, and paying each of the performers. That person may also arrange for advertising, transportation, and accommodation for out-of-town performances. It helps if someone in the group owns a large van for transporting the musical instruments as well as the players.

If you are into this, members should decide how much time they wish to spend giving performances and being away from home. Do you wish to be performing both Friday and Saturday nights in addition to attending practices during the week? Do you agree to performing at out-of-town venues? Knowing the limits of your participation will reduce potential friction as the band gains in popularity and success. It will also make the business manager's job easier in selecting and arranging for performances. Successful groups may perform at banquet hall weddings, golf club dances, conventions, senior centers, church halls, outdoor concerts at fall fairs, and pubs, and earn a steady income. Just because you are retired doesn't mean that your target listening audience has to be of the same age group. All types of organizations are willing to pay for good musical groups who provide top entertainment, regardless of their age.

Project Ten-Teach Golf or Tennis to Beginners
Golf and tennis are two outdoor activities that usually require some initial training to master. The easiest way to learn the fundamentals of these games is to have someone coach you. If you are reasonably good at either game and you have the patience to work with beginners, you should consider offering your services as a personal instructor for retirees.

As a personal instructor for people in your own age group, you will satisfy several personal needs, including socializing, being outdoors in the fresh air, exercise, and earning money while you are doing it. You might consider offering introductory package deals with fixed prices for the beginner. For example: three-day workshops for $45, five-day workshops for $75, and ten-day workshops for $115. Offer a discount for husband and wife teams who wish to learn the sport together in combined one-hour sessions. Collect the fees prior to beginning the series of workshops. Also explain to clients the costs of tennis court fees or golf green fees in addition to their instruction fee and why the organizations charge them. A free initial meeting with clients should be arranged to collect the coaching fee, explain equipment and apparel requirements, and tell them what they will learn in the series of workshops, learn the dates of the workshops, answer their questions, and teach the basic grip and some simple techniques of the golf or tennis swing. You might consider the use of a van or four-wheel drive to transport your clients with their equipment to various training locations. Always go to those training locations several days beforehand and talk to the manager about what you are doing and when. Check for available times and extra costs. If you attract several clients at the same time, schedule them on alternate days rather than sequentially, to keep their interest in attending. That is one group meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the other group meets Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
Golf is the more popular of the two activities and will draw more potential clients. The golf workshops may include sessions at a driving range, a putting range, and 9 or 18-hole games for the graduates. Public golf courses will be cheaper and more accessible, unless you have arranged discounts and permission from a private golf course to teach students on their property. The actual game will need four players including yourself whereas the training sessions on the driving or putting ranges will not. Past graduates may be happy to make up a third and fourth when needed. Keep their phone numbers for such an occasion, if they are interested.

Tennis is by far the more athletic of the two sports and general fitness is a consideration in selecting clients, particularly among the retirees. Be sure to book court time in advance, and explain your needs to management for having twosome and threesome workshops. Public tennis courts are less expensive than private tennis clubs, unless you have a membership and guest privileges.

Marketing your services is critical to a successful coaching venture, along with word-of-mouth advertising. It is recommended that you design and print a color foldout brochure (using PrintMaster software or professional printers) that contains a front graphic of someone playing the sport, title, description of the course, workshop packages and their costs, and instructor's name and phone number. A professional-looking business card with a suitable sports graphic along with your name, title (Personal Golf Instructor), phone number, and e-mail address is a great method of advertising and small enough to pass out to friends and neighbors to drum up business.

Suggested locations for advertising include senior center bulletin boards and monthly newsletters, personal guest appearances at senior centers to explain what services you are offering, retirement planning conventions (lots of potential business clients), and the classified section of the newspaper. Other locations include apartment activity bulletin boards and grocery store community bulletin boards. Female coaches might consider having "women-only" workshops to attract a growing female market segment and to make their clients comfortable. Your biggest advertisement will always be your smile and personal charm with clients. Aim to be a coach who is fun and enjoyable to be with, and clients will line up to take classes from you.

Excerpted from The Complete Guide to a Creative Retirement by Rob Kelly. Copyright © 2003 by Robert Kelly. Excerpted by arrangement with Phenix & Phenix. All rights reserved. $17.95. Available in local bookstores or click here.


about us    
© 1995-2008 Reece R. Halpern. All rights reserved.