12 ways to earn money in retirement

Everyone’s idea of retirement is a little different, but there’s one thing many people agree on: it’s nice to have some extra cash. While not everyone is able to transition to part time work or launch a business, there are many ways to earn a little money after you leave full time work.

The best advice when it comes to money-making opportunities? Experts say to stick to what you know — look for ways use of your skills, experience and passion. Not only will you provide a better product or service, it won’t feel like work.

Here are some ideas that might work for you:

Sell stuff online. You don’t need to launch your own company or clean out your house — you can sell items you make or collect. For example, etsy.com lets you sell hand made goods like jewellery and sewing while Amazon lets you sell used books, CDs and movies. You can also sell collectable items through online classifieds or online auction sites such as ebay.

Another option: rent a table at a bazaar, farmers market or flea market to sell your wares. (Check out more tips for turning a hobby into a business.)

Restore and repair. Have a knack for repairing and restoring? You can often buy items for less than they’re worth, fix them up, and sell them at a profit. Consider refinishing old furniture from garage sales or repairing vintage technology, for example.

Give your opinion. Market research companies across Canada and the U.S. want to know what you think — and there might just be a facility near you. You’ll receive an honorarium for your time, though finding focus group and survey opportunities can be hit and miss. If you’re interested in taking a look, www.greenbook.org lets you search for companies by province and city.

Teach. Some classes you can teach in your home — such as music or art — but look to your local colleges too. Instructors are often needed for vocational courses such as running a business, nursing or auto repair. If you don’t want to commit to a whole course, some colleges and universities run half-day or day professional development workshops taught by local experts.

Another option: Take advantage of the online learning trend and develop your own course through websites such as Udemy.

Tutor. Online or in person, tutoring is another way to make money from your expertise. You can look for local offerings through schools or local tutoring businesses, or try broader online services like BrainMass or MyTutorWorld. Some in-demand skills include math, English and foreign languages.

Babysit. Your grandkids need care and you want more quality time. The solution: offer regular babysitting or daycare — with appropriate compensation, of course. If you prefer to provide occasional care, see if there are any parents in your area who could use some time off now and then. (Think of it as grandparent-for-hire.)

A word of caution: make sure you have the time and energy for regular care before making a commitment — and make sure everyone agrees on the terms. (See Opening Gran’s daycare for details.)

Offer your services. Sewing on buttons, mending, mowing the lawn, cleaning, home organization, basic repairs — you might be surprised by the services busy people are looking to outsource. Where can you find this work? Try online classifieds or freelance websites.

And while you shouldn’t take on caregiving or nursing responsibilities without the appropriate qualifications, there are many services you can offer older adults in your neighbourhood — such as cleaning, laundry or running errands.

Pet sit. Take care of a your neighbours’ furry friends while they’re away, or offer to walk the dog while they’re at work.

Become a tour guide. Travellers are looking for unique, local experiences and services such as TripBod and Vayable offer a way for local experts to cash in. For example, take visitors on a tour of your area’s best shopping, teach them how to prepare a traditional dish in your home or lead a guided walk of your city’s best sites. You’ll need a love of local history and culture, as well as good presentation and interpersonal skills to make it work. (For more information, see Top sites for unique experiences.)

Rent your space. Have a spare room to rent out? Even if you don’t live in a college or university town, young professionals, travellers or international high school students are often looking for somewhere to live. Another option: rent out your home to travellers while you’re away through websites such as VRBO.com.

If the idea of having strangers in your home doesn’t appeal, some experts say to try renting a basement or closet as storage space. Depending on where you live, you might be able to rent part of your driveway as a parking spot.

Blog. If you love to write and have some website savvy, you can earn money from advertising once you build up a big following. However, be aware that blogging takes a lot of time and effort — not to mention a fair bit of marketing. It can take months or years to start earning money, and expect expenses such as web hosting and design. (For more information see our tips for starting a blog.)

If you don’t have an ethical objection to paid reviews or promotional posts, you can earn money writing posts for other blogs or consumer websites.

Freelance. If you’ve got a way with words, some experts say to pitch your articles to local newspapers or niche publications where you have common interests and expertise to offer. You’ll need to research the audience and the requirements of the publication — and know how to write a good query letter.

Writing isn’t the only way to freelance, of course. From web development to bookkeeping and proofreading to graphic design, companies are looking for contract workers with a variety of skills. Websites such as Elance.com can help get you started, but expect to put in more time and effort if you want to pursue higher-paying opportunities.

One word of caution: take some time to brush up your scam awareness skills before you start. Unfortunately, there are many fraudulent websites and services eager to cash in on people looking for honest work. As always, avoid those too-good-to-be-true job offers and be careful with whom you deal online.

How do you earn extra money on the side? Share your ideas with other readers in the comments below.

Additional sources: AARP.org, Business Insider, How Stuff Works, Investopedia.com, US News

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ Feng Yu

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