While retirement can sound like a dream come true, millions of Americans find the reality of it to be less than satisfying. As a result, they end up going back to work in some form. According to RAND Corporation, a research organization, 39% of workers aged 65 and older who are currently employed had previously retired.
People return to the workforce for a variety of reasons. They may miss the camaraderie of the workplace, engagement with customers, and the fulfillment of their work provided. But it’s also often a matter of money. The Government Accountability Office reported that 48% of households aged 55 and older had no retirement savings at all.
Whether you’re looking to improve your finances or simply challenge yourself to learn new skills, there are many different ways to make extra money that are both lucrative and enjoyable. Here’s what you need to know about how to earn money in retirement.
What are the best jobs for retirees?
When thinking about the best gigs for retirees, it’s important to take into consideration several factors:
- Earning potential: With years of working experience behind you, you likely won’t be satisfied making minimum wage. And, you need to make a decent hourly rate to positively impact your finances.
- Flexibility: As a retiree, you want to travel, spend time with your family, and maybe play golf or join a book club. When thinking about what jobs make sense for you, you want a job that gives you flexibility so you can indulge in those activities. Side gigs that you can scale up or down depending on your plans can help you earn money without sacrificing the things you want to do.
- Physical demands: It may not be something you want to think about, but you’re older now. Physically demanding jobs, such as landscaping or delivering packages, may not be realistic for everyone. If this describes you, focus on tasks that are less rigorous on your joints and and that require less endurance. On the flip side, a moderately active job may be just the thing to keep you moving regularly.
- Active or passive: Depending on your needs and interests, you may find that passive sources of income — which don’t require ongoing effort from you on a day-to-day basis — are best for you. Or, if you want something that gets you out of the house and allows you to engage with people, active sources of income may be better.
Regardless of which path you choose, here are nine excellent ways to earn extra cash in your retirement:
Share your parenting skills
If you’ve raised children, you have a wealth of experience. You can put those skills to work by becoming a nanny, babysitter, or caretaker with Rent A Grandma or Care.com. These sites connect experienced caregivers with families who need help with their children.
How much you can charge is dependent on your location, years of experience, and how many people you’ll be caring for. For example, as of December 2019, a babysitter in Orlando, Florida, taking care of one child could charge $15 per hour. But a babysitter in New York, New York, could charge $19 per hour for the same service.
Sell your crafts
You can turn your crafting skill into cash by selling your creations on Etsy. There’s a market for everything. You can sell knitting patterns, finished crochet pieces, or woodworking projects.
If you have beautiful handwriting, you can even use your cursive skills to make money addressing invitations. Some Etsy sellers charge $1 per envelope or more. How much you charge is dependent on the type of items you make, your competition, and how much your supplies cost you.
You can create an Etsy store and list your first item for just $0.20. After that, you’ll pay payment processing fees once you make a sale, and you’ll keep the rest of the sale price. Etsy also offers comprehensive support resources and tips to help you create and maintain a successful online store.
Share your wisdom
If you enjoy helping children learn, you can make a good amount of money tutoring kids in different subjects. Three sites that can help you find work are:
- Chegg: Chegg connects tutors with middle and high school students, college students, and professionals who need help. You can work in a wide range of subjects, including calculus, biology, zoology, and more. According to Chegg, tutors start at $20 per hour, and top tutors earn $1,000 per month or more.
- Tutor: Through Tutor, you can work with students in a variety of subjects, including math, science, and literature. You can tutor people in elementary through graduate school, and work between five and 29 hours per week. People who have worked for Tutor report earning an average of around $16 per hour.
- VIPKid: If you have a college degree and enjoy working with children, you can make up to $22 per hour teaching English to foreign students with VIPKid. VIPKid is entirely virtual, so you can teach from the comfort of your own home. You just need a good webcam, computer, and reliable internet. Classes are one-on-one, and VIPKid provides you with the teaching curriculum.
