My husband and I both took unusually early retirement plans, mainly because we’d gotten to the point where we HATED our jobs! It sounds a bit scary, but actually it was a very smart and compassionate thing to do. Life is too short to suffer in a job where you are extremely unhappy just to get a better pension. But it meant that we had to hustle a little bit to build in some extra income for retirees into our financial plan, because we were a little too young for most of the “good” options.
Why You Might Need Some Extra Income for Retirees
Plus, the idea of living on a “fixed income” was never on my radar. In fact, that’s why I started my whole side hustle strategy in the first place, because I hated the idea of stretching out our money over those last few days before payday. I did not inherit my Dad’s frugal tendencies. I am fully my mother’s free-spending daughter, so I set up a variety of passive income strategies to pad out our monthly budget.
Check out my posts on Why you NEED a Side Hustle and how my Side Hustle Allowed me to Retire 7 Years Early.
If you’re retirement age, you’re probably thinking that these side hustle schemes are just for the young folks. I’d say I’m living proof that it just ain’t so!
Now, if you WANT to just take it easy – play golf, do things with the grandkids, or play bridge with your friends, you do what makes you happy. But if you are feeling the pinch of the whole fixed income scenario, you might want to check out some of these 7 options. The great thing is that there are tons of different options to suit different skillsets or different preferences, but there are nearly always better options than becoming the latest Greeter at Walmart! Why do people always think of that job??
PS: This is me and my 74 year old sister. Together we’ve run a very successful Pinterest side gig for the last couple of years. Who says you are TOO OLD to do anything you WANT??
Start a Senior-Themed Blog
Starting a blog can be a great source of income, but only if you do it right! Starting a blog with a few favorite recipes or craft ideas isn’t going to make you any money at all. Controversial, but true. It’s a fun thing to do and maybe you should do it, but don’t plan on making money. You are up against these young whippersnappers who do this as a serious profession complete with gorgeous photography, great video content, and a professional chef’s kitchen or every crafting gadget known to man!
But if you specialize in something very unique that can tie to profitable courses or products, you could do very well at it. For example, one of the best blogs I’ve ever seen is one very similar to this one – Succulent Garden. It was a husband and wife and they covered EVERYTHING imaginable to do with succulents. They knew all the best suppliers, and they were able to put together stunning little mini-succulent gardens in pots that everyone wanted to have. They would sell the pots, the soil, the plants, and share tons of ideas how to use them. Super smart!
It’s still a lot of work, but that’s the premise of a successful blog. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the tech stuff. I happen to be a blog wizard over on my other site – Help for New Bloggers, and I’m happy to build you a quick and easy site and even teach you how to use it! I’m an old gal, but I LOVE tech stuff.
So what do you know how to do that people would be interested in spending money on? Some ideas might be fishing, knitting, healthy aging, getting through tough times, and even saving your marriage are all hot sellers that might be interesting and profitable for you to tap into. There are hundreds of lucrative niches that would make you smile – so keep the things you enjoy in mind as you begin hunting a niche of your own that will bring happiness to your life and money to your pocket.
Become a Local Tour Guide
This is a great option that one of my retired friends is starting. She’s lived here in Salt Lake City her whole life and she’s putting together a simple website with different themed tours for people out of town. She will take them to local hiking spots, show them around some of the local things to do, help them find great places to stay and eat, and even pick them up and drive them around, so they don’t have to rent a car. It’s sort of a unique concierge type service and I think she’ll do well with it. Although this one is definitely for extroverts who like to meet new people.
Start a Service-Based Business
This is the route my husband has picked. Because he worked for a tiny little company, his retirement options were barely enough to cover the house payment. But he’s a pretty handy guy. He’s always been able to fix just about anything around our house and now he’s a very sought-after handyman around the neighborhood. We had no idea that reliable fix-it guys were so hard to find.
Besides, I think that saved our marriage! After 35+ years of marriage, having twice as much husband and half as much money was making us both a little crazy! I was used to him getting up and OUT every morning so having him puttering around the house all day while I was trying to work my online business was definitely not a great situation. So I am happy for him to have a little side hustle of his own!
Here’s how easy it was. We put ONE post out on our local NextDoor.com website (it’s sort of like a neighborhood-based Facebook) and we had SIXTY responses from people wanting him to do all sorts of big and little jobs for them. We finally had to shut down the thread, but he had enough work and referrals from other friends and neighbors to keep him busy for months!
But it could be anything – house or pet setting, tutoring for children, sewing or alterations, decorating, decluttering, car detailing, cooking classes, or teaching arts and crafts classes. What are you good at?? Even more important what would make you HAPPY?? I started doing debt-free coaching as a sideline a few years ago and I LOVE it. I get to play with spreadsheets and help people. That’s my happy place!
