The American Association of Retired Persons reports that in 2013, 40 million Americans age 44 to 70 were either pursuing a second career or interested in doing so. In some cases, retirees choose a career with a social mission; for others, a long-time hobby becomes a career. It's not all that unusual for older Americans to reinvent themselves with an entirely different occupation or start a new business.
Determine what skills and life experiences are transferable to a new career. Lawyers, for example, are extensively trained in research and writing. Use these skills to launch a career as a writer or author. A retired veterinarian might work for an animal welfare group. A retired teacher may start a tutoring business. A historian could become a docent in a museum, and a nurse may be inspired to open a health and wellness store. Someone who speaks a second language might work as a translator or interpreter. A retired businessman who has always enjoyed woodworking might repair and build furniture.
Do Some Home Work
Work-at-home careers might be a good choice for some retired individuals. The AARP notes that someone with excellent typing skills could become a transcriptionist. With a medical background, you could specialize in medical transcription. Experts in various fields might want to work for a website that provides answers for consumers or businesses. Call centers, especially for travel and hospitality fields, offer opportunities at unusual hours, as many are open around the clock.
Seniors with physical limitations can find jobs that are less physically taxing than the ones they had before retirement. They may choose jobs with fewer hours or less physical activity. A senior with financial experience, for example, can take a relatively sedentary job as a bookkeeper or tax preparer. An individual with secretarial experience might continue in the same type of work but choose a a part-time -- rather than full-time -- position. A person who has always enjoyed sewing might become a part-time seamstress.
Timing is Everything
Plan for a second career before you leave your first to make the transition easier. Some new careers might require training. Community colleges, technical-vocational schools and universities offer certificate programs in a wide variety of fields. Develop professional connections and network in your new field. You might explore several possibilities before you find the right job. Consider how a second career will affect retirement or Social Security benefits.