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Best Places to Find Work in Retirement

Category: Work and Volunteering

January 26, 2013 — If you have decided to work in retirement you will not be alone. More and more boomers will continue to look for employment once they hit retirement age, whether because they like what they are doing, need the money, or just want to stay busy. Here in Part 2 of our series on working in retirement we list a selection of some of the best places to find work in retirement. See Part 1: “Working in Retirement: How to Find a Job That Works for You” for more on strategies for finding the right job for you.

Many Possibilities
The first thing we discovered when we began researching the best cities and towns for baby boomers to find work in retirement was a pleasant one – there are a lot of possibilities! Just about every area of the country has places with relatively low unemployment rates, plentiful jobs, and a diversified employer base. So if you want a job and are currently living somewhere with high unemployment and unattractive job openings – vote with your feet – move to one of the many places with better prospects.

Several Common Factors
The second thing we learned about good spots for a working retirement is that they tend to share many of the same factors. Apparently these characteristics insulate towns from the ups and downs of the economy:
– College towns
– Big medical centers
– State and National Capitals
– Diverse industry

Some of the Best
There are so many possible cities and towns we could have listed here that we recommend you use the references in the “Further Reading” section below to get more ideas. We have selected a sampling here, mostly based on the Milken Institute ranking for senior employment, while trying to give our readers some regional and size diversity.

Austin, Texas. Note that Austin is both the state capital and the home of the University of Texas. Unemployment among people 65+ is relatively low and a wide variety of jobs are available, including those in its vibrant high tech sector. Plus it’s an exciting place to live.

Punta Gorda, Florida. Frankly we were surprised to see this town on the Florida’s west coast do so well on retirement employment. But the Milken Institute ranks it well for 65+ employment, employment growth, and service/manufacturing output. Plus, as a community on the Gulf, it is one of the nicer places to live in Florida.


Missoula, Montana. Another college town, Missoula’s economy bustles thanks to the University of Missouri, St. Patrick’s Hospital, and Community Medical Center. Besides good employment prospects, Missoula offers outstanding recreation in the nearby mountains.

Greenville, NC. Foreign car and tire manufacturers are just some of the companies who selected Greenville for new plants. The city shows palpable growth just about everywhere you look, plus it has ample parks and nearby lakes. Greenville ranked 7th on the Milken Small Metro list for rate of employment growth.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This city in the income tax free state of South Dakota has a bustling economy and very low unemployment rate. Plus there are 50 parks and greenways in this friendly city.

Lexington, Kentucky. Not only does Lexington have the University of Kentucky to fuel the economy, it has 2 historic race tracks for horse lovers. It has a whopping 100 parks to enjoy.

Huntsville, Alabama. Known as “Rocket City”, Huntsville is a popular destination for retirees from all over the country, based on availability of desirable housing, beautiful parks, and a vibrant commercial and cultural infrastructure. The Defense and Space industry fuel a vibrant local economy.

Las Cruces, New Mexico. We wouldn’t have guessed that this town in southern NM near El Paso (TX) would have been great for jobs. But when you consider that it is home to the very large New Mexico State University and near NASA’s White Sands Missile Range you get the idea. Mesilla is a historic town that is now a suburb.

College Station/Bryan, Texas. Yet another college town, this one is home to the flagship campus of Texas A & M. With a population just under 100,000 the city has multiple business and tech parks such as the one associated with Texas A & M. Northgate is a huge mixed use neighborhood near the University with bars, restaurants, and entertainment. College Station is ranked #3 overall for Employment/Education by Milken for Small Metros.

Aerial view of Oregon State U.

Corvallis, Oregon. By now you have seen the trend – education is good for the local economy and boomers looking for work. Corvallis, located in west central Oregon, is home to Oregon State University. Unemployment was 6.5% in 2012. Like most towns in the Pacific Northwest, Corvallis offers outstanding outdoor recreation and scenery on those days when you are not working.

Bottom Line
Before you start looking at cities where you might find work in retirement we recommend you review the steps in Part 1 of this series – such as figuring out what kind of work you want to do, whether you need to acquire a new skill, and interview preparation. Then you will be ready to start researching communities that offer a good match of job opportunities versus your skills and interests. Good luck!

For further reading
Part 1: How to Find a Job That Works for You
Milken Institute: Best Small Metros for Successful Aging – Employment
Forbes List of 25 Best Places for Working in Retirement

Comments? Please share your thoughts about the best places for baby boomers to find a job. What kinds of jobs did you find, what barriers are there, share your successful job finding strategies.

Posted by Admin on January 26th, 2013


  1. […] In our experience most people fall into one of these categories or somewhere in between. If your profile matches one of the last 2 categories (that is, you intend to work), it is extremely important that you invest some time planning just how you are going to find a job that meets your needs. This article, which springs from a suggestion by Topretirements’ member Dave Ellison, will explore the “how to find work in retirement” part of the story. Part 2 will provide suggestions for the “Best Places to find work in retirement“. […]

    by » Working in Retirement: How to Find a Job That Works for You Topretirements — January 26, 2013

  2. If you want to relocate, it’s good to note the employment situation in a potential new community. But, you can work remotely or start your own small business, so finding a place to work doesn’t have to mean looking outside your own residence. If you just need some extra income, consider examples I’ve written about in my book, such as call center work from home (Alpine Access), starting your own dog-walking or pet grooming business, being a rep for a jewelry or clothing company, or tutoring (online or in person). Or, perhaps a job that is part-time but could include some health benefits, such as being a classroom aide or a crossing guard, or working for a company such as Starbucks or a call center.

