4 ways to work part-time in retirement

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If you’re approaching retirement and need a little more funds for a comfortable one, what do you do? One choice is to work part-time in retirement. Many retirees choose to work, partly for the income, and also for the opportunity to remain productive and active. A Merrill Lynch survey found nearly half of retirees either have worked or plan to work, and 72% of pre-retirees over age 50 say they would like to keep working after they retire. Fortunately, the options are more abundant today than ever before. Here are some good ones.

1. Get a part-time job. Many retirees seek part-time jobs in their community. Popular jobs for retirees include retail sales, driving a school bus or courtesy van, bookkeeping and tax preparation, tour guide, and personal assistant. If you’re looking to expand your horizons, the site Coolworks.com posts many part-time, mostly seasonal jobs which are low-paying but in exotic locations, such as working in gift shops in a national park or tutoring kids with a circus. Other retirees pursue life on the road: some perform maintenance work at RV campgrounds in various locations around the country in return for free parking and utilities.

Housesitting is another popular option. Housesitters take care of residences while their wealthy owners are away. These offers come with free board, and owners typically prefer older caretakers and former military members, law enforcement officers, and firefighters.

2. Consulting and teaching. Many retirees have valuable knowledge and experience acquired over a career which can be parlayed into consulting or instructional in retirement. For example, a successful business owner could provide advice and guidance to people who are opening new businesses in the same field. Or a retired music teacher could teach students a few hours per week. You could set up a pay-as-you-go arrangement to share your experience and skills with others, for a fee. Some retirees even provide consulting services to their former employers.

3. Run a business. You could also leverage your skills by being your own boss. For example, if you used to be a computer programmer or web developer, you could create a company to provide those services to businesses and individuals who need them. Websites like upwork.com and fiverr.com make it easy to create and promote a services company. If you have or can cultivate a hobby that you’re passionate about, you could possibly create a side business around that. If you’re interested in woodworking, for instance, you could make and sell furniture or collectibles. If you’re skilled at sewing or painting, you could sell your artwork or apparel to interested buyers. Sites like etsy.com are convenient avenues to sell various items. One retired machinist created a part-time business restoring and selling old tractors and other machinery.

You could also create your own website or blog around a hobby. If you’re interested in cooking or baking, you could create a recipe site and share your creations with your followers. On your site you could sell advertising space and also promote other people’s products as an affiliate, so that you receive a percentage of the sales as commissions.

4. Real Estate. If you have interest and skills in home renovation, you could purchase rental property in your area and perform the needed repairs. These properties could furnish an additional monthly income stream.

Continuing to work in retirement can provide benefits besides the income and social contact. Working additional years adds to your earnings history for Social Security purposes, which may raise your retirement benefits. It may also enable you to delay filing for benefits, which also increases your benefits. The extra income can reduce the amount of your savings you’ll have to tap into. On the other hand, a higher income might put you into a higher tax bracket than you were planning, for both income taxes and capital gains taxes.

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