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Business Advice / Working Over Time: Older Adults Seek Later-In-Life Job and Income Opportunities

Working Over Time: Older Adults Seek Later-In-Life Job and Income Opportunities

July 20, 2021

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We’ve known for a while now that there are 2 contradictory trends happening at once: Because of the pandemic, there has been a surge of early retirements– some voluntary and some not- while at the same time, more older adults than ever plan to work well past the usual retirement age, and some plan not to retire at all.  For those retiring early, some will benefit from surging stock market portfolios while others will suffer from little income and lower social security payments, and may look for new ways to generate income. According to a new survey by the American Advisors Group, the pandemic has led many adults 60 + to reconsider retirement in order to continue to maintain their standard of living. In fact, the survey found that 30% of survey respondents report the pandemic negatively affected their retirement plans and 21% said they needed to tap into their retirement accounts to pay expenses during the pandemic.


According to employment expert Kerry Hannon, expectations of longer working lives or some kind of employment during retirement to earn extra income may be out of sync with the reality of the work world and the lived experiences of actual retirees. In a recent post, Hannon commented that while 7 in 10 workers expect to earn money as a source of retirement income, in fact, only 3 out of 10 retirees report actually doing so. That discrepancy between expectations and reality worries Ms. Hannon, as she remarks, “People seem to not want to face the future with eyes wide open.”

At that same time, there are more articles than ever touting the employment opportunities for older workers, as well as the value of their contributions, in the current work environment. While the old-fashioned 9-5 job may not be available, there is certainly reason to expect that the freelance world and the gig economy might welcome the experience, temperament, and availability of older workers. For example, “Encore Career” expert Nancy Collamer recently wrote a post in Next Avenue recommending five freelance areas to consider as an older job seeker, including “content creator” for the growing number of websites needing content, bilingual services, and office support services. Money magazine also recently touted some of the original ways older adults have benefited from their assets and their expertise to supplement retirement income. Everything from renting your owned assets (got a spare RV or bedroom?) to becoming a paid online expert (check out for details) has been tried to maintain an acceptable standard of living.


And if those ideas don’t tickle your fancy, consider a recent article in US News that lists the most enjoyable jobs for older workers. From the perspective of jobs that provide a sense of purpose and provide some flexibility, the article suggests, you should consider positions such as local elected official, teacher, consultant, or temporary worker. Along those same lines, a recent post in Yahoo news suggested 27 of the most lucrative “side-hustles” or part-time opportunities for people over 50. Recommendations include tutoring, pet sitting, becoming a notary signing agent, laundry services, greeting card writer (did you know you could get paid for writing greeting card content?), or even retail arbitrage (buying goods cheaply and then reselling them online for a profit). Yahoo recommends the platform Wonolo as a place to find opportunities.


And if you do find yourself successful staying in or re-entering the work world as an older worker? CNBC suggests you understand how your income may affect your receipt of social security benefits (which may depend upon how early you decided to claim those benefits) and another recent agebuzz post recommends that you make sure you’ve covered your bases when it comes to filing for Medicare if you’re working at age 65. But whether for money or other measures of success and happiness, it appears that the time may be here for older workers to make their mark- and be valued for who they are- in many of today’s work environments.

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