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4. Senior Helper

The nitty-gritty: Name it and you might be asked to do it: take seniors to doctor appointments, pay bills, make meals, shop for groceries and run all kinds of errands. You are the one-stop shop that seniors can tap. You might be hired by an adult child who lives out of the area to be eyes and ears to keep track of how the parents are doing.

People with Alzheimer's will need special attention, so some nursing or caregiving skills are useful. Emergency medical technician training might come in handy. All in all, the key is building trust and being patient, flexible and reliable.

Average pay: According to, a personal assistant service like this might bring in $38,000 annually. You can probably charge hourly fees that range from $9.57 to $24.96, according to

Qualifications: There are no formal training courses or certifications for this business. But you might need to be physically fit to handle some requests you'll get. You may be asked to be bonded for the client's protection if you will be providing services in someone's home. Many clients will request a background check and references. If you'll be behind the wheel, you'll need a driver's license in good standing.

5. Financial Planner

The nitty-gritty: It's not unusual for seniors to struggle with managing investments and paying expenses. There's a pent-up demand for experts who can help them mind their money sensibly. A good planner can devise an overall financial plan to allocate assets and achieve the right blend to meet the client's goals.

There are simpler jobs in this field too: Consider starting a budgeting service that simply helps folks track their monthly inflow and outflow and make sure payments are made on time.

Pay range: $10 to $50 an hour for daily and monthly bill and budget aides. Advanced management services can earn you $120 to $300 per hour, or a percentage of assets under management, generally 1 percent to 3 percent per year.

Qualifications: To earn the big bucks, you'll need advanced certifications. To learn more about training, visit the Washington, D.C.-based Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

A cautionary note

Only about half of the more than 600,000 small firms that were started in the United States last year are likely to last beyond five years, according to the Small Business Administration.

For that reason, you need to be very careful about putting any portion of your retirement savings into a new business. There's just too much risk that down the road you'll be left without either a company or the money needed to live on.

Kerry Hannon is the author of What’s Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job.

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