Six Boomer Jobs to Ride the Age Wave

Six Boomer Jobs to Ride the Age Wave

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What's next for you? How about a job that lets you ride the so-called "Age Wave?"

Careers in working with an aging population have become increasingly popular with those age 50 and older who are looking for a second career.

By 2050, about one in five Americans will be over age 65, up from 13 percent of the U.S. population or about 39 million Americans now, according to Pew Research Projections. And the number of those 85 and older is expected to more than double to about 5 percent.

"This demographic shift is already creating a wave of new fields and opportunities for workers of all ages. It's just a tease of what's to come," writes AARP jobs expert Kerry Hannon in her new book, Great Jobs for Everyone 50 . There has been an explosion in the number of jobs that serve older Americans — from fitness experts to retirement coaches and health care advocates.

But landing these positions may take some maneuvering. "You might need to bolster your resume with new skills, preferably added while continuing to work in your first career," Hannon writes.

In her book, Hannon includes a job description, pay range, and qualifications for positions that benefit from an aging population.

Here are six jobs that could help you ride the age wave.

By Sharon Epperson
Posted 29 Nov. 2012

Health Care/Patient Advocate

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Job Description: You help patients navigate the medical system by filling out insurance forms, dealing with billing mistakes, contesting insurance coverage rejections, finding specialists and hospitals, accompanying them to appointments, negotiating doctors' fees and picking up prescriptions.

Median Pay Range: $15 to $50 per hour, but pay can rise with experience.

Qualifications: Community colleges and nonprofits are developing training and certification programs for this field. No licenses are required. The websites for the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants and the nonprofit Patient Advocate Foundation can provide more information.

Move Manager

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Job Description: You help retirees relocate to smaller quarters, typically to an apartment or retirement community, by coordinating the move and configuring the new home setup. This means helping them choose which items in their present home to sell, donate or toss. You might even run their yard sale or shop for new furniture.

Median Pay Range: Fees range from $30 to $75 per hour, or more.

Qualifications: Knowledge of interior design is essential, and it helps to have an "in" with a local real estate agent to launch your business and to provide a steady clientele. The website of the National Association of Senior Move Managers can give you information about courses and — if you want it — certification.

Aging in Place/Home Modification Pro

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Job Description: You help people in their 60s and beyond continue to live in their homes, figuring out ways to convert or adapt the residences to stave off accidents with modifications such as building ramps and installing grab bars in the shower. You might work with contractors, architects and interior designers to make the modifications.

Median Pay Range: $40 per hour and up

Qualifications: The National Association of Home Builders offers a course that teaches design and building techniques to make homes accessible for older residents; it's offered all around the country and typically costs around $300.

Fitness Trainer

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Job Description: You design individual workout routines or teach group classes. Specialize in swimming or becoming certified to teach "accessible" yoga, for instance, which adapts techniques for people with chronic illness and disability. Water aerobics is also a big attraction.

Median Pay Range: $17 to $30 an hour, up to $60 or $100 or more per hour in larger cities (Fitness clubs may collect cost of session from members and give a percentage to you.)

Qualifications: Certification is not required by law, but you probably need it to work at most fitness clubs. For credentials, you must be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and pass written and practical exams. National groups offering credentials: American Council on Exercise, International Sports Sciences Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Retirement Coach

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Job Description: If you're a good listener and great problem solver, then you may be just the person to advise soon-to-be retirees on what to do with the rest of their lives. This can be a mix of life coaching and job coaching for someone who is good at coming up with creative solutions and action steps for what can be an awkward stage in the lives of many Boomers.

Median Pay Range: $50 to $400 an hour

Qualifications: This could be a natural fit for someone with a corporate background in human resources, counseling, or teaching. To learn more about certification, check out the requirements and courses offered through the International Coach Federation, which awards a global credential held by over 4,800 coaches worldwide.

Financial Planner

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Job Description: Demand for experts who can help older people manage their money is booming. A good planner can come up with an overall financial plan to cover not only how to allocate retirement assets, but also devise a stragegy for insurance, estate and tax planning. Building a trusting relationship with a client can take time — so it may be wise to start out by offering a budgeting service to help people keep track of monthly inflows and outflows as well as pay bills on time.

Median Pay Range: $120 to $300 per hour, or percentage under management, generally 1 to 3 percent. ($10 to $50 for monthly budgeting service)

Qualifications: Anyone can call themselves a financial planner or adviser. No minimum experience or education is necessary, but it is highly recommended by federal and state regulators. The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, a professional certification conferred by the Certified Financial Board of Standards, requires a 10-hour exam and bachelor's degree from accredited college or university.