How to Return to the Workforce If You’re Running Out of Money During Retirement

protect your retirement savings

Millions of Americans are reaching retirement age each year, yet a majority of them feel financially unequipped to handle the potential costliness of long-term care combined with a permanent loss of earned income. Some folks barely have anything saved for retirement by the time they reach their 50s and 60s, which means they’ll likely be working well into their 70s and possibly 80s to pay the bills.

If you’re concerned about running out of money during retirement, then rest assured, you’re not alone. Many older Americans – retired and end-of-career alike – are worried about the possibility of rising healthcare costs, longer lifespans, and inflation derailing even the most perfectly laid retirement plans. This means that seniors should consider other means to make money beyond retirement, even if that means eventually returning to the workforce.

Rather than trying to scrape by on Social Security and meager withdrawals from your 401k or IRA, here are some strategies you should consider if you might run out of money during retirement and want or need to work after retirement.

Try a Side Hustle

Even if you’re running low on funds, you don’t need to return to a regular 9-5 job to make ends meet. Many seniors prefer getting part-time jobs or side hustles to maintain a bit of schedule flexibility while supplementing their retirement incomes. If you feel comfortable driving for several hours per day or week, you might consider driving for Lyft or Uber.

If you enjoy working with animals, you could find pet-sitting clients through platforms like Wag or Rover. If you’d prefer to work from home on writing, technical or creative projects, you could be your own boss and find freelance work through sites like Fiverr instead of having to work after retirement for someone else. There are many opportunities for seniors to make money by selling products or services through online side gig platforms, so don’t resign yourself to applying for part-time jobs before researching and trying out different side hustles that let you make money at your convenience.

Develop New Skills

Whether you’ve been out of the workforce for 10 months or 10 years, you could likely benefit from polishing up some existing skills or developing new skills to add to your resume. The types of skills you should work on will depend heavily on your current knowledge/skill set and types of jobs you want to get if/when you return to the workforce.

Fortunately, there are many ways to update/develop your skills on a shoestring budget, including:

Update Your LinkedIn Profile

It’s not enough to simply send out your old resume when you’re looking for work; even if you update your resume, employers will likely want to scope out potential candidates on LinkedIn, which means you need to either join the professional networking website or update your existing account. Your LinkedIn should be fully filled out, which includes: a professional headline, detailed summary (1,200 to 2,000 characters), detailed work experience (don’t leave those job descriptions blank!), 50 skills, educational background, and any certifications or honors/awards you’ve received over the course of your career.

To increase your chances of successfully landing a job, you should be able to craft a rehearsed response to questions about your employment history. Specifically, you should address the fact that you haven’t been in the workforce for a while because you were retired, rather than unemployed, and offer a compelling explanation for why you’re seeking work after retirement again (don’t focus too much on the “I need more money” angle, which could be a turn off for some employers).  

Network with Relevant Professionals

Once you’ve updated your resume and LinkedIn profile, you’ll likely be more successful in finding a job more quickly if you network with other professionals working in the field you want to go into. Even if you’re simply returning to the same industry you worked in for most of your career, you’ll want to network with others to discover the best employment opportunities with solid pay and schedule flexibility.

You can find local networking events/groups through or Facebook, though sending out messages to recruiters through LinkedIn could also be effective.

Stay Financially Afloat During Retirement

Deciding to return to the workforce after your initial retirement can be frustrating at first. After all, you already worked most of your life and the possibility of running out of money due to delayed savings or health problems can be stressful for anyone to deal with.

Fortunately, there are many options for seniors who need to go back to work without having to work a usual 9-5 job. Many colleges and universities have begun offering discounted or free programs for seniors/retirees who want to maintain or improve their skill sets to stay competitive in the labor force.

Free networking events are excellent ways to get involved in professional groups that can lead to a job offer (not to mention offering socializing opportunities for seniors who may experience loneliness during their retirement years).

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