In 2021, the median annual income for retirees in the U.S. was $46,360, and while this may be enough for some people, rising costs of living around the world are making it harder to live comfortably on fixed incomes. However, just because you’re retired doesn't mean that you can’t pick up a side hustle.
From pet sitting to renting out extra space in your garage, there are a variety of ways for retirees to earn extra income. Many of them can be done right from your home!
If you love animals, then working as a pet sitter can be a great way to earn some extra money. Depending on the job, this work might involve grooming, walking, or cleaning animals, as well as taking them to veterinary appointments.
While you could go around your neighborhood posting signs to let others know you’re available to do this work, you could also try using an app like Rover, PetSitter, or Fetch. These apps allow you to easily connect with pet owners and volunteer your services for pay. While pet sitting doesn’t necessarily pay the most –– averaging about $12 per hour –– the rewards of hanging out with cats and dogs are more than enough compensation for some people.
If you have experience writing, designing, transcribing –– or just about any skill that can be done on a computer –– then you could start selling your skills through freelancing websites. Websites like Fiverr and Upwork allow you to create a profile, post your services, and then begin applying for gigs.
For payment, freelancers on these platforms are paid either by the project or by the hour. It all depends on the client, but pay can range from $10 per hour to upward of $40. The only caveat with freelancing platforms is that you’ll have to compete with other freelancers for jobs. In many cases, you’ll have to complete projects at lower prices, building up a reputation on the platform, before you can set higher rates.
3. Rent Out Extra Space
These days, an extra room, garage, or even your yard can help you create an extra stream of income. By posting your space for rent on a variety of apps, you can find people who wish to use your space for a cost.
If you have a spare room, you can use AirBnB or VRBO to rent out the space by the night. Alternatively, services like PeerSpace allow you to rent out nonresidential spaces by the hour. I’ve often used PeerSpace to rent spaces for video recording.
Have a parking space you never use? Websites like SpotHero and JustPark allow you to provide that space for a fee. Keep in mind, though, that you still have to take care of the spaces when they are not being used, so you’ll want to factor maintenance costs into what you charge.
4. Become a Caregiver
At TheSeniorList.com, we know there are few roles more rewarding than caring for another person. We also know there are many ways to get paid for this work.
If you don’t have any caregiver certifications, then you can find work through Papa or Seniors Helping Seniors. Both of these services help match companion caregivers to those in need. As a caregiver with these services, you’ll help keep people company, clean up their homes, or even help them figure out how to use an iPhone.
Keep in mind, however, that companion caregiving is very different from the skilled work of certified caregivers. While tasks like dressing, toileting, and mobility assistance might seem simple, they can cause injury to a person when performed improperly.
Did You Know? Many states pay family caregivers for their work. To learn which states offer this funding, read our guide to caregiver funding by state.
5. Sell Items Online
If you have too much stuff lying around or just love yard sales, then becoming an online seller can be an easy and fun way to make money. Clothing, furniture, decor, and just about any object can be purchased, restored, and sold through online marketplaces like eBay, Craigslist, and Decluttr.
I, personally, have several friends who make thousands of dollars in a year by restoring and selling vintage furniture and clothing. While this type of work requires a certain amount of skill, online marketplaces are also a great way to get rid of extra objects you have lying around the house.
Finding extra work in retirement is easy as long as you know what you want to do, and even if you don’t, there are websites to help you figure that out! From caregiving to hosting, there are many ways to make extra cash, even as a retiree. And if you just want to remain active, remember to check your area's volunteering options!
Ryan has years of experience researching and testing products that help people successfully age in place. After years of working for various publications such as Boston Magazine and The Believer, he has found his home at The Senior List, writing about all things related to caregiving and senior healthcare.