12 Ways Retirees Can Make Money Without Un-Retiring

12 Ways Retirees Can Make Money Without Un-Retiring
Photo by Lena Evans / Shutterstock.com

These days, “retirement” doesn’t always mean “not working.”

According to a study of U.S. retirees from the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS), “nine percent … are currently working for pay, including five percent who are employed part-time, two percent who are employed full-time, and two percent who are self-employed.”

“(People) no longer see retirement as a fixed point in time where someone who’s working full time immediately stops working. The new vision is a very personalized, gradual, flexible transition into retirement,” says Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of TCRS.

More than half — 56% — of those surveyed said their top reason to keep working was “wanting the income.” That’s not surprising: The average retiree’s monthly Social Security check is about $1,420, according to the Social Security Administration.

You might be able to make some extra dollars via passive income — money that comes in without you doing much work, or any work at all.

Passive income is often synonymous with a large upfront investment, such as buying rental properties or dividend-producing stocks. But the following passive-income strategies can bring in extra bucks without investing a bunch of money or time.

1. Rent out a room in your home

Got an empty nest? Someone may be willing to pay to roost there.

You can advertise your spare space on your own or list it on a vacation rental website such as:

Yes, it takes some work: You might have to keep the room tidy, and do a load of sheets and towels once the guests depart. But in some parts of the country, you can earn enough money in just a few days to cover a mortgage payment, as we detail in “Do This a Few Days Each Month and Watch Your Mortgage Disappear.”

If you’re the gregarious type, you can have fun talking up your town or even showing visitors around. If not, advertise it as a “Here’s your key, we won’t bother you” arrangement. Some people simply want an inexpensive place to sleep and don’t care about sitting around chatting with the host.

2. Get rewards for credit-card spending

If you’re going to shop with plastic, make sure you’re rewarded.

The form that reward takes is up to you. Some people covet airline miles. Others take their rewards as cash or a credit against their monthly statement.

The number of rewards credit cards — and their pros and cons — can be a little dizzying. For an easy way to compare your options, check out travel rewards cards or cash-back cards in Money Talks News’ credit card search tool.

3. Become a peer-to-peer lender

What is peer-to-peer (P2P) lending? In short, P2P lending sites such as Prosper Funding accept loan applications from borrowers. Investors like you can put some of your money toward loans to those borrowers. When loans get paid back, so do you — with interest.

Overall, P2P investments “can provide solid returns that are really hard to beat,” according to Clark.com, the website of financial guru Clark Howard.

As with any loan, however, there’s the possibility of default. You may not earn anything or may even lose money.

Sound too complicated? Maybe this simpler form of P2P is for you: Worthy Peer Capital sells 36-month bonds for $10 each. The money is loaned to U.S. businesses, with lenders who have purchased these bonds getting 5% interest on their investment.

To learn more about Worthy bonds, check out “Earn 50 Times More on Your Savings.”

4. Use cash-back apps

An app called Ibotta lets you earn cash rebates on purchases from retailers, restaurants or movie theaters.

Or do your online shopping through cash-back portals like:

These websites enable you to earn cash back on purchases from thousands of online retailers. To learn more about them, check out “3 Websites That Pay You for Shopping.”

5. Rent out your vehicle or gear

Your spare bedroom is one of many things you could rent to others to bring in extra money.

Use your imagination. Maybe you have a ladder, stroller, surfboard, bicycle, boat, camera equipment or a great selection of power tools.

Peer-to-peer rental sites like the following will help you find folks who occasionally need such things but don’t want to own them:

Whatever you’re renting, keep in mind that ordinary insurance might not cover commercial use of your property. An insurance rider may cover some of the items, but you may need a separate policy, so consult your insurance agent.

6. Sell your photos

Smartphones have made decent photography possible for just about anyone. The next time you capture a killer sunset or an adorable kid-and-dog situation, don’t keep the image to yourself. Apps like Foap — which is available for Android and Apple devices — will help you sell it.

You can do even better if you have a good digital SLR camera, a tripod and other equipment. Stock photo companies like Shutterstock and iStockphoto, which favor high-definition, high-quality images, are venues for selling images on just about any subject you can find.

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