Ways to make extra money in retirement
More than 1 in 4 retirees say they’re spending more than they can afford, according to an October 2022 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. With inflation at 6.5% in December, it’s not surprising that savings aren’t going as far as they used to.
But there are ways to bring in extra income without taking on a full-time job. Some part-time gigs — such as tutoring, pet sitting or helping with tax prep — allow retirees to work a few hours at a time, and the extra income can make a big difference.
Here are some ideas to consider.
Pet sitting or dog walking
If you have a fenced-in yard and the ability to care for someone else’s furry family members, offering pet services can be lucrative and flexible. According to data analyzed by e-learning platform Preply, dog walking is the best-paid side hustle by average hourly wage.
“Not to mention, having canine companionship offers many health benefits,” said consumer finance expert Andrea Woroch. “So, pet sitting is a great way to get that without the high costs of owning your own dog.”
One of the few perks of the pandemic is that online teaching and tutoring have flourished. You can set up shop on an online tutoring site like Preply or Wyzant, or an online teaching site such as Udemy. “Carve out a couple of hours on weeknights to tutor students online,” Woroch said.
If you have the credentials, consider creating a college-level course that you could teach as an adjunct professor.
“I created and teach on veterans’ issues at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University,” said Paul Dillon, owner of Dillon Consulting Services, which helps veterans who want to start a business. “Whenever the course is offered, I spend about five to 10 hours per week on work related to the course.”
Consulting or freelancing
Retirees often have decades of valuable experience. Taking on project work can help you stay in the game on your own timeline.
“Consulting is a great way to continue staying relevant in your field and offering your insights and advice without having to go back to the office full time,” said Jacques Famy Jr., a managing partner and chief marketing officer for merchant funding firm AdvancePoint Capital.
“You can either offer the services through a firm, or start your own side-hustle business.”
Filling community needs
Depending on where you live, there may be ample opportunities to pick up side work with your town or city. Your local school may need occasional (or frequent — flu season!) substitute teachers, for instance.
“Many K-12 schools can use the talents of retirees,” said Janet Heller, president of the Michigan College English Association. Heller points to the need for crossing guards, assistant coaches for athletic teams and recess supervisors, among other positions.
Contact your local school district to see what part-time spots may be available.
Do you have a lot of extra room in your house, and do you live in an area that attracts visitors?
“Rather than letting that freshly renovated basement or spare room go to waste, rent it out on Airbnb,” said Brian DeChesare, founder of Breaking Into Wall Street, a financial modeling training platform. “You get to set your ideal availability, so you’ll never be stuck with guests at inopportune times.”
One tip: If you winter (or summer) elsewhere, consider hiring a property manager to manage rentals of your space.
Got tax preparation skills? You can find work assisting with tax returns in the first few months of the year — then take the rest of the year off.
This is a great opportunity for anyone with tax experience, but it’s also possible to take a tax prep course that will qualify you for spots at the big-box tax firms.
The same goes for bookkeeping if you have a finance or accounting background. You can put your previous financial skills to work on a freelance basis, or take a bookkeeping skills course to qualify for project work.
“If you’re looking to do an additional job, building your skills — which might mean getting a certification or taking another course to help make yourself more competitive for a specific role — we certainly encourage our clients to look into doing that,” said Toni Frana, career services manager for FlexJobs.
“For something that requires some knowledge of financial fields, you do need to have a little bit of experience in those areas.”