As most regular readers know, a part of my lifestyle includes bringing in a little money here and there as part of my retirement strategy. I don't spend all, or even half of my retirement hours earning money. I do however, constantly explore ways to bring in extra cash-as a primarily frugal girl with a couple of "can be expensive if I let them" hobbies, a little money in the pot always helps. However, I also like to keep time to myself and flexible.
Over the past few months I've had various emails asking where I do my research, whether my former/current business was worth it, or even if a job was better than a business (as discussed in this thread over at Satisfying Retirement in June). I'll share more about the online location for earning money later.
I am not an expert. I have however, explored a whole bunch of alternative money making endeavors since my husband died. I have many friends who work or have a business (some just for the busyness and social aspect, some for the money) and they spend anywhere from a couple hours a week to many more depending on time, interest and availability. Between those and my own experiences, here is what I would say to those people who wonder about working in retirement. Again, I am not a professional nor do I play one on television.
- First, do nothing. In a perfect world, your business or work should work with your retirement lifestyle. Although you may THINK you know what that schedule will be, life is rarely a guarantee and once you have settled in you will know more about that. I learned this early on. My plan of selling in stores and at fairs were in direct opposition to my lifestyle plans. Although doing the caravan from craft fair to craft fair sounded good, the reality was that it took me away from too many other opportunities
- The exception to the above, is I expect, those people who are taking their current business or employment to part time or contractor status and need to keep current contacts. I know a couple folks like this, and I would only say that they had much less time than they expected to have for work. One woman moved from teaching to subbing, for example.
- Starting a business does NOT have to be expensive. Most of the people I know who started a business took on little risk, no debt and started on a shoestring. This seemed to be a concern in the original discussion over at Bob's blog. While you COULD invest twenty thousand in a new business, most folks I know have businesses in two thousand dollar start up range. This group of people includes a consultant, a couple who turned a first floor bath and bedroom into a bed and breakfast, a woman who counsels families on the best options for elderly parents, a guy who buys and sells on EBay, and more. I even know a guy who is considering becoming an Uber car driver. Most of those expenses were initial advertising and insurance, depending on the business.
- Having said that, I would suggest that for most retirees, a business needs to be portable, seasonable, include a partner or a backup person or all three. No, not everyone travels in retirement as such. But one of the advantages of retirement is schedule control, and the ability to run away for a couple days midweek if the desire hits. What will you do? Will you tell callers you are out of town? Have a person work with your? In today's business climate an awful lot of work gets done on smart phone and tablet. Still, personal contact and delivery of services could get in the way of that little getaway.
- In between a business and a job is casual income. Now that I no longer have an Etsy business as such, this is my method of bringing in retirement cash. Casual retirement income is usually not just from one source. This income generally comes from a variety of sources and is made "casually", that is, at various times here and there. I've previously talked about my research and writing gigs on the website Elance. For two weeks did nothing on this site, then I had the opportunity to research for an Ebook. I don't have a quilt business but I do have a web page where I share my quilting, and often sell something (last year I sold the Halloween quilt I had planned to put on my dining table). The advantage of casual income is the way money is earned. The other day, I am ashamed to say, we watched Pompeii. Trust me, this is a watch on TV film, not even Netflix worthy. While I watched that,, I earned forty dollars for researching an Ebook on 101 things to do with baking soda.
- The big traditional job advantage that I can see is socialization. Some people need to be, and want to be, interacting with people all day. Most retirement business such as retail or restaurant work involve a fair amount of working with the public and a very social person probably enjoys that. Although I am not familiar as much with traditional retirement jobs, I do know a nurse who works one or two shifts a month, a gal who works in the bookstore, and my late father in law worked at Dillard's for 20 years after leaving his "Mad Men"style advertising career.
- The Elephant in the room of course, is can you make a go of it. From what I have seen my answer a qualified yes........you can find income through a job, business or casual income. How much that income will be, and how regular it will be is a separate issue. In a perfect world, if there is anyway to manage it, this extra income should not be the backbone of your retirement income .In my case, I work for expensive quilting fabric, expensive dining, and the occasional luxury trip (as opposed to my normal road tripping. I don't use, or budget with it on a daily basis.
Oh, and that baking soda research? That's the last "ghostwriting" Ebook I'll be doing, even for $90.00. I can write my own Ebook thanks-on 50 Tube cake recipes, or how to start a fairy garden for that matter. So, thanks for the idea (although that previously mentioned Christmas book needs to get done first).