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Fun Ways to Earn Money in Retirement
Nov 10, 2021

10 Side Hustles That Will Earn You Money in Retirement

Whatever you’re interested in, there’s probably someone out there who will pay you to do it.

You might have many reasons for wanting to work even if you’re retired. Maybe you’d like to meet new people, be your own boss, or set new goals. Plus, you can probably get by with part-time work doing something you love. If you have savings or another source of income, the paycheck will just help you stretch it further.

That’s where a side hustle, or a fun job you take on part time, can help. It's not necessarily a career move, but it can give you something to look forward to every day.

So what makes a good side hustle? Well, that depends on what you like to do. At this point in your life, you should be enjoying yourself even when you’re earning money. Here are 10 post-retirement jobs that you might find worth your time.

1. Work at a restaurant

Good news for those with food service or hosting experience: Due to the pandemic, the restaurant industry is aching for employees. Reports from all over the country show the labor shortage has hit the food-service industry hard.

Take Lettuce Entertain You, a 50-year-old Midwestern restaurant chain: It has 300 open positions across more than 100 locations, says chief marketing officer Jennifer Bell. And many of those positions are part-time, which is perfect for retirees. If you like working with people, consider applying to be a host or server at a restaurant you love. Or if you prefer the grind of the kitchen, look for an open spot on the grill line. Many restaurants are increasing their wages and offering hiring bonuses just to get applicants through the door.

2. Share your opinion

Do you enjoy online quizzes and questionnaires? You can get paid for this work. Market research groups such as focusgroups.org, Survey Junkie, and Escalent pay for honest feedback on everything from television and cars to political candidates. “I’ve always liked doing questionnaires such as the ones people often get asking, ‘How was the service?’” says Stan Delahoyde, 85, a retired actor living in Arizona.

In exchange for answering questions in his free time, Delahoyde has received direct deposit cash, online gift cards, and merchandise such as a battery-powered lawn mower. He also has worked as a “secret shopper,” posing as a typical customer and reporting his experiences. “It was always fun to pretend to be somebody else and sort of go undercover.”

3. Babysit a vacant house or plot of land

Do you live full time in a vacation community? If so, you could get paid to watch other people’s houses when they leave their homes for the season. Similarly, you can find people with land that needs tending, or even farms that need light caretaking.

The details on this kind of work vary. Some employers require you to live on the property in an RV, while others hire only people with ex-military or law enforcement credentials. But many jobs just need someone who’s responsible, organized, and nearby. To find work that fits, check out The Caretaker Gazette, a publication dedicated to property listings.

4. Get crafty and upcycle

If you like arts and crafts, consider perusing sites such as Etsy and Ravelry to see what kinds of products are selling. You’ll find handmade jewelry, face masks, belt buckles, scarves, whiskey flask holders, and more. Then you can decide what you want to sell.

Crafting as a side hustle has brought great joy to Carol Gee, 71, an author and writer based in Atlanta. She “upcycles” trash, turning items such as bottles, cans, boxes, and paper into art and home accessories. Then she sells her wares at biannual virtual pop-up shops, emailing her network photos of her items for sale.

Gee also uses her skills to teach craftwork to people at her county libraries, which she loves.

5. Publish a newsletter

It probably won’t be immediately profitable, but if you have writing or editing experience and a point of view, you could earn subscribers on pay-to-access publishing services such as Substack and Patreon. These sites allow you to build an audience around practically any well-written newsletter topic: gardening, cooking, woodworking, history, mental health, and so on.

A word of advice: Offer your blog free for the first few months. This will give you a chance to build your audience and discover your publishing tempo before you start asking for money.

6. Help others stay in shape

Teaching exercise, yoga, or Pilates isn’t just for young folks. In fact, older students may prefer a more mature teacher. “Seniors can easily find side hustles by offering classes at their local senior or community centers,” says Donna F. Brown, 69, an author in Pearce, Arizona, who teaches yoga in her spare time.

One of Brown’s classes is geared directly toward people with mobility issues. “I put out a donation basket for whatever my students can afford,” she says. “The benefits of offering this invaluable service for my community are worth more than all the things money can buy.”

7. Use your organizational skills

If your pre-retirement career required you to stay organized, you have a marketable skill set. Take Elyse Felder, 70, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She’s a former schoolteacher who charges an hourly fee to coach others through organizing and storing information related to insurance, end-of-life planning, finances, and real estate. “It is way less painful to have a companion do this with you,” she says. “Working with people in my condominium building alone has brought me enough clients to give me my retired life balance,” she says.

Consider what area you have mastery in, and then begin offering your services. You can target people’s file cabinets, overflowing garages, or even their confusing calendars.

8. Teach online

If you have a specialty that may help other people, you could land work teaching online. This is what Vicki Soll, 62, does. After a fast-paced career in Silicon Valley, she now trains fellow older adults in technology. “I’m able to use my tech and teach really useful skills,” she says. “That means a lot to me.”

Soll uses GetSetUp, a live interactive education platform that was built specifically for older adults to learn from one another. For younger students, you should check out the online classrooms at Outschool. Teachers there earn $35 an hour on average, according to the site.

9. Cook for others

Have a passion for food, nutrition, and engaging with your peers? Make some cash by combining your interests with Chefs for Seniors. As part of the AARP Employer Pledge Program, this personal chef company employs many people over 65 to cook for fellow older adults.

While many of the franchise’s employees over 65 are semi-retired from food service, restaurant industry experience is not a must. But you’ll need to be comfortable with technology to master the program’s digital platform.

10. Get on the golf course

If you’d like to spend more free time driving golf balls, consider finding a job doing greens work or staffing the pro shop. You’ll have to do some actual labor, of course. But the upshot is that you’ll also meet fellow golfers and play for free.

So how do you score the gig? Play the course often and let management know you’re interested — even if you’re still months from retirement. “If you’re serious about wanting to work at a golf course, start preparing and laying the groundwork early,” suggests Shooting Your Age, a site for retired golfers. Then when something opens up, you’ll be first in line.

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