Sunday, June 3, 2012

Second Careers for Baby Boomers

During the 2007 recession, many Baby Boomers were forced into retirement sooner than they had planned.  While the employment picture has improved substantially since that time, a significant number of newly retired Boomers are discovering that it is difficult to survive on Social Security alone. 

As a result, retirees of all ages are frequently open to second careers and new business opportunities.  Going back to work in a new occupation that excites and interests you may be the best way to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, even if you have had to downsize and cut back over the past few years.

Baby Boomers often have experience, training and a history of being responsible that makes us desirable employees in many of the fields where there is still job growth.  We have the ability to compete successfully with new college graduates.  If you are planning to retrain for a second career and need a few ideas, listed below are the areas where you might find good job opportunities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections:

Retail Sales

There is still a large demand for retail sales people working in businesses that range from department stores to auto dealerships.  In fact, one good item of economic news is that U.S. auto sales are continuing to be strong in 2015.  If you are interested in sales, this can be an excellent choice for experienced Baby Boomers and great job opportunities may be as close as your local mall or auto dealership.  Are you under 65 and need affordable health insurance through an employer that pays most of the cost?  Consider working for Starbucks.  They take pride in the fact that they offer health insurance to any employees that work at least 20 hours a week.

Health Care

You do not need to plan on becoming a doctor or registered nurse in order to benefit from the growth in the health care industry.  By attending a community college or vocational school for one or two years, you can complete a certificate program as a medical assistant, nursing aide, vocational nurse, medical technician or medical secretary.  Home health aides require only a few weeks of training, and many Baby Boomers already have had life experience caring for an elderly person in their home.  This makes them a more desirable employee in many cases than a young adult would be.

Childcare Workers

Because so many women need to work in order to help their families financially, there is a tremendous need for childcare workers.  Some older people have opened childcare services in their homes; others work for preschools; still others have become bonded babysitters, working through a babysitting service.

Accounting or Tax Preparation

A number of people who worked as accountants or bookkeepers before retirement may discover that there are opportunities for them to freelance in these same businesses during a period of semi-retirement. Check with job listings in your area, or approach local businesses and see if they have a need for a part-time bookkeeper or accountant.

If you would like to work part of the year, you can also be trained to be a tax preparer.  Contact H&R Block or other tax preparation companies in your area to find out about their training programs. 

Substitute Teachers

In some states, substitute teachers in public schools are required to have a college degree, but not necessarily in education.  You may have to pass a state examination to get an emergency credential or meet other requirements.  However, this can be a high paying part-time job.

If you are not qualified to work in the public school system in your state, check with private schools or pre-schools, both of which have more freedom in choosing their substitute teachers.

Other School Jobs

Many retirees who have worked in the past in other occupations have found that it is very rewarding to work as school bus drivers or crossing guards.  Others find part-time work as teacher's aides.  If you want to work with children and possibly earn credit towards a small state pension in the future, it could be very beneficial to work at a school in your community.

Pet Groomers and Trainers

Do you have a way with animals?  You might enjoy working part-time as a pet groomer.  Another possibility is to advertise your pet training services in your local newspaper.  Offer classes in pet behavior or provide private training.

Share Your Talent with Others

If you are an artist, enjoy making crafts, sewing or can work with wood, you may be able to make gift items and sell them at local fairs and festivals.  You might also give lessons to others.  In either case, it can be a fun way to earn a little extra money.  

Public Service

If you have spent years doing volunteer work in your community, you may want to check with about job opportunities with non-profit organizations in your community and around the world.  Even people in their 70's can join the Peace Corp.  You may also want to work with Teach For America or a wide variety of non-profit organizations in your neighborhood.   The pay may be low when you work for a non-profit, but the emotional rewards can be great.

There are Opportunities all Around You

Although you may have retired sooner than you planned during the "Great Recession," it is possible that you may find a new career that will help you make your Golden Years a little more golden.  Any of these jobs can provide you with a little extra income and could even add to your pension or Social Security benefits.

If you are interested in learning more about financial planning for retirement, where to retire, health issues that could arise and changing family relationships, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional useful articles.

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  1. Good news for Boomers. Great article.

  2. Thanks, Diva! We hear so much discouraging news about the job market, I thought it would help other Baby Boomers to know that there are jobs available, although they may have to do a short amount of retraining first.


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