11 Overlooked Ways Retirees Can Make Money

Senior handyman
Photo by beeboys / Shutterstock.com

Ah, retirement: Who doesn’t dream of giving up the rat race and putting the daily commute in the rearview mirror? That said, retirement doesn’t have to put an end to earning income. Instead, view your post-work years as a transition from a traditional career to some nontraditional ways to make money.

Just remember to be cautious. Always check out a company’s reputation before you sign up, and never pay for a service that promises to help you earn money.

Now that you’re ready to line your pockets with extra cash, here are 11 nontraditional earning opportunities.

1. Secret shopping

Get paid to shop or get free meals while reviewing an establishment. To find out more, head over to the Mystery Shopping Professionals Association and check out their assignment search list for nearby jobs.

2. Treasure hunting

The beach is a great spot to spend your golden years, so why not comb it with a metal detector? Maybe if you’re lucky — astronomically lucky — you’ll uncover something as incredible as 16.5 pounds of ancient gold and silver, as an Englishman did with his metal detector in 2009. Or, perhaps you will simply earn the opportunity to do a good deed, like the retired firefighter who found — and returned — a woman’s lost $13,000 wedding ring.

3. Scrap metal

There’s money in scrap metal. Take a look around your house, garage and shed, and find some old equipment you’re not using. Identify the metals and then check out Scrapmonster.com for an estimate on prices. The prices there are three months old unless you pay to sign up, but they should be good enough to get you in the ballpark.

You can go to your local transfer station to sell, but going directly to a scrap yard can get you the best price.

4. Tutoring

Malcolm Gladwell, author of “Outliers: The Story of Success,” suggests it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to master a subject or activity. If you have a lifelong interest — literature, politics, history — you’re going to be an expert by the time you retire. Tutoring is a chance to share your knowledge with a pupil and make decent money to boot. One place to connect with tutoring opportunities is Wyzant Tutoring, which can match you to both local, face-to-face opportunities and virtual tutoring jobs.

5. Consulting

Have you had a career in the same industry for most of your life? Or have you worked jobs in different industries? You can make both angles work as a consultant. If you had the same career for a number of years, you know your industry better than most 20-something managers. If you’ve had several different careers, you’re in the unique position to look at a company problem from different vantage points. For a way to make money using your specialty — and do so on a flexible basis — consider signing up as an expert on JustAnswer. To learn more about how to become an online expert, click here.

6. Knitting

If you knit, you can sell your wares online at websites like Etsy. Don’t know what to knit? Tell your customers you do custom knitting. Do you create your own knitting patterns? You can sell PDF copies of your originals and deliver them via email.

7. Reverse antiquing

Do you have a hobby collection — perhaps birdhouses or lamps, or lovely old pieces of china or furniture? Get price quotes from antique shops and sell your treasures to the one that offers the most money. Go to the antique stores in the most expensive part of town, or travel to an area known for pricey antique shops. You’ll get the best prices at the most expensive stores. Go to eBay, download the app and compare what the shops are offering with what you can get online. Alternative sites for selling antiques include: ArtFire and Bonanza.

8. Cleaning services

Are you a clean freak or an organization whiz? Why not start your own business? For a fee, you can clean houses or help people organize their garages, attics and basements. To connect with people who need help with cleaning and other tasks, check out sites like Thumbtack or TaskRabbit.

9. Handyman

Think about the skills that people come to you for, and profit from them. You’ll be surprised at how many people don’t know how to change a shower head or replace a faucet. You could circulate fliers in your neighborhood, or turn to sites like Thumbtack or TaskRabbit to connect with people seeking help in your area.

10. Translating and interpreting

Are you fluent in a second language? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, interpreters and translators make an average of $47,190 a year, or $22.69 an hour, and their job outlook through 2026 is a much-faster-than-average growth of 18 percent. You can also find work-from-home gigs in this industry for translating documents or transcribing audio. Check out TranslatorsCafe as a starting place.

11. Teach your skills

You likely have skills to teach. For instance, you’re an accomplished haggler if you routinely talk salespeople into giving you a discount on items like cars and furniture. Ask your community center or library about being a guest speaker or teaching a class. Or publish an online course through Udemy — and earn money as people sign up to take your course.

For more tips on building your wealth, check out “7 Ways to Fatten Your Bottom Line in Retirement.

Do you know of more great ways to earn money in retirement? Share them in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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