Whether or not to work-or bring in extra income in retirement is an individual choice. Some people never want to see anything that looks like work or a business again. Some folks work because they find it enriching. Others work to keep up with temporary bills or fund a major expenditure. We are all different and how we deal with that is unique. Recently Bob over at Satisfying Retirement fielded questions from a reader about income options, sharing examples from fellow bloggers and his own experiences.
In my case I chose to bring in an income-for how. My reasons are simple, and perhaps not unique to me. I have an expensive hobby (at least one) some expensive travel plans, and a temporary expense (taken on by choice) that I would like to lower. In the first case, I am a quilter and artist. There is no such thing as cheap quilting fabric, or equipment. In the second case, I have decided to fly to Europe and take a Rhine Cruise-from where it begins to where it ends-and then maybe a cruise through French Wine Country. Finally, as I have mentioned elsewhere, I have taken on a hefty car payment-again by choice.
I don't consider this extra income necessary to retirement survival or retirement satisfaction in any way. If I found my business or income generating a chore, I would drop it immediately. My life has been very rich and satisfying without any of the above expenses. I have found casual food, the open road and all the free and relaxing activities available to me to allow living richly in retirement to the fullest. For now, a business works for me.
When I decided that I would add some income to my basic retirement, I never considered a job-as in working for someone else. I know people who have been extremely satisfied doing tours, working at home depot, teaching and doing other part time work. I was simply not used to working for anyone else (being an at home spouse for many years). More importantly, I am a free spirit. I want to work when the mood strikes. If I want to take off for the weekend, I wanted to be able to do so. I did not want a "schedule" of places and times I needed to be. After all, even when I travel I avoid scheduling as much as I can. So, the natural choice was a job I would do at home and/or a home business. I have chosen the latter.
When some folks hear the word business, they see investments, lots of extra paperwork, extra taxes. Certainly some business can entail all of those. Most small business and small income opportunities have little to no investment or overhead. In fact, many small business can be started for $100 or less. While I am not an expert in business, I know a person who has a handyman business (only expense is annual insurance), I know a person who makes and sells art. I know a person who makes and sells jewelry. I know a woman who bakes and sells at farmers markets and does Christmas cookies baskets at the holidays. I know a guy who has a dog walking and dog boarding business. I know a woman who is a part time realtor. In most of these cases, any investment was for insurance/bonding and minimal advertising (flyers, business cards). When a start up is this low, one can take a risk.
When I decided to bring in money, I had certain requirements. I wanted any income opportunity to be portable. If I wanted to go away for the week on the spur of the moment I did not want to have to contact replacements, notify customers or do any of the other scheduling tasks. I wanted that job to be mainly done at home-I had this vision of me in my lounger on the patio with a mimosa and the laptop (and that has mainly worked out to be true), and I wanted something where I could create the hours.
My end result is that I have more than one "micro business", and my criteria are met 90 percent of the time. All have been basically no expense start ups (I had basic equipment and needed advertising and office supplies). What I do to make money depends on the time of year, but any of these "micro businesses" could be turned into an at home small business with minimal extra cost. I make and sell quilts and quilted items. I do online research for clients through a third party broker. During the holidays I make and sell Special Occasion and Christmas cookie baskets for folks who want homemade cookies and have no time to make them. Last but not least, I do estate, house and rental clean outs-and sometimes I hold sales to sell the items. This last choice is the only time I go out of my house to a client-and even in this case much of what I do is done at home
Just as whether to bring an income into retirement is a unique choice, so is the form that income will take.Some people prefer the socialization of working for someone outside the home, as well as the chance to get out of the house. Some people prefer to do business in their jammies. Many folks come somewhere in between. We all have to make a choice that works for us, depending on needs and lifestyle. The important thing is to know that choices are there, and if a business is what works best for you, well........know that you don't have to but your retirement in danger to start that "freedom businesss"