The 5 Easiest Ways to Boost Your Retirement Income

Written By
Paul Tracy
Updated January 16, 2021

You’ve worked hard all those years. And now, you’ve finally earned time to travel, take long afternoon walks and pursue all the pleasures that go along with not needing to punch a time clock.

For many, retirement couldn't be better. But for others, it has its own set of challenges -- especially financially. With low rates restricting investment income, many retirees find themselves short of cash at the month’s end.

According to a recent study, 40% of Canadians retire into debt and 17% carry credit card debt. The situation is equally grim in the U.S. A recent report by the Public Policy Institute found that approximately 15% of retired Americans had trouble paying their credit card bill, rent or mortgage.

But there is no reason to panic when those bills come. 

Here are five fun ways you can bring in a bit of extra cash to cushion your retirement:

1. Monetize a hobby

 Do you have a special skill or talent? Perhaps you make fantastic fudge you could sell to local cafes, or you’re a great piano player. Why not get paid to do what you love? 

In today’s internet age, it’s easier than ever to monetize your hobbies. If you have a crafty side, websites like Esty.com and Artfire.com cater to the DIY enthusiast. These sites allow you to easily set up an online store front to sell hand-made goods. Generally, you’ll pay a small listing fee (approximately $0.20 per listing), but in turn, buyers around the world can view and purchase your items. 

If you’re not into learning new technology to sell your goods, no problem. Instead consider putting up signs around your neighborhood to bring attention to your services. For example, if you can play and teach piano, your neighbor might be interested in taking piano lessons from you. The same goes for foreign languages and other academic skills -- neighborhood students might need some tutoring.

Whatever your passion, by being creative in identifying your skills and abilities, you can likely turn your hobby into cash.

2. Rent out a spare room or host an exchange student

If you’re an empty-nester, you might have extra space in your home. Renting out a spare bedroom or hosting an exchange student can be a great way to earn income while also expanding your cultural horizons. Websites like Cultural Homestay International and Kaplan International have programs to help you connect with students from abroad. Working with a recognized business to host an exchange student is also much safer than finding one through the classifieds. 

Allowing a stranger into your home may not be everyone's cup of tea. But, if you enjoy interacting with new people, renting could be a great way to earn a bit of extra money and at the same time, spice up your social life.

3. De-clutter your house and sell your old goods

Rather than throw away unwanted goods, why not sell them and earn extra cash? 

Websites like Ebay and Craigslist allow you to categorize and list what you’d like to sell. Craigslist allows you to focus on the major city you live closest to, so you can increase your contact with nearby buyers. To maximize potential sales, be sure to take good, clear photos of your item(s) and write a short, but detailed description. 

You may not make a fortune from selling your old belongings, but you may be able to periodically net enough money for a nice dinner out. You'd be surprised at what's offered for sale on both websites: one man’s trash is another’s treasure. 

[InvestingAnswers Feature: Craigslist: 3 Used Treasures to Look For, 3 Duds to Avoid]

4. Get paid to write or blog

If you have a way with words, there are many websites looking for written content. No matter your interest or expertise, you can likely find a place to publish your work – and get paid for it. Writers Weekly is a particularly good online resource for aspiring freelance writers. It lists all sorts of paid international writing opportunities. Most of the jobs are done from home, on your own hours. Payment will vary widely, depending on the specific work and opportunity. 

5. Do online surveys

Here’s your opportunity to both give your two cents worth and earn it at the same time. You won’t make a living from online surveys, but you can bring in a bit of extra spending money. 

Be cautious, however, as there are companies looking to scam retirees. Before completing an online survey, make sure the site you’re working for is legitimate; legitimate survey companies generally never ask for and will also promise not to give away your personal or contact information, without your permission. They should also never try to sell you something. A good rule of thumb is to avoid sites which charge you to sign up to take a paid survey. Always read the terms of service and privacy policy before beginning. Two legitimate survey sites include My Survey and Survey Savvy

Some survey companies pay you in cash, others in rewards. The amount you’ll receive is typically based on how long the survey takes to complete and how complex it is. In general, you can expect to receive about $1 to $10 for a 5 to 45 minute survey.

The Investing Answer: Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you no longer have income earning potential. There are many creative ways to bring in a bit of extra money, while doing something that you find fun. Be careful about who you do business with, and never be afraid to ask a trusted friend or relative to review any paperwork or numbers with you. 

[InvestingAnswers Feature: 10 Highest Paying Work-at-Home Careers]

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