Earn money in retirement. No matter what stage of life you’re in, study after study shows that if you want to live longer, be healthier, and have a more fulfilling life, working after retirement is one of the best things you can do.
A recent French study found that working longer not only helps you stay happier and healthier, but also reduces the risk of dementia, which is why 1 in 4 Brits “don’t retire” because they really miss it when they stop working.
Of course, many retirees must work because they have little savings, and about a quarter of retiree families have no savings at all, so they won’t be able to reach full retirement. But this situation can be turned into a positive if it forces us to work and “stay alive”.
You also don’t have to pay National Insurance if you’re entitled to a state pension, so you can keep most of your earnings too.
Important decisions to make when you reach retirement age.
So, what kind of work can you do in retirement?
STAY ON YOUR JOB
One way to make money in retirement is to simply continue the job you’re currently doing. Thanks to age discrimination laws, if you want to stay in your current job, you can do so until you decide to retire. Your employer is prohibited from asking you when you intend to retire or suggesting that it is time for you to think about retirement. If they start “pillowing” you can report it to your union and it’s even a matter you can take to the employment tribunal.
On the other hand, if you actually want to slow down rather than stop around retirement age, you can discuss with your employer the possibility of continuing to work part-time as a sort of “halfway home” that makes retirement easier for you.
This way you stay active and maintain your work schedule and social contacts, but also spend time at home. Employers aren’t required to accommodate this, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get, so give it a shot.
MAKE MONEY IN A NEW WAY
There are different ways you can earn pin money or a full salary, depending on your skills and interests, so it’s worth sitting back and thinking about what you can do and what you’d like to try to do for money.
For starters, there are lots of nice little side jobs you can take advantage of to bring in more money and stay connected to the community. Here are some ideas:
AREA FOR RENT
Whether you have a mortgage or not, it’s always good to get your home to make money! The first, obvious way is to rent out a spare room.
One handy thing about renting a room is that the first £7,500 of income is tax-free. It means sharing your home with a stranger, but you can start by asking friends to rent it, and then friends of friends.
If that doesn’t work then sites like Gumtree.com and Spareroom.co.uk are good for finding tenants. If you don’t like the idea of someone being there full time, try MondaytoFriday.com, where you just round up people who need a place to stay on weekdays.
Another way to make use of your spare room, but not be stuck with the same person all the time, is to rent it to international students at your local language school, as they usually stay for no more than six weeks at a time.
Search for your local institutions at ialc.org, which has a list of language schools across the UK. Or you can rent it out to tourists through Airbnb.com. This way you meet a lot of different people, usually only for a few nights at a time.
Then there is your other space. If you have a garage or driveway that you don’t use, but you live near a train station or sports ground, you can rent them out as parking spaces for drivers. Try YourParkingSpace to advertise your space.
Alternatively, you can also rent out a garage – and even an attic – as storage space for local residents. Try promoting Spareground.co.uk.
Guide to Leasing a Driveway.
BE IT A MOVIE OR TV EXTRA
Another great asset you can use is free time. For example, if you’re free during the week and live in or near a big city, it’s likely that you could work as an extra and earn around £100 a day just sitting around doing nothing.
Join the extra services agency, but be careful as there are some scammers around. Casting Collective and Ray Knight are good agencies, but if you want to try any others, check online reviews before you commit any money.
A guide to being an extra in film and television.
Other good small earnings, if you have a little free time, are participating in focus groups, such as those conducted by Sarosresearch.com, and mystery shopping, which do not pay much, but can include free trips to restaurants and bars, among other adventures.
Again, you have to be careful which agency you sign up with. JKS Mystery Shopping, ESA and Grass Roots agencies can be trusted but don’t sign up with any agency that asks for money as all relevant mystery shopping agencies are free to join.
A guide to becoming a mystery shopper.
MONETIZE YOUR SKILLS
This is where it gets really interesting. By now you will have various skills, although you may not immediately recognize them as skills.
For example, you may now be a parent or grandparent, so you have many childcare skills that can be monetized in a childcare or nanny business (many parents want a more mature person to care for their child) or being a doula (one who takes care of new mothers).
