Over the coming decade, the fastest-growing age group of workers is expected to be those 65 and older. Many older workers are simply eager to earn extra money, but many also enjoy working and want to stay active, engaged, and involved in the workplace.
Workers that are 65 and up have a few special things to consider, however.
Part-time opportunities: Many people in this bracket will prefer to work part-time. If you like your work but are weighing the leap from full-time employee to part-time retiree, your best bet is to start with your existing job. Talk to your organization about downshifting to part-time or contract work. Your boss may be relieved to have a seasoned pro on the team, especially one who no longer needs benefits. If you want something different -- or if you've been out of the work force for a year or so -- turn to your network, use LinkedIn, and talk to the owners or managers of businesses you frequent to see what’s available.
Consulting work: You may find business consulting offers some of the most lucrative part-time opportunities. If you hold an MBA or have specific industry experience but your own network of contacts isn't panning out, check out HourlyNerd.com, a startup website that connects consultants to companies that need help with project work; you'll compete with other freelance consultants for the business.
School perks: If you have specific expertise and want to be connected to a broader organization, check in with your local college or university. There are more jobs than ever for non-tenure track, or adjunct, professors. The pay for these jobs is not great, but there are often fringe benefits, like access to the school’s other resources and the ability for you to audit a class or attend a great lecture.
Social Security impact: If you have claimed Social Security benefits early but wish to continue working, remember that you will be subject to an annual “earnings test” that will reduce your Social Security payments. For those of you who'll reach your full retirement age after 2016 -- it's currently 66, but edges up slightly for those born in 1955 and thereafter -- the amount you can earn this year without any penalty is $15,720. (If you'll be turning 66 this year, that amount is $41,880, and it applies only to your earnings through the month before the month in which you turn 66.) Above that dollar threshold, the government withholds $1 in benefits for every $2 earn, or $1 for every $3 you earn during the year you reach full retirement age. After that, you can collect your full Social Security benefit even if you continue to work.