earn money in retirement

How to Make Money in Retirement

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So after starting your retirement, you’ve realized that you have more time on your hands than things to do. Or you might just be interested in making a little extra money to cover expenses since that piece of real estate in Florida was a little over-budget. 

But there’s no way you’re going back to working your old 9-5 job. You want a side hustle that still gives you the flexibility to enjoy your retirement life. So let’s talk about retirement and what to do in retirement to make money here. 

What Is the Definition of Retirement?

The definition of retirement according to Merriam-Webster is “the withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life.” People retire when they have earned enough savings to afford the type of retirement they wish to have and wish to stop working at their regular, typically full-time job.

How Much Do You Need for Retirement?

The amount of money that you need in retirement varies by the type of retirement lifestyle you wish to have. For example, if you plan to stay in the same home that you’ve paid off and quietly spend time watching your grandkids and enjoying hobbies like gardening, you probably won’t have a lot of expenses to deal with.

However, if you want to live in a golf community and take several trips a year on cruises and overseas visits, you’re going to need a lot more money. Figuring out what your monthly expenses look like against your retirement funds like 401K, Roth IRA, savings, social security, etc. is important to ensure that you don’t run out of money in retirement. 

What Is the Full Retirement Age?

Full retirement age or FRA is the age that you must reach to be entitled to receiving all your Social Security benefits. The amount that your receive is determined by your lifetime earnings.

Your full retirement age depends on when you were born and could range from age 66 (if born between 1943-1954) and 67 (1960 and later). You can start receiving benefits at age 62, at a reduced rate. 

It is best if you can wait until you reach full retirement age to start collecting social security benefits since you can take full advantage of them at that point. You can use the Social Security website to help you estimate how much your benefits could be based on when you opt to apply for them. 

How to Make Money in Retirement

Although you have retired, you might not want to simply stop working completely. You may need to supplement your retirement income or want the social and emotional benefits of working.  Let’s learn how to earn money in retirement with some ideas of side hustles and part-time work that interest you.

Rent Spare Rooms or Space

Why not make money off the spare room or vacation home that you’re not using year-round? Renting out your space can give you a boost to your income and be a great way to help cover your mortgage if you still have one.

To get started, decide if you want to rent out your whole place or just some of the rooms. If you are living in the space, you must become a host so you’ll have more responsibilities. Airbnb and FlipKey are two great websites to find potential renters.


Whether you once were a writer, marketer, project manager, or almost anything else done digitally, you can find companies of all shapes and sizes that need your expertise. Fivver and Upwork are two of the most popular freelancing websites that bring employers and freelancers together.

It may take a while to build up a reputation and land your first job, but don’t get discouraged. Once you’ve built up a solid reputation, you should find it much easier to get solid and steady work. 

Pet Sit or Walk Neighborhood Dogs

People love their pets and treat them just like members of the family. When people go on vacation, many times they can’t take their furry friend along with them. If you have a love for animals, pet sitting could be just the right side hustle to make extra money in retirement. 

Or you could offer to help walk dogs in your neighborhood for busy owners who don’t have a lot of time between work and driving kids to their next activity. Rover, Wag and more have mobile apps so you can see what pet care needs are in your neighborhood.

Teaching or Tutoring

Want to learn how to make money in retirement in a way that will make you feel great too? Teaching or tutoring could be for you.

Websites like Varsity Tutors and Chegg Tutors are a great way for retired Americans to help students by sharing their knowledge with them. You don’t necessarily have to have a teaching background either. 

You could also earn money by teaching English to overseas students. Kukuspeak is an example of a website that you could teach English by connecting with Chinese students. Best of all, it’s a skill that you already have proficiency in!

Sell Things on eBay or Etsy

If you’ve always had a knack for finding unique memorabilia, antiques, sports cards, etc., you could have a retirement future with eBay. Find and source items that you wish to sell locally or through your collection. List them on the auction site and you’re on your way.

