The Retiree's Guide to Starting a Side Hustle

Last updated Jun 23, 2018 | By Christine Yaged

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Retirement is the perfect time to enjoy a new hobby.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to make some money from it as well?

Despite being retired, there are still ample ways to get started with a side hustle in your free time and on your own terms.

97-year-old, Cecilia Chiang, retired from her well-known business, Mandarin Restaurant, in 1991 but can still be found cooking up a storm at home or enjoying meals at her favorite local restaurants.

“I like to work,” she told Marketwatch. “I enjoy what I’m doing. It makes my life more interesting.”

Chiang’s busy lifestyle hasn’t stopped in retirement, and it’s all due to her purposeful planning. She tends to her garden, goes to the ballet and movies, and still consults for restaurants in San Francisco and various charities.

She’s been planning for a long, active retirement to keep her busy and happy. “A lot of people don’t realize how long they may live,” says Andrew Crowell, of D.A. Davidson & Co.

Here’s how to plan a long retirement mixed with work, volunteering, and leisure like Chiang’s.

1. Have a Plan Before You Retire

A financial plan always helps, but thinking about what you’d like to do in retirement is also important. Some retirees plan to try a new type of job or hobby, others hope to make a big cross-country move.

Having a plan is especially important for women who tend to take a break from the workforce to care for children, says Jason Ting, Chiang’s financial adviser at Merrill Lynch.

2. Earn Cash in Your Spare Time Taking Surveys

A favorite go-to for a little extra cash, Survey Junkie pays you instantly via Paypal to fill out surveys and surf the web. We love that it’s super easy to use, completely risk-free, and did I mention the pay is instantaneous?

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3. Host a Guest in Your Spare Room

Have an extra room to spare in your home?

You could earn a seriously generous income by signing up as a host for Airbnb.

Whether you make your space available year-round or just list it for a few weekends throughout the year, you will have complete control over your home and 24/7 support from Airbnb.

With over 150 million users booking stays for family vacations, holidays, sporting events, and more, you could be making extra money in no time!

Sign up for Airbnb here

4. Get Paid to Drive Your Car Around

If you enjoy meeting new people and creating your own schedule, signing up to drive with Lyft can be a great way to make extra money.

It's worth a try to see if you like it – some drivers have had so much success that it's become their main income source!

To be eligible, you must be at least 21 years old, have a car to drive, have three years of driving experience, an in-state driver’s license, a clean driving record, and be able to pass a criminal background check.

Sign up for Lyft here

5. Get Paid to Deliver Food to People

Uber Eats is a great program where you earn money for food delivery.

You get to set your own schedule (hello, flexibility!) and earn money by picking up food from local restaurants and delivering it to people in your area.

Depending on where you're located, you may be able to deliver food by car, bike, or scooter.

Easy, fun, and you can even get paid instantly if you join Uber's Instant Pay program! Learn how you can cash out with Instant Pay up to five times per day when you register your debit card.

Sign up to deliver with Uber Eats here

6. Retire Debt-Free

Debt can be a silent killer, especially in retirement.

With retirees retaining no control over rising interest rates, it can take a tremendous toll on your retirement lifestyle and plans.

Identifying the outstanding debts you have and consolidating them could be the key to a debt-free retirement.

Most advisors recommend consumer debt shouldn’t exceed 20% of adjusted gross income, as well as 28% on housing loans, and 36% in overall debt.

If you are struggling with debt, Freedom Debt Relief can help you create a debt relief plan to reduce your monthly payments. They've already helped thousands of their members save over $3 billion.

Click here to see how much you could save

7. Consider What You’ll Need to Pay for

Healthcare alone can cost upwards of $280,000 out-of-pocket during the span of retirement for 65-year-old American couples, according to a recent estimate by Fidelity Investments.

As for other annual expenses, retirees can likely expect to put $15,500 towards housing each year and nearly $7,000 towards transportation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This doesn’t necessarily mean retirees should spend no money; it does, however, bolster the idea of creating a supplemental income stream post-retirement.

Making Time for Your Side Hustle in Retirement

A common objection to starting a side hustle is lack of time.

We’re all constantly short on time – but is that actually true?

Very few people literally “don’t have the time,” when what they mean to say is “I don’t want to make the time.”

There’s no harm in admitting so, but it can be used as an excuse for not getting started.

If you’ve unknowingly had these same thoughts but would like to figure out a way to earn extra money with a side hustle, here are tips that can help.

1. Wake Up Earlier

Getting up earlier to work on a side hustle isn’t rocket science, but it works. Consider this: waking up just an hour earlier each day for a year can buy you 365 hours of time to put towards a side hustle.

2. Go to Bed Later

As with waking up earlier, staying up later also creates added time to put towards working on a side hustle.

3. Watch Less TV

The average American watches five hours of TV each day. Those are precious hours of time that could be put towards calling a friend or family member, starting a new hobby, or you guessed it – starting a side hustle.

4. Cut Back on Social Media

Scrolling through photos and videos on Facebook or other social media sites can make time go by in a flash. Consider cutting back on the amount of time spent on these platforms and apply them to something productive.

With a bit of planning for the future and investing time into your newfound side hustle, your retirement lifestyle – much like Chiang’s – can be a positive mix of work and play for years to come.

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