All of these professions can be done through agencies or as freelancers. Job adverts from individuals and agencies are available in The Lady magazine, Gumtree and NurseryWorld.co.uk.
Maybe you’re a great cook and can bake brownies to sell at car boot sales, local thrift stores, and farmers markets. The same with jams, candies and cookies. Or you’re good enough to be hired as a chef at a dinner party (perhaps expand to offering waiters and wine pairings after a while).
Everything you need to know to make money baking.
If you speak a language, play an instrument well, or have other artistic or educational skills, you can teach them too.
For musical instruments and other artistic endeavors, you can advertise your lessons – individual or group – around the area.
Stick flyers across doors and use word of mouth to get the message out. For academic subjects, you can work through a tutoring agency, face-to-face or online.
The Good Schools Guide website has a full list of tutors.
Our guide to becoming an online tutor
PHYSICAL AND OCCASIONAL WORK
People with DIY or computer skills are in such demand that they can work as long as they want. Everyone needs someone to solve problems around the house or fix their computer. When it comes to computer repair, you can do it for both local residents and those far away with remote work software like TeamViewer.com.
Similarly, those with secretarial or administrative experience can work as a Virtual Assistant (VA), doing everything from bookkeeping to dictation to organizing events for small businesses around the world. You can learn more about running a VA business here.
MoneyMagpie.com has an article with more ideas on how retirees can make money.
GET QUALIFIED TO MAKE MONEY
Keep in mind that you will have more choices of good and well-paying jobs if you keep up with new technologies. It really pays to pick up some skills like using Excel spreadsheets, managing social media accounts and even basic coding if you want to get a really good job.
It’s not always important to have these skills, but if you want to be hired by others, and certainly if you want to run your own business, it really, really helps to stay up to date with some new technologies.
Some major banks offer free computing courses, so check with yours. There are also of course many evening classes on new technology including Excel spreadsheets, website building, social media and coding. Some professional associations and unions also run training courses for their members, so check them out.
Start your own business
Now is a great time to start the full-time business you’ve been dreaming of. Maybe you even have an idea that you want to set up with your partner.
The field is wide open when it comes to starting your own startup, and the good news is that studies have shown that businesses created by people over 50 are less likely to fail than businesses created by younger people.
According to the MIT report, “Age and the High Growth Rate of Entrepreneurship,” a 50-year-old founder “is 1.8 times more likely to reach the top of the tail than a 30-year-old.” Not bad, huh?
Make money in retirement: WHAT WILL YOUR BUSINESS BE LIKE?
One obvious one for retirees is to become a consultant in any field of work.
If you were in PR, for example, you could continue as a one-person group or even start your own consulting company with employees. Ditto for marketing, sales and general business management.
Or you can go in a completely different direction. Maybe you were a teacher or nurse, but you really love and know antiques, now would be a great time to start a business buying and selling antiques online and at flea markets.
Or maybe you love yoga and want to teach it, or you want to start a staffing agency that offers teachers, nannies, carers or technicians. The field is wide. You can even choose one of the higher earners and turn it into a full-time business.
GET BUSINESS HELP
However, if you are completely new to running a business, get as much help as possible with starting a business to give yourself the best chance for success. You can start with the following websites:
Gov.uk – has lots of information for small businesses, including access to finance and basic information on how to run a business.
HMRC – If you’re not self-employed or run a business before, there are some tax elements you’ll need to be aware of, especially if you employ other people. Find out on the HMRC website what documents you need to keep and what rules you need to follow.
Entrepreneurship. – this website is designed to help small businesses in the UK and run training sessions for entrepreneurs.
Startups does what it says on the tin: it’s a website that helps startups get off the ground, find funding and become successful.
Whatever field of work you choose to earn money in retirement, make sure you enjoy it. Life is meant to be lived, and people who make money are part of that life. Make them work for you!
You may find articles online about things like taking surveys, transcribing videos, or writing an e-book, and wonder if you can make money doing these activities. The truth is that most either pay below minimum wage or do not have a steady source of income.
So if you decide to top up your pension, choose your job wisely and don’t get discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t work out. There are many ways to earn extra money in retirement, and you may want to take the time to find the right one for you.
More ideas on how to make money over 60.