Back to Business: 10 Ways to Supplement Your Income in Retirement

Here’s a list of jobs retired and semi-retired Canadians are flocking to, both as a way to “keep in the game” and to supplement their incomes.

Looking for a post-career career? Here’s a list of 10 jobs retired and semi-retired Canadians are flocking to, both as a way to “keep in the game” and to supplement their incomes. Remember that retirement can provide you with the opportunity to do the kind of work you always wanted to do, and therein lies enormous satisfaction at any age.

Share your knowledge

School boards across Canada are always looking for “people with passion in a subject” to teach continuing education at schools and community colleges, says Andy Gauthier of the Vancouver School Board, making teaching night school the perfect job for those with a lifetime of expertise in anything from fashion or graphic design to marketing or mechanics. Think of it as consulting to the masses! “Get started by contacting your school board and telling them what you want to do and what people can get out of it,” says Gauthier. Pay rates are $20 to $30 an hour, and courses can range from a few hours in a one-shot deal to one night a week for an eight-week session. Note to retired teachers: most school boards have on-call lists offering part-time gigs for the appropriately qualified.

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Be a friend

Junior seniors assisting senior seniors is the mantra at Seniors for Seniors, a company operating across Ontario and in the Halifax-Truro area that matches younger retirees with older people needing help with daily activities, including cooking, cleaning and helping out in the bathroom. Sometimes it’s more than just companionship but relief, says company president Peter Cook. “We have one case where the client is a woman looking after her husband. We take over when she needs a break.” By and large, assisters can choose their own schedule, training is available and wages run at about $12.50 an hour. Offering similar services on a freelance basis is an option for the more entrepreneurial minded.

Keep the books

Those with a good head for numbers might want to think about bookkeeping, says Laura Banick, provincial representative for the Canadian Bookkeepers Association in Alberta. “You can definitely do it on your own and work from home,” she says, adding that basic requirements include a good understanding of double-entry accounting, which these days means knowing how to use programs like Simply Accounting and QuickBooks. “You can take a course in either one.” Clients range from owner-operated firms to multi-million dollar companies, and remuneration runs from $15 to $25 at the entry level to as much as $125 an hour for those with experience and the right training. Find work by networking at local business associations and chambers of commerce.

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Sell something

Retail sales offer a wide range of opportunities for retired and semi-retired seniors, says Sue Barkman of ThirdQuarter, a Winnipeg-based company that recently branched out into Alberta and specializes in finding employment for mature workers. “Many enjoy such work because they love the social aspect of retail sales and service,” she says. While retail may seem like a young person’s game, mature shoppers often feel more comfortable dealing with mature salespeople. Remuneration varies from the provincial minimum wage and up but is often augmented by commissions and discounts on store products. The qualities of a good retail salesperson include confidence, an innate friendliness, flexibility, patience, empathy and all-round good people skills.

Give good advice

Management consulting is a viable post-career option for experienced executives who have accumulated a rich history of experiences and achievements, say Glenn Yonemitsu, CEO of the Canadian Association of Management Consultants (CMC-Canada), but consulting is much more than knowledge alone. “It is knowing how to deliver the knowledge to the client so the client can learn, make plans and initiate change from that knowledge, that will help make their organizations better,” he explains. The remuneration range is vast, with top-end consultants earning in the millions, but the pay is invariably commensurate with the value consultants bring to a business. Contact CMC-Canada for information on professional development and appropriate certification because consulting is about a lot more than printing up a business card.

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Answer the call

Virtual communication notwithstanding, organizations and companies still need qualified people to pick up the phone and represent their interests with intelligence and empathy. Instead of hiring an army of people to (wo)man the phones, they farm the job out to home-based freelancers. Jobs include: sales and telemarketing, customer service, technical support, doing surveys, taking reservations. Wages vary, but according to, hourly rates range from $10.35 an hour for a customer service agent to $14 an hour for a team leader. Beware and avoid companies that charge fees for training or equipment; more often than not, they are scams.

Walk the dog

Sometimes, pets are like grandkids; you love them, but it’s a relief you don’t have to look after them full time. Retired animal lovers can have it both ways and earn cash by looking after other people’s pets when they are otherwise engaged. Tasks include dog walking or sitting, dropping in for feedings or simply providing a little love for creatures that crave it is as much as human beings do. Thanks to the Internet, hanging out a shingle is as complicated as writing up a good blurb advertising your services on Craigslist. Remuneration is all over the place, ranging from a few dollars for walking the dog to $20 to $30 a day for full-time care.

Make it work for someone else

Got a knack for fixing things? Lots of homeowners (especially younger ones) dread the thought of fixing a toilet or cleaning a gutter. A little networking skill and a talent for the right job along with the integrity to charge a fair price and guarantee your work can help establish your reputation as the one to call when tools and time are needed to set it right. Remuneration is negotiable depending on the complexity of a job and the time it takes to do it, but $15 to $35 an hour is not unreasonable according to Use references to solicit new work, and the phone will ring off the hook.

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Work and camp

Thinking about getting a recreational vehicle but feeling a little intimidated by the prospect of shelling out big bucks to travel in one? Maybe “workamping” is the answer. It’s pretty much what it sounds like: working while camping. It could be at an RV park in exchange for a pad, says Joan Baer of Workamper Canada, but “workamper opportunities run the gamut, from part-time seasonal to full-time, year-round, to business and income opportunities, volunteer positions and full-fledged careers” at marinas, theme parks, historic sites, ski resorts, guest ranches, wilderness outfitters, national and provincial parks and forests, wildlife refuges and any other businesses or government agencies. More info at

Bodice ripper

Got a smouldering romance novel in you? According to romance writer Brenda Hiatt, if you can wring out a smooch-and-sell for one of the Harlequin imprints, you can earn anywhere from a few thousand to nearly $30,000 over the life of the book. According to Harlequin, there’s a format but not a formula for each of the series imprints (Blaze, Desire, Historical, etc.). “At the heart of all great romances are two strong, appealing, sympathetic and three-dimensional characters,” says the publisher. Set them in motion with “emotional, character-driven conflict,” and you’re off to the races – and maybe the bank! Check out the writing tips at or look into the continuing education courses on writing at your local community college.