When Jillian Cain retired at 62 from her job as an executive assistant, it gave her the opportunity to pursue another lifelong goal: selling photographs.
The Fort Lauderdale, Florida, resident had taken photos throughout her life but had had little success making money from her hobby.
Then Cain's husband asked one of his friends how he managed to sell his photos, and a new job was born. Several years later Cain now shoots and sells her photos through stock photography website Shutterstock.
The side gig has provided Cain with the opportunity to use her art education from the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio.
It also has enabled her to pad her budget with as much as $135 per month, money Cain uses toward traveling or new camera equipment.
"My whole life I've been trying to sell photos, and it finally happened," Cain said. "Fulfilling a dream and getting paid — what could be better than that?"
A 2017 Prudential Financial survey found that 31 percent of individuals who work exclusively in the gig economy are baby boomers, or those age 56 and up. Of those workers, 34 percent said they are retired.
That reflects a growing trend, according to financial advisor Ric Edelman, founder and executive chairman of Edelman Financial Services and author of the book The Truth About Your Future.
As technology makes it easy, low cost and low risk to find gig jobs, many retirees are looking to these opportunities, Edelman said. "For seniors who are trying to supplement their income with an extra $5,000 or $10,000 a year, it's a wonderful way to make extra money," he points out.
More than 10,000 websites and smartphone apps offer new ways to make money, according to Edelman. Those sites and apps enable you to rent out a room in your home through Airbnb, drive passengers in your car through Uber, walk a dog or pet-sit through Rover or sell your clothing through Tradesy.
"Virtually anything you can imagine creates opportunity to monetize," Edelman said. "It's almost limitless."
Finding new ways to make money will become even more imperative as retirees face longer life expectancies, with more individuals becoming centenarians, according to Edelman. Individuals will also stay healthier for longer as medical developments eradicate some of the leading causes of death, he said.
"Many scientists are anticipating that by the time you're 95, you'll be healthier than when you're 55," Edelman said.
Those forces will change the traditional career trajectory, Edelman said. Instead of working in one career for 45 years and retiring for 25 years, individuals will have multiple careers and return to school multiple times over the course of their lives.