    Jan Cullinane, The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (John Wiley & Sons)

    by Jan Cullinane — January 27, 2013

  3. Jan , I hope that these jobs you are suggesting would pay well and not just take advantage of a senior citizen’s age to not offer benefits or only offer minimal pay. Anyone at any age could start a business–not just seniors.

    by Jennifer — January 27, 2013

  4. Hi Jennifer, you are so right, anyone at any age can start a business. As I mentioned in my post, these jobs are suggestions if you “just need some extra income” – they are NOT new careers with huge paychecks. The average for the call centers are about $9 an hour, and some of them offer health benefits. One person I interviewed had heart issues, and took a job as a classroom aide because the health insurance covered the thousands of dollars in medication.

    Jan Cullinane

    by Jan Cullinane — January 28, 2013

  5. I met a woman in Washington D.C. recently. She had been a high-powered attorney and lobbyist. But she started renting rooms in her house through airbnb, and she started dogwalking, and that is her ‘job’ now. She told me that she made approximately $10,000 in December between her rents and her dog walking. I would call that ‘well paid’. She did say that the dogwalking is a lot of work; once you have a group of clients, there is no ‘taking the day off’. So that job has it’s drawbacks as well. But I think there are a lot of things out there that we can do if we are creative, that would pay well.

    by Ginger — January 28, 2013

  6. Many of my neighbors at Colonial Heritage in Williamsburg do volunteer work at the hospital or for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Others do seasonal work at Busch Gardens or in Colonial Williamsburg. Of course, these are not top-paying jobs…just fun and provide a little spending money. Overall, jobs in the hospitality industry and medical fields abound here…but salaries are on the low side.

    by KAPPA8491 — January 30, 2013

  7. It depends on what kind of work you are willing to accept in retirement. As a retired technology consultant/project manager, the technology working environment almost closes down after you reach age 40! So, if you are talking about becoming a greeter at Walmart, or slinging burgers in a fast food joint, think again… just prepare better for retirement so you don’t need to work.

    by Winston — January 30, 2013

  8. @Catherine: Perhaps a better venue to show and sell your art would be the website “”. 😀

    by Winston — January 30, 2013

  9. Oregon? You’ve got to be kidding. Work is hard to find, especially worthwhile work. Click here to see if Corvallis is a fit for you. It’s a shortened link. It takes you to Oregon Employment listings. Look around.

    by Edward — January 30, 2013

  10. Winston, I retired as a Senior Software Engineer from Visa, Inc in 2005, and went back to work for the State of NY as a Business Systems Analyst in 2010 (I was age 60 at the time). Beyond that, there are many online opportunities for working from home. Also, there is always the option of freelancing doing web development. In my opinion, anyone with technical skills is way ahead of the game when it comes to work in retirement, as the skills are so in demand. And by the way, I started at Visa when I was 40. I have not seen the ‘age ceiling’ you speak of. Maybe you were in the wrong part of the country.

    by Ginger — January 31, 2013

  11. One more comment: I chose to look in State government because I knew that government is ruled by Civil Service rulings. In most states this means that jobs are filled by a list that was created from people who took and passed an exam. When I decided to go to work for the State of NY they were not hosting exams for programmers, but they were having exams for System Analysis, so I took that. Once you are on a list, you receive canvas letters asking if you are interested in a position, and inviting you to apply. Because the state must fill from the next ‘set’ of people at the top of the list, those canvas letters go out only to the people that are qualified. This means that if you can do well in an interivew, you have a good shot. government jobs do not and cannot discriminate based on age. There are people working for NYS in their 70s and 80s. And, in the State of NY, we are not only allowed but encouraged to do voluntary reduction of work hours if we like. I currently work 80%, and can go down to 70%, and not lose seniority of benefits. We also have part time jobs, and there are ‘hourly’ jobs, which do not require being on a list. Many people retire from the State, and then come back in hourly positions. So government is always a good option for older people, and there are jobs available.

    by Ginger — February 1, 2013

  12. […] Reading: Best Places to Find Work in Retirement How to Find a Job in Retirement That Suits […]

    by » 5 Dream Jobs for Your Retirement Topretirements — August 11, 2014

  13. This comment/suggestion came in from Elaine:

    I will have to work part-time into my 70s. Have you written articles on that part of retirement? Do other retirees who read your articles have to work part-time? What kinds of jobs are available, that aren’t grunt work for minimum wage? Do you have ideas on finding work? What about professionals who may want to continue in their field, or, translate abilities and skills for another field of work? Statistics on working retirees? Any success stories or stories about what didn’t work out? Effects on Social Security, pensions,

    by Admin — August 24, 2015

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