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15 Ways to Make Money in Retirement

Last Updated: March 4, 2024
Retiree counting money

Enjoying retirement means having a comfortable income, either from savings or benefits. However, recent studies suggests that nearly half of retirees struggle to afford basic living expenses and it’s only getting more difficult with inflation reducing your purchasing power.

If you’re running out of money or just looking for some ways to get extra income, we’ll share the top available options.

15 ways for retired people to make money

Although a financial emergency like a surprise medical bill can change your financial situation instantly, there are generally signs you can watch for to indicate you’re at risk for running out of money in retirement.

1. Social Security

Social Security should be the foundation of any retirement plan, as it’s extra money you can get without any ongoing effort. The average social security check in 2024 is $1,907, and nearly nine out of ten people age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits. That money can go a long way towards covering living expenses in retirement, but you may need to supplement it with other income sources or delay benefits to get more money each month.

Although you become eligible for Social Security at the age of 62, waiting until your full retirement age can increase your benefits by up to 25.8% if you’re willing to delay taking it. The Social Security Administration offers a Retirement Age Calculator to help you determine your full retirement age based on the year you were born, and it will show how much your benefits will be from when you become eligible until your full retirement age. In general, your benefits increase by around 0.5% for each month you delay taking them.

2. Become a Pet Sitter or Walker

Offering to watch or walk people’s pets is a great way for retirees to earn extra money, as the national average pay is $16 per hour. You can ask neighbors or sign-up on a site like Rover to start a caretaking businesses for pet owners who need someone to watch, walk, or feed their pets while they’re away. The job is flexible so you can work as much or little as you want, and spending time with pets has lots of health benefits for older people including higher levels of fitness and increased feelings of relaxation.

3. Rent Out Properties

If you’ve got a vacation house or even a spare bedroom that’s not being used, consider renting it out for tourists or ongoing renters. The amount you can earn depends on the size and location of the property, but the average Airbnb host can expect to earn around $37,956 per year in 2024. If your extra property is far from home, you can hire a property management company to handle all of the work including maintenance and cleaning, so all you have to do is sit back and collect the checks each month.

4. Sell Your Life Insurance Policy

It’s fairly common for retirees to prematurely surrender or lapse their life insurance policies in order to get out of paying expensive premiums, but selling it can provide a large payout to help pay for retirement expenses. Through a transaction known as a life settlement, you can sell your policy to a third-party for up to 60% of your policy’s death benefit, and do whatever you want with the proceeds while also not having to pay premiums. In exchange, the buyer will become the owner and collect the death benefit when you pass away. If you’re tight on money, find out how much your policy is worth with our life settlement calculator and see if selling is a viable financial option.

5. Teach or Tutor

After a lifetime of working, you’ve likely mastered some skills that others would be interested in learning. Consider teaching or tutoring something you’re well-versed in, such as an area related to your previous line of work or something you have a lot of experience in. You can sign-up on skill-sharing websites like UdemySkillshare, or LinkedIn Learning to create a curriculum or find interested individuals. Alternatively, you can also sign up to teach and tutor general math, science, arts, and history skills to children and teens in school. According to ZipRecruiter, the average tutor salary in the U.S. is $19 per hour which makes it attractive for retirees looking for an extra income source.

6. Work as a Customer Service Agent

If you have access to the internet and a phone, you can become a virtual customer service agent from the comfort of your home. On average, this role pays $18 per hour in the U.S., though you may be able to get more with prior experience. The role involves working with a company to help customers with questions through the phone, email, chat, and social media. Not only can this job be done completely remote, but it also offers a flexible schedule so you can pick up hours based on how much you want to work.

7. Freelance Writer

If you’re fond of reading and writing, you can put those skills to work and offer to write articles for companies who need blog content or copy for their websites and marketing materials. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for this role is $23 per hour, putting it in the high-earning options of this list. If you don’t want to work for a company, you could also start an online blog and earn money by allowing ads. Related to this role, you can also become an editor or proofreader if you have a good understanding of English grammar.