Our friend down the street does furniture rehab – she takes junky items from the thrift stores and estate sales, then fixes them up real cute and sells them for 5X the price. I’m trying to get my sister to work as an interior designer. She’s got loads of taste when it comes to decorating – a skill I sadly wasn’t blessed with! Just sit and think for an hour or so and I’ll bet you’ll come up with ideas for several things you could do for extra retirement income.
Do Consulting, Coaching or Public Speaking
This is a fun thing to do if you were some kind of professional in your previous life. In the Corporate world, we were always so jealous of the Consultants because they would make much more money than we did, and they didn’t have to put up with our sucky bosses for very long! Also, they could set their own hours and design their own projects. I basically just described every freelancer job I’ve ever had! Genius…
Especially since the Great Resignation and the upcoming retirement of the baby boomer generation (US!), there will be unparalleled opportunities for consulting jobs. The main reason, I left my job at Wells Fargo was because I hated my boss and my workload was off the charts, even for a crazy workaholic like me! But I loved my actual WORK, so that’s why I created my Debt-free Coaching situation so I could still use my skills and experience without the annoying parts of the job!
Just this week, I’ve worked with a same-sex couple in Japan, a guy in Australia, a pair of former missionaries, and a relatively well-to-do widow in New England. So much variety and each is so unique in their challenges. The widow was my favorite because she was really appreciative of my help. She had dozens and dozens of subscriptions and automatic political donations that her late husband had set up and she was too overwhelmed to dig it all out and fix it so we did it together.
Create a Course in Something Awesome
This could easily tie in with the consulting angle, or be more like the blog situation with hobbies and other pastimes. But courses are ridiculously profitable! I was just looking the other day at all the courses I’ve bought over the last few years and I’ve spent literally THOUSANDS. And most of them, I haven’t finished – sigh…. But that won’t matter to you as a course creator.
The fun thing is that the more unique and off-beat the course is, the more attention it will get – how to learn accents for voice-over work, how to raise chinchillas or hedgehogs, how to feed an allergy-prone kid, etc. I had a lady I spoke with in Portugal who had a blog on how to cook all sorts of local wild game that was starting to get really popular.
Write a Book
Writing a book is very similar to creating a course, or a blog. To me, a blog is basically like writing a book one chapter at a time. So, hey I’ve written TWO BOOKS – sorta!
But it’s a great option for those who want a fairly low-tech solution. You can write it on your tablet or laptop and then hand it off to a freelancer on Fiverr to do all the fancy formatting stuff to get it on Amazon or whatever platform you choose.
Be aware though – writing a book is not as profitable as you might think. Of all the options I’ve listed, I would rank it as the most competitive, most labor-intensive, and the least immediately profitable. But people who have a knack for it can make a pretty amazing income, and it does give you instant credibility as a coach, public speaker or blogger.
This is a pretty fun option for a side hustle. One of my blogger friends made a very tidy income throwing ladies night dance parties for some of the local women. She rented out a big unused space at a bargain price, hired a DJ, decorated it up with a bunch of balloons and streamers and planned some yummy food and non-alcoholic drinks (this is Utah, after all!). And she would get 75 to 80 ladies at $15-$20 a piece – it sounded like a BLAST and very profitable.
If you have a flair for entertaining, this could be a nice sideline. You could do crafting retreats, baby showers, paint night parties, cooking classes, or all sorts of events. Maybe something to teach kids – social skills, chess club, cheer routines, math skills, singing, computer programing, just about anything.
I just remembered something they used to do at my son’s daycare. A lady would come in for an hour a week and teach the kids little dance routines. Then once a quarter, she and her Mom would come in with all sorts of cute little handmade costumes and do a little dance recital. She would do 5 daycares a week for 1 hour each, charge a $25/class per kid, plus a $20 “costume rental” fee for the recital. What a clever idea to make a pretty nice living in around 5 hours per week! Happy parents, happy kids, happy daycare, happy dance teacher – that’s a huge win!
Advertising and Marketing
There is one common thing with most of these extra retirement income strategies. You will require a significant marketing effort to make them work. After all, if it was EASY, everyone would do it! But it’s not an insurmountable problem. Everything you want to do, someone else has managed to do, right?
Ideas for marketing would be to:
- Learn how to do it yourself
- Get some help from your kids or grandkids
- Hire someone to do it for you
You’ll also have to figure in taxes and stuff, but most retirement plans allow for a certain amount of outside income without a penalty. And I’d rather pay a small amount of taxes on a lot of income than pay nothing on $0 income. Plus, running a side business gives you some tax write-offs. As a travel blogger, I’m able to deduct a good portion of my travel costs, plus my website, Internet costs, home office, and advertising expenses.