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Here's How Much the Most Popular Jobs for Retirees Pay

By Christy Bieber – Jun 19, 2020 at 8:45AM

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Hint: It's not as much as you think!

Close to three-quarters of Americans plan to continue working in retirement, often for financial reasons. Unfortunately, working as a senior isn't always possible due to health issues or family needs. And even if you can bring in a paycheck as a senior, it may not be huge.

In fact, research by funeral insurance company Choice Mutual on the most popular work for retirees reveals that many of these jobs don't pay very much.

Older woman working stocking shelves.

Image source: Getty Images.

The pay rates for some of the jobs most popular among retirees

According to Choice Mutual, these are the average hourly pay rates for the most popular retiree jobs across the country:

  • Home health aide: $10.97
  • Orderly: $12.70 
  • Administrative assistant: $15.70 
  • Bookkeeper: $17.35 
  • Licensed practical nurse: $20.25 
  • Substitute teacher: $11.91 
  • Secretary: $13.65 
  • School bus driver: $16.41 
  • Office manager: $17.65 
  • Dental hygienist: $34.24

Most of these professions pay well below the mean hourly wage, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported at $25.72 in May 2019. And the majority of the better-paying jobs on this list, such as dental hygienist or licensed practical nurse, require years of schooling and special certification so aren't open to most seniors. 

This all means that if you're planning to work in retirement and aren't going to stick with a specialized profession you were likely already working in, you may not make very much money. Working as a home health aide, for example, would provide you with about $1,755 in income a month if you worked full time, which most retirees won't want to do. When combined with the average Social Security benefit of $1,503 per month, you'd have an annual household income of about $39,000. Not too bad, but still below what the typical retiree spends

But if you don't plan to work full time and don't want to continue with a skilled job in retirement, chances are good you'll make much less. So while a side job in retirement can supplement your Social Security, it isn't likely to make up for a lack of savings. Having money set aside in a retirement account is essential, especially as holding on to some of these common retiree jobs will likely become difficult or impossible later in life when the physical demands of work become too much. 

Don't leave yourself with too little income in retirement

While there are benefits to working in retirement, any extra funds you earn may not be enough to live comfortably in your later years.

It's important to save diligently throughout your career and invest wisely so you can build a nest egg large enough to support yourself in retirement. Once you have that, any extra money you earn can just allow you to enjoy your life a little more. 

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