8. Tax Assistant or Bookkeeper

Those with accounting or finance skills can become a tax assistant to help companies or people at the start of the year, with earning potential around $18 per hour and the benefit of being able to take the rest of the year off after tax season ends. If you’re looking for something year-round, bookkeeping requires a similar skillset and offers a higher level of pay, estimated to be around $24 per hour. Although entry-level positions exists for these roles, they’re more recommended for people with some prior experience in the past. If you don’t have any experience, you can take online courses and get certifications to help get the fundamentals which will help you have a better shot of landing a role.

9. Online Survey Taker

Companies seeking feedback about their products and services will often pay people to take surveys through sites like Swagbucks and Survey Junkie. By simply answering online questionnaires, survey takers earn an average of $31 per hour which can be paid in the form of cash or gift cards to popular retailers. You’re generally paid for each survey you complete, and the amount depends on the length it takes to complete. Some surveys will also pay more if you’re in a niche demographic (like being retired) or have a specific set of knowledge that’s considered valuable.

10. Sell Handmade Crafts

For those who are fond of crafts, you can sell your creations online or at local craft fairs to get paid for your hobby. Things like knitting blankets, making art, or creating jewelry may be a fun pastime that happens to also be lucrative. The amount you make will vary widely based on what you’re selling and where. Local craft fairs may be easy to sign-up for, but will offer less opportunity than setting up an online storefront from your own website or an existing platform like Etsy.

11. Babysit

Any retiree who’s had kids before knows that a good babysitter is high in demand and can make good wages. According to ZipRecruiter, a full-time babysitter makes an average of $34,000 per year. However, you may be able to make more if you’re babysitting for several kids at once or if you’re willing to work off-hours. Retirees who’ve been parents and have more free time may also be more favored over younger caretakers who don’t have prior experience and have other commitments like school. You can find babysitting jobs by talking with parents in your community or signing up on sites like Care.

12. Become a Part-Time Consultant

People who reached a high-level in their field while working may be able to become a part-time consultant to advise businesses in your area of expertise. Businesses seeking guidance in an unknown field or those who need assistance with a new project frequently seek the services of a consultant to assist them. Part-time consultants are more cost effective for businesses, and retirees can benefit by sharing their knowledge without committing to a full-time schedule. Even on limited hours, you can earn quite a bit, as the national average rate for a part-time consultant is $42 per hour. The best place to start is by contacting your previous employer and seeing if they’d be interested in having you back as a part-time consultant, or if they know anybody who’d be interested in your expertise.

13. Become a Driver

Anyone with a car and a good driving record can easily sign up for apps like Uber and Lyft to become a driver. The job is great for those who enjoy driving and meeting new people, especially if you live in an urban area with high-demand like a city. On average, drivers earn $14 per hour, though you may be able to get more through tips if you’re especially good.

14. Offer Translation Services

If you’re fluent in multiple languages, you may be able to work as an online translator for businesses who need someone to translate text for documents, their website, or marketing materials. You may also be able to work as a translator for live calls, which involves hopping on a virtual meeting and relaying what each party is saying in the appropriate language. An online translator makes an average of $57,200 in 2024, though you may make more or less depending on how often you’re willing to work and what languages you know. Spanish, Mandarin, and German are the most in-demand languages for translation services.

15. Cash Out Investments

If you’re not interested in working but short on cash, another option available is cashing out your investments. Keep in mind, that withdrawing early from retirement accounts may come with tax penalties or fees, so it’s best to talk with a financial advisor before doing so. Rather than taking everything out, you may discover it’s a good move to pull out some investments and reinvest those funds into other retirement investments.

Picture of Avery Logan

Avery Logan

Avery Logan is a writer for Harbor Life Settlements with expertise on insurance, finance, and senior care. He specializes in breaking down complex subjects in a way that's easy for people to understand so they can feel informed about what they're reading.

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