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13 Ideas: Making Money in Your 50+ Years

Hitting “retirement age” doesn’t mean you’re ready – or even willing – to “take it easy.”

If you’re over 50, you might be thinking about your next phase, often referred to as a second-act career or encore career.  Supplement your income and earn extra cash by exploring these 13 money-making ideas listed below.

13 Ideas: Making Money in Your 50+ Years

First, what are your goals for making money in retirement?

Begin the transition into your next phase by defining your goals. Perhaps you want extra income, have a desire to feel useful, want to stay connected, or fend off boredom. Whatever your reasons for starting an encore career, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How many hours a week do I want to work?
  2. How flexible does the work schedule need to be?
  3. How much money do I need to make each month or year?

Next, update your resume. List all the things you’ve done over the years, professional and personal. Emphasize the tasks you most enjoy. Include hobbies and civic involvement. This review could put the job search into perspective for you.

Also, talk to family and friends about your goals. They’re a good source of insight, references, and networking. They’ll probably have useful suggestions too as you develop your job search.

While you’re at it, create a list of things you’ve always wanted to do. Now’s your chance to reinvent yourself. Look for links between your two lists: past experiences and past dreams. If you discover links between your lists but need additional skills to get the job you want, consider investing in education.

Related: 6 Tips on How to Evaluate Your Finances and Prepare for Retirement

There are inexpensive or even free online courses through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) like Udemy, Coursera or other reputable providers.  Contact your local community college or university – don’t forget to ask about senior discounts.

Making Money in Retirement, 13 Ideas

Whether you’re just looking for supplemental income or opting for semi-retirement, many of these opportunities can fill in the gaps. You can keep working part-time in your current job while transitioning – a “phased retirement.”

On the other hand, if you’re transitioning into a complete career change, don’t be afraid to think creatively. Follow your passions based on your experiences and desires.

Here are a dozen suggestions for jobs that have proven successful for others.

Be a driver- Lyft and Uber are the best-known on-demand-transportation-companies (aka real-time ride-sharing or, simply, taxicabs). They’re constantly looking for drivers. If you know how to drive in your town, have a reliable automobile, are a people-person, and enjoy driving, this could be ideal.

Uber generally pays better but Lyft is considered more “driver-friendly.” Each company provides up to $1 million in liability insurance when in you’re on the clock.

Nextavenue.org recommends finding a local Facebook page for drivers of both companies. Look at what people are saying. Weigh the pros and cons of working for one, the other, or even for both companies?

Before signing on, get clear on what expenses the company covers and what comes out of your pocket.

Pet- and/or House-sitting- Plenty of folks, from young professionals to retired snowbirds, need someone reliable to take care of their pets or home. These jobs can be on an occasional basis or end up becoming a regular schedule.

Even if you don’t have references as a sitter, don’t hesitate to rely on character references from those who know you. If they happen to also know the potential employer, so much the better.

Online Juror- Here’s an intriguing way to make anywhere from $10 to $100 – just for giving your opinion. An added benefit is that you can live anywhere.

Online companies like eJury, JuryTest, and OnlineVerdict need people to review information regarding a potential court case. The information could be written, visual or aural. You then answer a questionnaire about that information.

Your responses help the lawyer(s) involved to find the weak and strong points in their case. Generally, the time involved is 20 minutes up to a full hour.

Note: The three sites listed above are reputable and do NOT ask for financial data beyond, perhaps, your yearly income, nor do they require an investment to participate. Any site that does either of those things is a scam.

Related: 9 Common Retirement Plan Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Seasonal Retail- Even if you don’t have any retail experience, local stores need additional help during holidays or big sales. Sometimes these stints develop into permanent part-time jobs. But if not, you still earn money, get exercise, and meet people.

Interpreter/translator- Those fluent in more than one language could earn good money putting this skill to use. Whether working with the written or spoken word, there are many businesses and organizations that value your talent.

Granted, it’s one thing to be fluent in two or more languages and quite another to be adept at translating or interpreting. Ask others who do such work, and those who hire them, to discover the pros and cons, and requirements. You may even find someone willing to train you.

Teaching- Whether in a traditional classroom or via an online platform like Udemy, your expertise in a given area might be the gateway to an exhilarating new career.