You can also sell items that you make like soap, jewelry, and other crafts on Etsy. You may want to do a little market research to find out what sells well at what price and the costs it’ll take have a successful Etsy business

Take Paid Surveys

Maybe you don’t necessarily need or want to carve out time each week to make money with a side hustle in retirement. Taking surveys online won’t earn you a lot, but they are an easy way to make a little money while you’re watching the grandkids or relaxing in your backyard. 

Some of the most popular survey websites are Inbox Dollars and Pinecone Research. 

Survey sites almost all work the same way: You sign up for the website and enter your information, then you’ll start receiving emails about surveys that fit your preferences and demographics. Typically, if you wish to cash out of a survey site, you can use PayPal or redeem your rewards for gift cards at major retailers. 

Become a Career Coach

You’ve built a great career in your life which is why you’re now getting to enjoy retirement. So why not use your experience to help others advance their careers? Career coaching is a fulfilling job for those that like to serve others. 

You could work with clients in many industries, focus on a specific industry and use your knowledge and connections to help other professionals. Job searching, interviewing, earning promotions are among the job-oriented topics that you could help others with. 

Offer Virtual Assistance Services

Going back to an office to work a part-time job may not sound appealing in retirement. Luckily, the internet has made it easy to do many jobs these days anywhere that you have a laptop and an internet connection. Virtual assistants help support companies, small businesses, and others with a wide range of tasks. 

You could be doing anything from customer support, administrative work, social media, and much more. VirtualAssistants.com is among the many VA staffing companies that you could connect with to get started. 


Many busy, working parents have to juggle a challenging schedule on a day-to-day basis. You could use your experience with raising your own children and having grandchildren to help provide childcare for others. 

With caregiving, your responsibilities could vary from helping with homework, picking up a child from school and taking them to their lesson, and more. Or you could decide to offer babysitting services to allow parents who want to have a child-free evening the opportunity to get out of the house. Just make sure you decide what types of responsibilities you’re willing to do.

Care.com, Rent a Grandma, and Nextdoor are good places to look for babysitting jobs. 

House Sit

Maybe you’d rather do something that’s fairly low-maintenance to earn a bit of extra money each month. House sitting could be a good fit for you. When people leave for vacations or an extended stay away from their homes, they may need someone to handle some household duties.

This could be as simple as picking up the mail, tending to the garden, or feeding the cats while the owner’s away. Some owners, particularly those who are going away for months, may need you to actually live there and offer a small stipend. 

Drive for Lyft or Uber

A good driving record and a car that gets decent gas mileage could mean that you have a retirement future with ride-sharing. Apps like Uber and Lyft have made it easy and simple to get approved and start driving in no time. 

So, if you have always enjoyed taking a drive to help relax, why not make some money doing it! Best of all, there’s no need to set certain hours each day or week to work. 

You may decide that after having coffee with your friends downtown that you’ll work a few hours before heading home for lunch. Or after a few trips, decide to head home a few hours earlier than you planned because you want to finish reading a book that you just bought. You decide when you want to work and don’t!

Sell Your Photos

Take your photography hobby to the next level by selling your photos online. High-quality digital cameras are now available for a low cost. As long as you have the willingness to learn, you can watch videos or use other resources to grasp how to take good pictures. 

There are several stock photography websites that have enormous amounts of photographs for any subject you can think of. Earn money on your trips, like the tour you took of Europe of the beautiful scenic views. 

By uploading your photos to these huge photography databases, companies from any organization can potentially buy them. 

Create “How-to” Videos

YouTube has become an important resource for people who are looking for video courses and how-to guides. As a result, one of the ways that the platform has been monetized is by instructions that charge a fee for access to their videos. 

Keep in mind that you need to do more than create exceptional videos in your niche area. People need to be able to find your content so they know it is out there. A good way to do this is by using search phrases and keywords that people who might be interested in your content would use in YouTube’s search bar. Take note of the phrases that get generated by the auto-fill drop-down and use keywords in the title, description, and tags on your video. 

