Making the most of your retirement can involve doing something that brings you extra income if you want. Exploring how to make money in retirement—whether you're anticipating it or are newly retired—can help you decide if it makes sense for you.
What are the reasons to pursue extra income in retirement?
Pursuing extra income after retiring can allow you to find new career interests, fund travel and generosity goals, explore hobbies and passion projects, and fill remaining financial gaps. The kind of income opportunities you pursue in retirement will depend greatly on what your precise reasons are, so it's worth thinking about these in detail. These are some of the main reasons retirees may choose to earn income beyond their savings and Social Security:
New career interests
For decades, you've been waking up early, working hard and only occasionally taking breaks. When you retire, the shift from full-time work and other obligations to a slower pace can be surprising at first. This transition can be eased by finding a new career interest that keeps you active and engaged.
Part-time jobs can complement retirement well. There's time for connecting with others, less stress than a full-time career and the opportunity to continue developing your skills. Depending on your circumstances, the money may be a nice bonus or an additional source of financial security.
Travel and generosity goals
Many people opt to maintain a simple life as they save for retirement and then realize post-retirement that they're ready to spend or give a little bit more. By pursuing income in retirement opportunities, you may be able to fund that European cruise or those yearly trips with grandchildren. Any work you choose to do might feel more fulfilling simply because you know every dollar is funding your dreams. Some people also find that they enjoy earning income knowing they're going to fold it into a charitable giving strategy.
Hobbies and passion projects
Many people have daydreamed of using their retirement years to practice woodworking, weaving, writing a novel or painting the perfect landscape. While these passions may begin as hobbies, choosing to turn them into income can add to the adventure. Going to weekend festivals or markets to sell what you make, for instance, may at first feel like a pastime but can quickly turn into a substantial income. With less pressure to pay for every element of your life using this work, you can budget for your passion project to break even or make only a little profit.
Not everyone has the opportunity to build robust retirement savings, so income after retirement may be necessary. This could be due to extensive dependent care needs during your working years, a downturn in the market that changed the state of your savings, or lower-income work throughout your career. No matter why you need to work during your retirement years, knowing this as you approach retirement age allows you to make wise calculations and choices. You may want to adjust how you work, where you work or how much you work, but continuing to work in retirement can help you make up any gaps between your savings and your expenses as you move forward.
4 tips on how to make money in retirement
Some choose to continue working in the same field or industry they always have, but other options may appeal to you more after retirement than before. Here are five ways you may be able to earn extra income:
1. Rental property
Before retirement or in early retirement, many families opt to purchase a property, spruce it up, and find their first renters. Some rental income goes to pay business expenses like repairs, insurance and taxes, but rent that remains after all expenses is income for the landlords. While owning rental property offers varying rates of return, it can be a retirement pursuit with a flexible schedule, particularly if you enjoy being handy and do-it-yourself projects.
2. Low-key work
Many people who are at or beyond retirement age find that they'd prefer work that doesn't require them to stand for long periods of time, sit in one spot or do physical labor. By choosing an industry where there is an opportunity to move around freely or where work can be completed without breaking a sweat, you may find that working in a less physically demanding role is appealing.
3. Community interaction
Many retired individuals who consider either part-time work or volunteering joke that it's to "get them out of the house." The core truth there is that interaction and connection can be very valuable to people, especially if family and friends live far away. Making new friends can be a gratifying part of life. Some jobs help you connect with others and give back to your community. Some retirees find that they look forward to meaningful conversations and impactful work even more than the paycheck.
4. Caregiving at home
Many extended families have one or more members who could use additional care at home. It could be a young couple with childcare needs or a family member experiencing health issues who could use some light housekeeping and good company. By providing caregiving for pay within your family, you may be throwing your family members a lifeline. You can create a deeper connection with them than a caregiver outside the family would. As a result, you provide a high-value experience while strengthening your bonds with those you love.
Making the most of diverse income streams
Having diverse income streams means that you don't have only one source of income. Instead, you combine various ways of filling your budget each month. Rather than being wholly reliant on Social Security, for instance, having several income streams might include a combination of assets to draw upon, like savings, pension or retirement account distributions—and paychecks from any post-retirement work you pursue.
Here are some strategies for managing these potential income sources:
Social Security benefits
The Social Security Administration publishes rules for how working during retirement affects your benefits. Essentially, if you wait to draw benefits until full retirement age, you can earn income during retirement without reducing your benefit checks. However, if you retire earlier than the full retirement age, there are limits on your income, after which your benefit checks will be lowered using a specific formula. The limits do change periodically, so speak with a financial advisor, contact Social Security or review
Meeting with a local
A financial advisor can also offer information about how retaining some risk in a diversified portfolio may help to keep your assets growing or maintaining their value relative to inflation. It's a balancing act, and a financial advisor can help you understand many factors affecting your choices about where to invest your assets based on when you may need them.
Priorities can change even just a few years into retirement. The good news is that a financial advisor can discuss options with you as you determine how to make money in retirement. If you realize, for instance, that you enjoy your work environment even though you originally planned to retire at age 62, you may be able to adjust some of your goals. A Thrivent advisor has many tools to share with you that could help you align your retirement income with your near-term and long-term goals.
Opportunities abound in retirement
Retirement is a new beginning in the lives of many individuals. A satisfying plan for how you'll spend your days, months and years in retirement can really boost your enjoyment of this special season of life while also helping you retain the purpose and engagement that characterized your prior years of work. It's never too early to start thinking about how you want your life to look during this time, and the thought you put in now can help you maximize your opportunities and feel a sense of strong financial clarity during retirement.