If you have questions about the nuts and bolts of designing a course curriculum, ask your employer. They may have tools available or can refer you to a trainer or website that suits your needs.

For those who prefer to work one-on-one, tutoring might be a great alternative.

Government jobs- USAjobs.gov urges retirees to set up an account and search the wide range of available jobs. There are both temporary and permanent part-time work openings. Opportunities vary from office work to different types of field work, including being a park ranger. (How cool would that be?)

Healthcare provider- Though a full-time position might be exhausting, acting as a part-time caregiver or personal assistant could be very satisfying.

The skills required vary from client to client. Whether it’s a matter of cooking and cleaning or more in-depth physical care, if this idea appeals to you, it’s worth checking out.

Turn your hobby into a moneymaker- Are you an experienced gardener, mechanic, cook, healthcare professional, teacher, sales person, beekeeper, or handyman? Any skill you’ve honed over the years could be useful to someone else.

Check your local listings for openings. You can also advertise your services on craigslist or local neighborhood networking groups like NextDoor.com.

Consulting- Just as one of thousands of examples, let’s say you know the field of construction inside and out; why not hire yourself out as an advisor or consultant? Whatever your area of expertise, your accrued experience and knowledge could be turned into a freelance opportunity.

Entrepreneurship- This could be the time to invest in something you’re really interested in – an eatery, a shop or even a blog!

Make sure the investment in time, skills, and money is within your comfort zone. The last thing you want to do in your retirement years is to invest your savings in a business that fails. Make sure you can afford it.

For the crafty person- If arts and crafts are your thing, you might consider craft fairs, farmers markets, holiday markets or suitable brick-and-mortar storefronts for your wares.

Even if this is just a minor source of income, it could still be a fun and creative outlet, with a healthy amount of the social element thrown in.

Men – if you love traveling by sea- Consider being a “Cruise dance hosts.” Older men are in demand on many cruise lines. There are often more single, mature women on cruises than there are men to dance and socialize with.

Generally, two to four men are hired per cruise. Each cruise line has its own requirements, but if you’re between 40 and 70, fit, and gregarious, this could be a fun gig.

Bonus – Making money on the move: the RV crowd.

If your retirement includes an RV and life on the road, you can still look for work.  However, you may need to commit to remaining in one place for an extended time.

Here are three more possibilities to add to the list of work options that might be especially appropriate on the road.

Workamping (work camping)– How about working where you set up camp? Some openings you might find include hosting, housekeeping, maintenance and grounds-keeping, life-guarding, and boat instruction.

Teaching- Some RVers set up classes at their destination campsite. With the permission of management, you might offer a class or series of classes. Some examples include, fly fishing, kayaking, orienteering, or whatever you think will be interesting to others.

The point is, it’s a class you’re qualified to conduct and that can be easily set up. In fact, some professors make a point of visiting a college campus for just one quarter or semester each year. They teach a class and have the rest of their time free to enjoy the surrounding area.

Crop harvesting– Not for everyone, but great for those who feel up to it and love being outdoors. Whether picking fruit or combining wheat, when harvest time comes around, you know farmers are looking for help. One could build a travel itinerary around harvest times, based on places they want to visit.

So What's Next For You?

By now your head is probably popping with ideas for your next phase. It's a great time to reinvent yourself and do something new. Drop us a line. Share your encore-career, money-making ideas in the comments below.

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5 Comments

  1. I am a freelance writer. Are there any teaching, consulting, lecture jobs on a cruise line? I would even be interested in some other job. If you have any information on this, who do I contact?
  2. I am retired but still work actively as a consultant and debriefer for people working in the welfare field. This occupies me for about 2 days a week. I enjoy travelling, theatre, movies, reading. I am presently living in South Africa because of family needs here. My home in the US is Illinois.
    1. Hello Trish. My name is Heidi and I am also retired. I am actually from Berlin Germany, but live in Kansas City Mo. for a long time now. Had been several times in South Africa myself, visiting friends. Like Port Elizabeth, East London and Belfast. You may wonder why do a write to you ? Well, I thought it would be nice if greetings from your Home Country come your way. Especially during the Holiday Season. Not knowing if you will ever get this message…. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Sincerely, Heidi
      1. Thank you Heidi, I have just received your message today. How interesting that we connected. I hope you also had a happy holiday season.

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