New York native Marsha Kelly and her husband, Tim, retired three years ago at the age of 57 with a plan to travel across the country in a vintage Volkswagen bus they bought.
“We saved up and we wanted to enjoy our retirement in good health,” Kelly, 60, told FOX Business.
But they wanted to have some extra cash rolling in to fund the trip before they hit the road.
“We wanted some income while we were gone and someone said, ‘hey, you have this big house you’re not using.’ So we decided to start renting it out and downsized dramatically.”
Kelly, who worked in corporate marketing, and her husband, a former boat builder, invested $10,000 to renovate their four-bedroom Peconic property in Long Island, New York just a block away from the beach. Kelly says investing in her home renovation raised the value of her property from $500,000 to upwards of $650,000.
They converted a portion of their home into a 900-square-foot studio apartment last year, adding in a small kitchen and bathroom. Renters get access to the rest of her home, complete with 1940’s wicker furniture and the laid back luxury of an indoor hammock for $2,800 a month.
“As long as you pay, you can stay,” says Kelly of her newfound entrepreneurial effort.
She enlisted the help of a local rental agent to advertise, handle home showings and run credit checks on perspective renters.
“We used a local rental agent who handled everything – we didn’t pay a penny. For us, it made a big difference because we don’t know how to check credit.”
The majority of people in the U.S. over the age of 60 want to “age in place” by staying in their current home or neighborhood, according to a report by AARP, however, they may face financial challenges in retirement that can make it difficult to do so.
Renting seems to be solving that problem. Online vacation home rental site Airbnb said in a survey last year that more than 400,000 people over the age of 60 were renting out their homes worldwide using the site.
And since the number of people over the age of 75 who are living alone is slated to almost double from 6.9 million to 13.4 million by 2035, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, having a little company can combat feelings of loneliness and isolation in addition to helping seniors make extra money.
Some apps are marketing to seniors who may be looking to start a side hustle mainly for social interaction. The app Nesterly pairs seniors with empty rooms in their homes with students and young people who may be saddled with student loans or high housing costs with affordable places to live. It aims to combat loneliness for empty nesters while giving young people access to affordable living spaces.
“Sometimes seniors engage in side hustles primarily for the experience, socialization and structured activities that you tend to lose when leaving the workplace,” Kathy Kristof, editor-in-chief of SideHusl.com, an online platform that helps people find work, said.