5 Side Gigs for Retirees

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Some retirees just aren't ready to leave the working world altogether. Others would be thrilled to quit working, but need at least a little extra income to supplement the traditional retirement hat trick of Social Security, retirement savings, and a pension (if you're lucky). Whichever category you fall into, here are some ideas for side jobs that can work particularly well for retirees.

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1. Working for a call center

Many call centers allow you to work from home, which is extremely convenient for retirees who never want to commute to an office again. Minimum requirements are a dedicated phone line and reliable Internet access. Call centers often need round-the-clock support, so if you are a night owl this job may be a natural for you. Expect to make somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 to $10 an hour, unless you have special skills such as experience with tech support. If all that sounds intriguing, fire up your favorite Internet search engine and try searching for terms like "call center jobs," "work from home call center," and similar phrases.

2. Crafting

If your favorite hobby involves creating something tangible, be it knitting, building bird houses, or making soap, consider selling the fruits of your labor online or at your local farmers market. You probably won't make much money from a hobby, but if you're already doing it for free just for the fun of it, any cash you get as a result is just gravy. And who knows? Your product may take off and launch a whole new business for you. Selling craft-type items locally is especially effective if you live in a tourist area; such towns tend to abound with "quaint little shops" that will often be thrilled to sell your home-crafted product for you.

3. Gardening

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If you have access to a substantial garden space, growing fresh fruits, veggies, herbs, and flowers can bring in a bit of extra cash at your local farmers market. As with crafting, you probably won't make much money gardening, but at the very least you should be able to slash your grocery bills by eating a significant amount of your own homegrown food. Certain types of produce tend to bring in more cash than others; for example, homegrown berries are sweeter than anything you can find in the supermarket and are much appreciated by farmers' market shoppers.

4. Working as a library aide

If you love books, consider getting a part-time job that involves working with them. Libraries are often looking for part-time staff and are particularly interested in people with previous library experience. If you live in a college town, check out the University library – many stay open 24 hours a day, so taking the graveyard shift may be an option. At a minimum, a retiree pursuing this job should have basic word processing and data entry skills, online searching skills, and be good at record-keeping. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for a library assistant is $11.77.

5. Writing

A retiree with a flair for the written word can make some significant extra money writing for various outlets. If you have expertise in a particular subject, look for websites and magazines that specialize in that subject and check if they are looking for writers. Content mills, which provide blog posts and other short pieces for websites, pay as little as one or two cents per word but are a good place for beginning writers to get started. As you gain experience, you can start looking for more lucrative writing jobs. Do an Internet search for "blog post writers" or "work from home writers" to get started.

1 thing to remember about working during retirement

Retirees who haven't yet reached full retirement age and are already receiving Social Security benefits need to watch out for the earned income limit, which can cause your benefits to drop based on excessive earnings. Once you pass full retirement age, these restrictions no longer apply.

Before choosing a side gig, think about the kinds of activities you enjoy, then do some research and brainstorming to see if you can turn those activities into a paying job. After all, you're retired – you should be enjoying yourself!

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