As soon as you reach retirement age, you plan to bid adieu to your boss and co-workers and hit the beach for some care-free, lazy days in the sun. Not so fast. Upon closer inspection of your retirement funds, you notice that your home value is falling, your 401(k) is dwindling and your IRAs are gasping for air.
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Thanks to the worst recession in a generation, nest eggs across the nation are shrinking and would-be retirees are finding themselves in a sticky situation. In 2007 and 2008, the tumultuous stock market caused Americans to lose a whopping $2 trillion in retirement savings in just a 15-month period. In the darkest part of the recession, household net worth plummeted from $65.9 trillion to $48.3 trillion.
So, it looks like you'll have to pack up your Speedo, put away the sunscreen and get back to work. But wait. There is another option. Recent research estimates that 2.8 million American employees work from home, and this number is growing. And that doesn't even include self-employed workers. So maybe you can have your beach and lay on it, too.
Here are five legitimate post-retirement jobs you can do from the beach (or your backyard, mountain cabin or living room).
- Online Tutor
Are you a teacher, professor or an expert in your field? If so, online tutoring may be the perfect retirement job for you. Online tutors set their own hours and work from home, coaching students throughout the nation and teaching online classes. On average, online tutors earn $12 to $25 an hour or more.
Depending on your background and specialty, you could tutor children in math, social studies, English, science and more. If you're interested in working as an online tutor, visit Tutor.com. This innovative website matches tutors with students - and the compensation can be quite generous. Tutor.com says their most active chemistry tutors earn between $800 and $1,600 a month.
- Freelance Writer or Editor
Let's say you've spent your career working as a journalist, copywriter, editor or English teacher. Why not become your own boss and continue writing or editing post-retirement? (If you're scrambling to make ends meet, you might be surprised at the options available. Don't miss Top 10 Recession-Survival Side Jobs.)
Depending on their clients and level of expertise, freelance writers and editors can earn anywhere between $15 and $100 an hour (although most earn less than $50 an hour). You'll probably have to start off small, so don't expect to make the big bucks right off the bat. Competition can be fierce in the freelance world, so you'll have to spend time applying for projects and marketing yourself.
Offer your freelance services to your former employer and other professional connections. You may also want to join a few freelance writer and editor organizations, including Writer's Market (writersmarket.com), MediaBistro (mediabistro.com) or Associated Content (associatedcontent.com). Some of these organization's websites also include freelance job postings.
Sí señor or señora, es verdad! If you speak a second language fluently, you score a job as a translator. Many hospitals, law enforcement organizations and corporations hire interpreters to translate Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, French and other languages into English. If you have a computer, an internet connection, a quiet work area and a phone, you can work from home as an online or phone translator.
Translators typically earn between $15 and $40 an hour, and obviously speaking a second language fluently is job requirement. Search for translator opportunities at Telelanguage.com or with the American Translators Association. (The economy is still struggling, yes. But that doesn't mean there aren't some high-demand jobs in finance still out there. Learn more in Want A Hot Job? Follow The Money.)
- Answering Service Agent
Have you ever called your doctor's office at 9pm to hear a friendly voice chirp, "Hello, this is Dr. Dogooder's answering service! How may help you?" These answering service agents typically work from home - and you could do it too.
An answering service rep answers after-hours calls from doctors and dentist offices, travel agencies, animal hospitals and other businesses. The agent then records the caller's info and either forwards it along to the doctor, dentist or business owner or follows some other pre-determined protocol.
As long as you have a working telephone, a nice speaking voice and great people skills, you could land a job answering these after-hours calls. While the job is fairly simple, answering service agents sometimes have strange hours and they don't make buckets of money. They typically earn $10 to $12 an hour.
- Call Center Rep
While many companies route their customer service calls overseas, some corporations are sending them straight to pajama-wearing parents or retirees who work in their own home-based call centers. For example, reservation specialists for Jet Blue airlines work from home.
These home-based customer service agents earn an average of $11 an hour, and they typically work 15 to 20 hours a week. However, highly experienced sales reps can earn up to $25 an hour plus commission. (Though older workers can have a hard time finding a job, there are a lot of ways to become employed, and even some age advantages. Check out 7 Job-Hunting Tips For Older Workers.)
Call center reps need a quiet place to work, a phone, a computer and high-speed internet connection. The quiet part is key - if your grandkid cries, your husband belches or your cat meows while you're on a call, it could get you fired. Most call center rep positions require at least two years of customer service experience. To search for home-based call center rep jobs, visit alpineaccess.com, liveops.com or arise.com.
Life's a Beach
Believe it or not, these examples only scratch the surface of work-from-home jobs. From virtual assistants and mystery shoppers to medical billers and graphic designers, there are scores of post-retirement jobs you can work from the beach.
Catch up on the latest financial news, read Water Cooler Finance: Shocking Court Rulings, Sinking Markets.