12 Of the Best, Dreamiest, and Most Unusual Jobs for When You Retire
Most people picture retirement as a chance to move the Gulf Coast or Florida, play a few rounds of golf, and spend time with the grandkids. That may sound like heaven to some retirees, but more and more seniors are looking for a little more excitement—and a little extra income—in their golden years. Luckily there are many out-of-the-box ways to earn a little extra cash and have a little fun during your retirement. Here are 12 of the best, dreamiest, and most unusual jobs for when you retire:
Get Giggy with It
While the gig economy may sound like something for the young’uns, it can be a way for retirees to earn a little extra income in their spare time. Rent out a spare room on AirBnb, teach music or art, do hair for weddings or proms, or offer handyman services. Heck, some people even officiate marriages to earn some pocket change. Other options include looking for odd jobs on the website TaskRabbit, where you can do everything from putting together IKEA furniture to picking up a roast chicken from a deli to sitting in line for tickets to a play.
Start Clowning Around
Slap on a silly wig, paint on a goofy face, and step into some oversized shoes to start your second act as a clown. Once you’ve mastered your balloon animals, honed your slapstick routine, figured out how not to make kids cry, and passed a background check, you’re ready to start clowning around. In addition to playing at children’s birthday parties and school functions, consider practicing your craft by volunteering at a pediatric hospital. There’s a lot of jobs in this field, too, because the nation is facing a clown shortage.
Cruise Ship Staff
If you want to see the world, but don’t necessarily have the resources to cruise from Panama to Portugal, consider getting a job aboard a cruise ship. As NewRetirement.com points out, cruise ships frequently need men to whisk women around the dance floor and are even willing to pay them to do it. They also need people to work in the gift shops that are onboard and to work as photographers, kids’ club workers, and more. Check out Carnival or your favorite cruise line for job information.
When you have a job, the idea of spending time in the great outdoors sounds like a dream. Now that you’re retired, make that dream a reality by becoming a part-time park ranger. Most park rangers these days have Bachelor’s degrees, but if you don’t, it never hurts to get in touch with a park you love to see what positions are available. Check out USAJobs.gov for National Park Service positions, and contact your state's department of parks and recreation for state park jobs, and don’t overlook city parks, too. If you have the means, consider volunteering at a park first and seeing if you can make that into a paid position. Alternatively, as AARP points out, the restaurants and gift shops in parks are frequently looking for staffers. Check out the Aramark website for openings.
Mix your part-time job with an unending camping trip by taking your work on the road with you. As Forbes notes, "workamping," mixes working and camping in an RV. “Workampers live in RVs while working in recreational areas such as parks, campgrounds, amusement parks or resorts in exchange for wages and a free campsite in which to park their mobile homes.” Workamper.com, which coined the phrase, helps match RVers with potential employers.
Live Out Your Disney Dreams
If you want to make a little magic and a little money, considering heading to Disney World. DisneyFanatic has a list of 15 jobs that retirees can do in the Magic Kingdom. They range from working at Epcot attractions, selling tickets from an air-conditioned booth, helping people pick the right souvenir, or the truly brave can dress up like a favorite Disney character and making children smile.
Uber or Lyft Driver
Now that you don’t have to commute every day, or ferry kids from school to soccer to sleepovers, you might find that you actually enjoy driving. If so, consider a part time job working for a ride-hailing service like Juno, Lyft, or Uber. It allows you to set your own hours, see the city, and meet people from all walks of life while earning a few bucks.
Ballroom Dance Instructor
If you have always loved to dance, know your cha cha from your merengue, and can list the differences between the tango and the Argentine tango, you may have what it takes to become a ballroom dance instructor. In addition to staying active, ballroom dancing is scientifically proven to improve your mental, physical, and emotional health and can even stave off Parkinson’s disease.
Since you’re retired, you may finally be able to pursue your passion for good deeds without worrying about making payments to the kids’ college fund. Follow your heart to a part time job at a group fighting to keep kids safe or keeping the oceans clean or saving the world however you see fit. Check out Idealist.org for non-profit jobs in your community or simply start asking around at organizations whose work you admire. If you have the resources, consider volunteering first, which can make the transition to paid work easier.
Pet Sitter or Dog Walker
If you’ve been known to disappear from a party to spend quality time with the host’s four-legged friends, dog walking and pet sitting could be the perfect part time job for you. Not only do you get to dole out belly rubs to doggos and play with kittens, but it’s a great way to have fun while exercising. Dog boarding basically means borrowing dogs, right? Sites like Craig’s List, TaskRabbit, or DogVacay can help you find dog-walking clients or people who need pet sitters in your community.
If your mermaid gardens are the envy of all or your handmade potholders always earn praise, consider turning your hobby into a part-time job. Sell online on marketplaces like Etsy or find churches, schools, farmers’ markets, or community centers around your city that are hosting craft fairs. Then start knitting, stitching, tatting, or candle dipping and you’ll be on your way.
While your kids may expect you to watch your grandchildren for free, others are more than willing to pay for capable, confident, reliable child care. If you like children—and can keep up with them—consider becoming a child care provider or grandnanny if you will. There’s undoubtedly someone in your community who is willing to have a responsible adult look after their children after school or during late night PTA meetings. If you want to go professional, be sure to look into state regulations, consider getting certified in First Aid and CPR from the American Red Cross, and investigate sites like Care.com, which can match you with potential clients.