15 Simple Ways to Boost Your Retirement Income
Retirement won't feel like your golden years if you don't have enough green. Follow these tips from MoneyTips.com financial expert Jeff Hoyt to make the best of the rest of your life.
Correcting your course
Your retirement income may feel a little too small, but what can you do about it? There’s a reason why they call it a “fixed income.” It’s not like you can ask for a raise in retirement. However, it is possible to ease the financial pinch if your fixed income is a little too constricting. Try these 15 simple ways to boost your retirement income. Plus, learn the facts about retirement that every retiree needs to know.
Take in a boarder or roommate
According to author and retirement expert Emily Guy Birken, unused bedrooms in your home could be making money for you. “Sharing your home isn’t just for college kids anymore,” Guy Birken writes in her book The Five Years Before You Retire. “Charging rent to a roommate or boarder will not only improve your finances, but it can also offer you a nice social outlet.” If the idea of a permanent roommate isn’t appealing, you could rent out part of your home to vacationers through home-sharing sites like Airbnb and VRBO. Don’t miss other easy ways to boost your income.
Rent out your driveway
If your home boasts an extra garage space or other off-street parking, you can rent out the unused space for a little additional retirement income. You can either do a direct rental agreement with a neighbor, or you could find parking space renters through services like Just Park or Parklee.
Turn your car into a rolling billboard
Advertisers are always looking for new ways to get the attention of potential customers, and some are willing to pay you for the unused advertising real estate on your car. The site Free Car Media pairs car owners with advertisers and pays up to $400 per month depending on the ad campaign and your driving habits. The advertisers use vinyl wraps that do not damage your car’s finish, and the campaigns last anywhere from six to 24 months. Check out some weird ways to make $50.
Rent out your car
One of the big benefits of being retired is you no longer have to commute every day—and sometimes that means your car sits idle several days a week. Supplement your retirement income by renting your vehicle out on a site like Getaround or Turo. “Sharing the car that you aren’t driving every day can be a great way to make your assets work for you,” Guy Birken says. Car owners can potentially earn as much as $800 per month. Use a free retirement calculator to see how much money you’ll need. Plus, check out the best places to retire in America.
Make money from your hobbies
“Earning money on the side doesn’t have to feel like work,” Guy Birken writes. There is any number of ways to make money from the hobbies you already love. For instance, the artists’ marketplace Etsy has made it possible for every crafter to find a market for their wares. Similarly, if you are an avid photographer, you can boost your retirement income by selling your photos on sites like Shutterstock or Flickr. Learn these tips for turning your hobby into a career.
Sell your stuff
If you’re like most retirees, you have a house full of keepsakes you have accumulated over a lifetime and adult kids who aren’t necessarily interested in them. You can earn quite a bit of money, and work on decluttering and downsizing at the same time, by selling these items on eBay or Craigslist. Smart people do these things when preparing for end of life plans.
Make deliveries in your own vehicle
The “on-the-way” delivery service Roadie pays drivers to make deliveries that are on their way. A common Roadie gig is to deliver lost luggage from the airport to its owner. The Roadie app allows drivers to choose the gigs that are already on their way, so you can earn extra retirement income just by following your normal driving routines.
Consider a reverse mortgage
If you own your paid-off home, a reverse mortgage will let you tap the equity in your home while you live there. Though Guy Birken cautions against taking a reverse mortgage without understanding all the potential pitfalls, she writes that “reverse mortgage payments are tax-free and generally don’t affect Social Security benefits, which means they can potentially offer a nice financial cushion.” Homeowners interested in a reverse mortgage must sign up for a housing counseling service through the Office of Housing and Urban Development. This impartial service will explain all of the benefits and costs of a reverse mortgage. Check out these secrets to retiring early, from people who did.
Negotiate your bills
In her newest book, End Financial Stress Now, Guy Birken suggests freeing up some monthly retirement income by negotiating your regular bills. “Asking your service providers for better prices can result in savings that range from modest to impressive,” she writes. “One reader saved $2,000 per year!” Which bills are negotiable? Guy Birken names Internet/cable/phone services, cell services, and auto insurance as likely candidates for potential savings. In each case, make sure you know how your provider stacks up against its competitors, be polite but firm, and be willing to cancel your service (and defect to a competitor). A service like BillFixers can help—but they take a cut of the savings. Your credit score can also affect your auto insurance rates, so you should check your credit score for free.
Cancel unused subscriptions
Guy Birken also recommends checking your credit card and bank statements to make sure you are not paying for subscriptions you no longer use. “A 2013 study found that consumers spend over $14 billion per year on unused subscriptions, also known as gray charges,” she writes. Canceling these gray charges can save you up to $500 per year. You can free up this money yourself by identifying the offending gray charges and calling to cancel them, or you can use the apps Trim or Truebill to identify and cancel subscriptions for you—for free. Don’t miss other ways to save big bucks each month.
Helping local parents with childcare can be a great way to earn a little money while enjoying the company of kids. Retirees can help parents with those difficult before-and-after school hours, which are notoriously difficult to find babysitters for but won’t getting in the way of the retiree’s own social life. If you don’t have friends or family who need your babysitting help, the site SitterCity can help you find the right babysitting jobs near you.
Walk dogs or pet-sit
Animal lovers can earn extra retirement income by offering their services as a dog walker or pet sitter. Retirees have the kind of flexible schedule that would allow them to take the pets of busy professionals out for midday walks. That’s good for the animals, who would otherwise be lonely, and for the walkers, who get paid for daily exercise. If you’d prefer to have pets come to you, consider becoming an in-home pet sitter. Sign up for Dogvacay as a sitter. The site will match you with pet owners in the area who don’t want to kennel their dogs.
Become a mystery shopper
Mystery shoppers are paid to shop and report their experience. According to Guy Birken, stores need mystery shoppers to check out customer service compliance. “For instance, a mystery shopper may be asked to leave an item on the bottom of their cart during checkout to see if the cashier notices,” she reports. While the pay is relatively low to start, it can be a fun way to shop and get paid. “Be wary,” Guy Birken warns, “since there are a number of mystery-shopping scams out there. Double-check any mystery shopping offers with the Mystery Shopping Professionals Association.”
Teach English as a Second Language
Provided you are a native English speaker and have a solid Internet connection and webcam, you can earn anywhere from $10 to $45 per hour as an online ESL tutor. Though a background in education can be helpful, it’s not required, since many of the students seeking tutors through online ESL programs are simply looking for an opportunity to practice their conversational skills. These are the best places around the world to retire.
Retirees with a flair for design can earn money by creating and selling t-shirts through print-on-demand websites like Teespring, Redbubble, CafePress, and Zazzle. “Not only do these sites handle the printing and mailing for you, but you don’t even need to have a background in design to make attractive and salable merchandise,” Guy Birken reports. “A friend of mine who has a t-shirt design side business makes a nice passive income without any background in design. She earns a couple hundred dollars in profit each month, but often sees more than $10,000 in sales around Christmas.” Next, learn money management tips every retiree should know.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Reader’s Digest editors, who aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of revenue from our partners, such as Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We welcome your feedback. Have something you think we should know about? Email us at [email protected]