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Retired woman working from home on laptop

You’ve hung up your work wardrobe and permanently disabled your alarm clock, but a person can only watch so many reruns and weed so many flowerbeds.

Taking on a post-retirement job isn’t just about filling the hours, though.

The average retirement lasts about 18 years, and only about 5% of people have adequate savings to sustain them after age 65. If you’re not part of that group, finding a work-from-home job can help you build up your savings, cover the bills that Social Security doesn’t meet or finance the travel you’ve dreamed of doing.

That being said, you’ve earned a break, and your life in retirement should move at a slower pace than it did when you were part of the rat race. Find work opportunities that allow you to set your own hours and maybe even be your own boss (finally!).

A Version of Your Former Career

You spent decades developing skills and gaining expertise, and you can still be an asset to your former industry — but on your own terms.

“With the downturn in the economy in 2008, my management position was ‘retired’,” says Jeff Nichols, who had spent 30 years working in the retail grocery and air charter industries. “I have been working from home ever since, building and managing websites and helping businesses with their online marketing and social media, and I really love it.”

His strategy is a good one for retirees. Working as a consultant, servicing a small group of clients or taking on occasional special projects for a former employer are all jobs that retirees can do from home. How this might look for you depends on what your career was. Former teachers might find work as educational consultants, for instance.

Creative Pursuits

Those hobbies you never had time for while working? You have plenty of time now. And while it’s not a guarantee that you’ll make money using your creativity, it’s worth a try.

“After I retired, I was able to use my free time to write a book,” says Billie Tekel Elias, author of “Pearl’s Party … and you’re invited.”

“I had recently lost both of my elderly parents and had much to tell. I was used to working on a flexible schedule and knew nothing of the discipline involved in writing a book, but I set aside time each day to chip away at what became a 300-pager.”

“Once it was written, the work was only just beginning! I taught myself how to self-publish and market a paperback – and an ebook – and I earn royalties on each book sold without leaving home. The platform I published on deposits my money directly into my account, so I don’t even have to go to the bank. I used social media, a blog and emails to get the word out to all my friends, past business associates and new internet pals, some of whom bought the book online. I created a clever business card and continue to spread the word wherever I go.”

Sell your crafts and artwork on websites like Etsy, set up stands at local farmers markets and craft fairs, or self-publish written works, like Tekel Elias did; these are all great jobs that retirees can launch from home.

Tutoring and Teaching Services

Have a knack for explaining organic chemistry or a have a background in music? Share those skills with kids and adults as a freelance tutor or instructor.

Figuring out the best way to get started depends on the type of teaching you plan to do. Find local parents who need tutors for their children by spreading the word on social media. If you have a more specialized skill, like knowledge of Latin or a particularly challenging software program, you may want to target a broader audience outside of your community. Create a website to advertise your services and offer sessions over webcam.

Another option is to sign up with a tutoring service, either online or in your city. Typically, tutors who are part of these services are able to set their own hours and control how many students they take on.

Start a Business

Have a great idea for a business? Make it a reality. That’s what Carol Gee did, after retiring twice — first from a 21-year career in the military and then from a 28-year career working in higher education.

“I founded Feast of Words LLC, a small writing service that I run from home,” she says. She took the copyediting, researching and writing skills she had developed while working at a university to start her own small business. “I became an ‘accidental’ entrepreneur,” she says.

Running her own business allows Gee to schedule her own days and maintain that all-important work/life balance. “Retired and working from home, I can also spend more time with a spouse with health issues. Win-win.”

Starting a business might sound daunting, and it can be complicated. Taking a business class at the local community college or online can help you position yourself for success.

Sell, Sell, Sell

Could you sell ice to an Eskimo? Then you can probably earn a good chunk of change selling leggings or skin care products to Facebook friends, or even finance a trip around the world selling travel insurance.

A word of warning, though. Work-from-home sales jobs are sometimes scams, run by people who want to steal your personal information or charge you a huge upfront fee to buy inventory, so research any sales opportunity thoroughly. Check with the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission to find out if the company has received complaints about shady business dealings before signing on the (virtual) dotted line.

Are you retired? What kind of post-retirement career have you launched for yourself? Let’s get the conversation started in the comments below!

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