Be a pet sitter
When you’re retired, your lifestyle may not be suitable for pet ownership. You may not want to deal with the added expense, or you may travel too often to make it feasible. But if you love animals, there’s a way to enjoy time with pets while earning money: become a pet-sitter.
With this approach, you’ll watch dogs, cats, and other animals in their homes or yours. You may walk them and provide companionship while their owners are at work, or you may take care of the animals while their family is on vacation.
Pet-sitters earn between $10 and $25 per hour, so it can be an excellent source of supplemental income. And, you’ll get to play with animals and get additional exercise while walking dogs. You can get started by creating a profile on Rover.
Rent out your car
If you’re retired and no longer have to commute to work every day, turn your car into a money-making machine by renting it out on GetAround. You can set how often your car is available and make hundreds of dollars per month. You’ll pocket up to 60% of the rental cost, while Getaround covers roadside assistance and insurance.
You can rent out your car as often as you want. If you only want to rent it out to earn money on the weekends, or only on holidays, you can do that. Or, if you want to list it every day to get a more consistent income, you can do that too. If you don’t often use your car, renting it out can be a smart way to earn passive income.
Lease out your extra space
Many retirees decide to age in place. That means they stay in their current homes rather than downsizing. If that’s what you plan to do, you can use some of your home’s extra space to make more money.
Whether you have a spare bedroom, empty closet, or an entire garage available, you can rent that out to your neighbors who need a safe place to store their items. Renters will pay you a monthly fee to store their things at your house. You can find renters for your extra space on Store At My House and Neighbor.
How much can you make? It depends on your location, the space’s size, and whether or not it’s airconditioned. For example, as of December 2019, a garage near Atlanta, Georgia, can rent for as much as $300 per month. By contrast, a small closet in San Francisco, California, can cost $45 per month. For retirees with unused space in their homes, renting it out for storage can be an excellent source of passive income.
Let people use your parking spot
If you live in a city or near popular entertainment spots, like sports stadiums or theaters, you can make money by letting people park their vehicles in your spot or garage. Sites like Pavemint, SpotHero, and CurbFlip connect people like you with potential parking-space renters.
You can charge a monthly fee for long-time parking arrangements. Or, if you only want to lease out your parking spot a few days a month, you can make it available on certain occasions. For example, you might rent it out when your city’s football team has a big game or a major convention is in town.
For a retiree who doesn’t have to worry about commuting every day, leasing out your parking space can be lucrative. Depending on where you live, you could make over $100 per day by letting people use your parking spot.
Get a roommate
While getting a roommate sounds like something only college students and recent graduates do, it’s becoming increasingly common for people in retirement. According to SpareRoom, a company that connects potential roommates, the fastest-growing segment of roommate seekers are people over the age of 50.
The benefits of a roommate are two-fold: you can get help with your housing expenses, and you get companionship. For people in their retirement years who may be battling loneliness or boredom, that can be a major perk.
Getting a roommate can also dramatically reduce your living expenses. Consider that in 2018 the average two-bedroom apartment in the U.S. cost $1,255 per month. If you got a roommate to cover half the cost, you’d save $7,520 per year just in rent.
If you have extra time during the day or in the evenings, consider delivering groceries for a service like Instacart. With these companies, you’ll shop for food and household items at the local store, then deliver them to customers’ homes.
If you know the layout of the local grocery store inside and out, you can fulfill orders quickly and make a good amount of cash.
Delivering groceries can be a good side hustle for retirees because you can work when it suits your schedule. You can work as often as you want, and if you want to take a break to travel or visit your grandkids, you can do so without getting approval from a boss.
The bottom line on making extra money in retirement
After decades of working, you’ve finally reached your golden years and retired. If you’ve found that you want to work post-retirement, either to earn extra money or to simply engage with your community, there are a variety of ways you can bring in additional income.
With these nine ideas above, you’ve learned how to earn money in retirement. When choosing which job is right for you, consider that the best jobs for retirees are flexible, scalable, and allow you to work when it suits your schedule. By thinking about your goals and plans, you can make extra money and make the most of your retirement at the same time.