Karen was a little concerned. At 72, she was starting to realize that living on a fixed income was tough. Not wanting to spend the rest of her life worrying about finances and struggling to get by, she decided to look for part-time work. But after a few months of looking, she still hadn’t found the right fit and feared that with her limited mobility she wouldn’t be able to find her footing in the modern workforce.
Karen’s situation is by no means unique. In fact, many aging adults find themselves looking for work years after retirement in order to get by. Unfortunately, it can be intimidating to return to a traditional workplace. Luckily, there are a number of ways that aging adults can increase their cash flow while doing things that they actually enjoy. If you are concerned about your aging loved one’s finances and are wondering how seniors can make extra money, let’s look at some out-of-the-box ideas that are definitely worth exploring.
How Seniors Can Make Extra Money Doing What They Love
Making money later in life doesn’t have to mean that your loved one has to do a job they dislike. It’s possible to earn some extra cash doing things that make them happy while making use of their unique set of skills. Finding what that is, however, may take a little creative thinking.
Below are just a few fun and fulfilling ways that seniors can make extra money:
- Enter the online marketplace: Selling personal belongings that your aging loved one no longer wants or needs can be an easy way to earn some extra cash. Help them sort through their belongings and take pictures of items they want to sell, such as furniture, jewelry, art, books, or dishes, and show them how to post it in an online marketplace such as Craigslist or eBay.
- Work with kids: There are so many casual employment opportunities out there working with kids, from tutoring to babysitting. Help your aging loved one put up ads in places where you know parents will see them (at pools, recreation centers, cafes, libraries) stating their availability and the services they are willing to offer. Posting a brief ad on Craigslist or Care.com may also be a good idea.
- Become a companion: There are many aging adults out there who don’t have many friends or family left in their life and are looking for someone to keep them company and do some minor non-medical care tasks. It could be as simple as taking them out for activities during the day, or even just going over to their home, making them lunch, reading to them, or playing games with them. Many families would be very happy to pay someone to spend time with their aging loved one. If your loved one is able-bodied and has a means of transport, this could be a great option.
- Pet sit: If your aging loved one has a love of animals, pet sitting could be the perfect way to make a little extra cash. Friends and neighbors may even want their dogs to be taken for walks or let out during the day while they are at work. In addition to making money, spending time with animals is very therapeutic. It will get your loved one outdoors and give them something to nurture and care for. Again, Craigslist ads and posters are great ways to spread the word.
- Get Crafty: Is there something your loved one excels at making? Perhaps they knit beautiful scarves or make amazing needlepoint art. Whatever it is, encourage them to sell their products at local craft fairs, small shops, or even online through Etsy or Craigslist.
- Cook for Others: If your loved one is a whiz at baking or cooking, talk to them about creating a product and selling it at community events or at a local farmer’s market. Even just spreading the word to friends and family can drum up some business. Your loved one could also prepare meals for others as a way to make some extra cash if they love to cook. Just make sure to look into whether or not your loved one will need to obtain a food safety certificate, as this will vary from state to state and depend on where and how much they are selling.
Not only will the above ideas provide your aging loved one with some extra money, they’ll also keep them busy, active, and social, which are all important to healthy aging. And who knows, your loved one could even discover a new passion in the process!
Maximizing Cash Flow: Simple Tips and Tricks
Of course, apart from finding ways to make money, it’s important to make sure that your aging loved one takes advantage of opportunities to save money. Asking for senior discounts can be a great way to save a significant amount of cash. Places like restaurants, grocery stores, clothing shops, and hotels will often offer discounts for those over 55. Becoming a member of American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) or American Seniors Association (ASA) can get your loved one even more discounts and deals.
It’s also a good idea to help your aging loved one make sure that their bank accounts and/or investments are optimized. Make an appointment with their bank and go through all of their accounts to make sure that you are getting the best interest rates possible, and set up a meeting with their financial advisor to talk about the status of their investments. You may also want to consider getting your loved one on a money management program that will help them with budgeting, negotiating with creditors, and maximizing tax returns.
In the end, Karen decided to tutor kids and teens in her neighborhood in Spanish, her native language. Not only did she derive so much joy from spending time with young people, she was also engaging her mind in new ways. The best part was that she was able to tutor from the comfort of her own home, so her limited mobility wasn’t a problem at all. And while making extra cash had been the driving force behind the tutoring, she loved it so much that she almost couldn’t believe she was getting paid for it. At age 72, she really felt like she’d found her calling.
At Institute on Aging, we offer a variety of resources to aging adults so that they can live healthy, happy, fulfilled lives. To learn more about our diverse services, contact us today.