Extra Income Sources for Retirees

11 Ways of Earning Money in Retirement

Many retirees are looking for ways to earn money, whether by doing online or seasonal work, tapping their entrepreneurial streak, or perhaps downsizing in order to raise cash. Here’s why: The average Social Security retirement benefit as of February 2024 is $1,772.51, which probably isn’t enough income to support a comfortable life for most people in the United States, especially older people who can often require more health care services.

Read on for some ideas for discovering extra income sources for retirees, plus tips on how seniors can maximize their money.

Online Jobs for Seniors

For people who want to earn money from the comfort of home, there are many online jobs that require varying degrees of experience. Often you can work when you like, in your sweats if you prefer. This is, after all, supposed to be your time. Here, some work-from-home jobs for retirees:

1. Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants tackle jobs that companies don’t have the money or inclination to hire full-time employees for. This might include anything from handling social media to managing customer emails or handling the CEO’s schedule. Often, they work for small companies, but they may be called in to help large ones as well. Some virtual assistants make very good money; six figures, even. The key is to create a niche, an area where you already have expertise to set you apart from the competition.

2. Bookkeeper

Bookkeeping can be a fairly easy skill to learn; it isn’t accounting, and bookkeepers don’t handle all the tasks of an accountant. A bookkeeper might create new accounts, handle payroll, and pay and issue invoices, usually with the help of bookkeeping software. They probably won’t be responsible for closing out the books, reporting taxes, or other tasks that have the legal liabilities of an accountant. One bookkeeper might be able to handle several clients.

3. Teacher

Even if you haven’t taught before, if you have knowledge to share and have always been good at explaining things to others, online teaching might be for you. You could teach English to non-English speakers, or tutor in any subject in which you have depth of knowledge. Earnings can range from several dollars an hour to more than $25 (or multiples of that) depending on your expertise. An online search can lead you to many options.

4. Customer Service

You’d be surprised how many jobs there are for customer service representatives who want to work from home. You might be hired to help customers via phone, social media, or chat. You could be working with products or services, from selling kitchenware to answering questions about healthcare services. Or if you have management experience, you might manage a team of home-based customer service representatives. This is a job that requires patience and a love of working with people.

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Seasonal Jobs for Retirees

5. Retail, Tax Season, Tourism

You may not want to work all year round. Perhaps just bringing in a little extra money now and again would suit you fine. If so, holidays, tourist season, and tax season may provide all the work you want. For example, US retailers expect to hire many 100,000s of workers for most Christmas seasons, mostly working as sales associates in brick-and-mortar stores. For instance, Walmart alone has hired 40,000 employees during the ramp-up to a recent holiday season.

While Christmas retail may provide the most seasonal jobs, tax season isn’t too far behind and also provides hundreds of thousands of jobs for tax preparers. Many of them must first take a short course and work from the first of the year through Tax Day.

But there are other opportunities, too. All summer and fall people need yard work and gardening help. If you live in a tourist town, attractions need staff, too. Picking up seasonal work means enjoying the leisure of retirement in between picking up extra cash.

Start Your Own Business

The skills you gained during your working years could provide the foundation for your own pursuit, or you could try something different. How many hours you devote to it is your call; flexibility can be a benefit of a side hustle or entrepreneurial business. Some ideas:

6. Consulting

More and more companies are turning to contract work rather than hiring full-time employees. If you have a solid skill set, want to set your own hours, and choose your clients, you can use your connections to begin a consulting company. You may need a website or LinkedIn to promote your services, or you may have a strong enough network you can just reach out to connections and let them know you’re in business!

7. Service Work

Maybe you love cooking and can create a business providing meals for a handful of families every week. Perhaps you love kids and want to work as a nanny. Perhaps you are good at simple carpentry and can do odd jobs. Many families find they lack the time to take care of jobs, kids, homes, and hobbies and would love a reliable person to take on some of their tasks.

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Downsize in Retirement

Life can get fuller and more complicated as the years pass — buying stuff, accumulating debt, having multiple income streams, gaining complexity. Retirement can be the right time to figure out what brings you joy and start shedding that extra stuff which may have become a burden to manage.

8. Sell Stuff

By retirement age, many people have collected a lot of possessions. Instead of just unloading it for free, you might offer it on a site like eBay or Etsy, or one of the dozens of other possible places to sell your things.

If you donate it, make sure to track what you give away and keep receipts for a possible tax deduction.

Recommended: Guide to Reselling

9. Unload Debt

Debt is expensive. Whether it’s a credit card, a personal loan, or even a mortgage, it’s wise to find ways to reduce the cost of that debt. That might mean it’s time to refinance your mortgage and perhaps roll other debts into it to cut the interest rate and boost your tax deductions.

It might mean making extra payments on principal or using the extra income you bring in to whittle away at high-interest loans. It might mean seeing if you can get a better rate by using a personal loan for your car. Talk to a financial advisor to find the best ways to reduce the burden of debt.

10. Reduce Fixed Costs

Use a spending tracker or budget tracker to find ways to reduce your fixed monthly expenses like food, housing, transportation, and healthcare. Could you get by with only one car instead of two? Or maybe it’s time to sell your home and move into a smaller one that gives you more money at the end of the month.

Various tools let you check home values to see how much you could get for your current home. You could also eliminate a couple of streaming services or follow store sales to stock up on favorite items at a lower cost.

11. Ask for Discounts

Take advantage of seniors’ discounts everywhere you go. Many mobile phone services have senior discounts; grocery stores have senior discount days; movie theaters, hotels, airlines, all offer discounts to seniors.

Beyond age-related savings, know that you can also sometimes renegotiate bills for things like insurance and internet service. Don’t be shy: Many companies expect it and build it into their customer retention plans so you’re not asking for “special favors.” You might also try negotiating medical bills as well.

Revisit Your Financial Plan

Financial planning has to evolve as the markets evolve. You should ensure you have a retirement plan and that you regularly evaluate your financial portfolio. You may be able to move money around in a way that provides you extra cash each month.

Continuing to Save Money in Retirement

A couple of other moves can help you manage your finances in retirement.

•   You might hold off on taking Social Security until you are at full retirement age, so you get the highest possible benefit.

•   If you are part of a married couple and want to begin drawing your Social Security benefit, research your options. You may want to have the higher earner hold off and the lower earner claim benefits.

•   Invest carefully. Seniors can still invest (perhaps not as much as in the past); be sure to work with a vetted, respected financial professional since scams and fraud can target elders.

The Takeaway

Many retirees are looking for ways to bring in more cash, and there are plenty of ways to do so, from starting a side hustle to selling unwanted items to taking on seasonal work. You might also benefit from taking a fresh look at your budget and reallocating some funds.

Another important facet of thriving during retirement can be to find the right banking partner. SoFi can be that ally.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

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How can you make extra money after 60?

There are a variety of ways to make extra money after 60, from starting a side hustle to doing seasonal work. Options range from retail to consulting to teaching and beyond.

What is the best side hustle for retirees?

The best side hustle will depend on your skills, interest, and available time and equipment. For instance, if you have a chunk of free time and a car at your disposal, you might drive a rideshare like Uber. If you have deep knowledge on a certain topic, you might teach online.

How to make $1,000 a month in retirement?

A person’s ability to make $1,000 a month in retirement will depend upon how they want to go about earning. Do you have a passive income stream (say, a rental property) you can tap? Can you command top dollar consulting or teaching online? Or can you work for several hours a day at a side hustle or seasonal job? The particulars of your situation (your skill set, available time, and location) will all matter.

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