Writing Services

Regardless of whether you are spending your retirement in a small town in the Midwest or a beach house in Costa Rica, you can make a great income from becoming a copywriter. 

There’s a ton of opportunities in copywriting – from writing eBooks, blog posts, website copy, emails, social media posts, and more. The money comes in the form of U.S. dollars even though you can pretty much live anywhere in the world.

Another option is becoming a proofreader or editor. In particular, companies that hire many foreign copywriters will likely need someone who has native English skills to look over any copy before it goes out into the world. 


Use the experience and expertise you’ve gained from working to take on project-based consulting work. You will either need to reach out to your current contacts to find work or consider joining online consultant marketplaces like EXPERT360 to find projects that match your skills. 

Since you’re a consultant, you can charge a premium price for your services since you’re not tapping into employee benefits. Areas that have great opportunities in consulting include project management, talent sourcing, and business development.

Become a Tour Guide

Take your love of travel and monetize it by becoming a tour guide. Share your knowledge and passion for culture by showing others the best sites to see. A tour guiding business can range from providing walking toursets to full-on excursions. 

Sell Your Stuff Online 

You’ve probably accumulated a lot of things over the course of years. It’s time to clean out those closets, the attic, and the garage to make more space. Why not kill two birds with one stone by selling your things? 

You can use Facebook’s marketplace to sell items locally. Or you could use platforms like Decluttr if you have electronics that you wish to part with. 

Sign Up With a Temp Agency

Seasonal work, short-term projects, or filling in for employees who are out for various reasons are all temporary opportunities that may pique your interest. The type of work will depend on the industry and the role you’ll be in. Administrative work, answering phone calls, booking travel, and filing are among the responsibilities you may have. 

Apply to Be a Library Assistant

Libraries are a favorite of people of all ages to visit. They offer books, videos, magazines, book clubs, activities for children, and much more. Working as a library assistant at the local library will probably not even feel like working at all. 

Become a Secret Shopper

You won’t get paid a lot of money, but becoming a secret shopper is a great way to make some extra pocket money and get out of the home. Secret shoppers get paid to provide feedback on their experience shopping at a particular place. Oftentimes, secret shoppers may get all or a portion of what they purchase reimbursed as well.


Have you always wanted to compose and sell your own music? Turn your tunes into income by creating stock music that can be used by companies for things like podcasts, movie trailers, computer games, and more. Pond5, Productiontrax, and Audio Networks are among the platforms you can join to upload your work.

Market Researcher and Tester

Companies value your opinion and feedback and will even pay you for it. You could make a few hundred dollars for a couple of hours of work or complete surveys that pay less, but take up less time. 

UserTesting.com and UserTest are great websites to start with if you want to provide feedback on apps and websites. You can sign up to participate in focus groups at PaidFocusGroups.com and Focus Groups. 

Invest in a Stock Portfolio

With the new time you have on your hands, you can now use it to get more involved in the stock market. Make sure that you do ample research ahead of time before investing and also make sure any potential investments match your own risk tolerance. 

Customer Service 

Companies are always looking for customer service reps. You don’t even need to leave your house to do the work anymore. As long as you have a quiet, dedicated workspace at home, you can make an average of $12 an hour as a customer service agent at home. 

If you prefer having face-to-face interactions, consider working part-time as a receptionist, bank teller, member services, or concierge.

Rent Out Your Vehicle or Gear

You’re probably not using your car as much as you used to when you were working. Turo is a website that connects travelers who are looking for rental cars with local car owners. You can list your car on their website and drop it off at a designated location when someone rents it out. 

Another option is to rent out your gear. You can rent anything from a camera to a chainsaw in various online marketplaces. Fat Llama and even Craigslist are good places to find potential renters of your various stuff. 


Hopefully, one or a few of these money making methods gained some interest in making money during retirement.

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