Looking for something to do that brings in extra money? You’re not alone, no matter what your age. But when you’re retired, finding a side hustle can be both a challenge and easier than ever.
How many senior citizens have side hustles?
Every month, “nearly 300,000” people start some sort of side hustle. That’s based on an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data according to Side Hustle Nation. That same study suggests those side hustlers include one in twelve of those between the ages of 55 and 64 as well as one in twenty-five aged 65 and over.
It’s not unusual for retirees to take on some sort of side gig to earn extra income. The reasons range from a need to combat inflation to a quest to find something exciting to a curious enthusiasm to extend your hobby beyond mere recreation.
Those that work with retirees have seen all sorts of side hustles.
“What you pursue really depends on your specific interests and skills,” says Clint McCalla, Senior Wealth Manager at LourdMurray in San Diego. “I’ve had clients start consulting businesses in their area of expertise such as engineering or medicine. I have also worked with individuals who take up a craft such as woodworking or boat restoration. Some have taken on jobs in the area of social work where they may make some small amount, but it is really about giving back and helping those in need.”
Don’t rule out working part-time for a bigger company. This offers two advantages over starting your own side hustle. First, you just need to clock in. There’s no need to worry about running the business. Second, the job can be fun for you (in your own way). Still, it’s not unusual for retirees to return to their hearts.
“I jokingly hear about ‘passing out stickers at Walmart
Working in retirement is all about you because retirement is (or should be) all about you. Your pre-retirement career often guides your choice of a post-retirement side hustle. You can get anything you want. The trick is in knowing what you desire.
“Choosing a post-retirement job varies and can depend on your existing skills and knowledge,” says Anna Rappaport, member and volunteer of the Society of Actuaries in Chicago. “For example, retired teachers can substitute teach (since they have the skills) and work as much as they want with substitute teaching. Someone from a consulting field could serve as an independent contractor so they use their existing skills, and also it offers them flexibility and freedom with their time. Retired nurses may become travel nurses or work in a pool, taking assignments when they wish. With travel nurses, they may take an assignment on a cruise ship or warmer destinations. Utility workers could work in pools where they may be called in when there is excess demand, such as after a major storm. Generally, retirees may consider working on temporary assignments, so they work part of the year and get the flexibility and freedom they may want to supplement their income while collecting retirement benefits. There is also driving for ride-share companies, so someone works when they want within their schedule. And it gives them the opportunity to socialize with people.”
What is a good side hustle for a senior citizen in 2023?
If you look at the retirement side hustle landscape today, you will find retirees coalescing around several prominent ideas. Derek Miser, investment advisor and CEO at Miser Wealth Partners in Knoxville, Tennessee, sees three primary areas for retirement side hustles:
“1. Consulting—many retirees are taking on consulting work after retirement as it gives them the flexibility to work as much or as little as they want. Additionally, consulting work allows them to use the knowledge and experience they have gained over the years to help new businesses and projects.
2. Teaching—teaching is a great way for retirees to stay connected and to continue to share the knowledge and experience that they have gained over the years. Many retirees are taking on roles as teachers, tutors and mentors, as it allows them to stay active and engaged with the world.
3. Freelance writing—freelance writing is an ideal way for retirees to stay busy and to make some extra money. They can choose their own hours and work on projects they are passionate about, without the commitment of a full-time job.”
Those baby boomers who have lived an activist life are seeking side hustles that match their values. Others that have put off pleasure may wish to finally try that which they have long delayed.
“Charity work, for those that may not need to work for income, is a great way to do valuable work, have a purpose, and add a tremendous amount of joy to your life,” says Lawrence Sprung, founder of Mitlin Financial in Hauppauge, New York. “Following your passions, many of us enter a career at an early age, and we do not have the opportunity to make a change along the way. We may want to, but our responsibility to our family may prevent us from doing so. Find that passion that you always wished you could do and look to build a side gig around it. Maybe your love of photography, computers, or even sharing your knowledge as a consultant.”
Is consulting a good side hustle for a retiree?
If you’ve spent your career accumulating specialty knowledge, you may not even have to think about what kind of retirement side hustle you can start. It may think of you. That’s because your employer may not want to fully part ways with your knowledge. They may wish to keep you as an independent consultant for at least a few years after you retire.
“Consulting is extremely popular,” says Chris Kampitsis, a financial planner at The SKG Team at Barnum Financial Group in Elmsford, New York. “We see corporate employees retire from their company but stay on as a consultant with a cap on hours worked quite often. The reality is in many industries it is very difficult to replace the knowledge of today’s retirees and perhaps more cost effective to retain an experienced employee part-time than to train a new employee and provide benefits, etc.”
Chances are, if you liked the job you just retired from, you might find you still hold a passion for it. Consulting allows you to realize that passion. You don’t have to limit your consulting to your original employer. You can often find other companies willing to pay you for your knowledge. Indeed, for sharing your knowledge or passion, there are more ways other than consulting to do that.
“I see a lot of people becoming consultants for the field or company they retired from,” says Bob Chitrathorn, CFO
Is it worth it to start a business?
If you’re thinking about starting a side hustle in retirement, make sure you consider all the pluses and minuses. Chances are if you want to collect the greatest benefits of earning extra income while retired, starting a small business may be your best path. It’s a path on which you won’t be traveling alone.
“Many retirees are turning to freelance work or starting their own businesses as a way to generate income and stay active in retirement,” says Dennis Shirshikov, the head of growth for Awning.com in New York City and a professor at the City University of New York where he teaches finance, economics, and accounting. “For example, some retirees are working as consultants or coaches in their areas of expertise, while others are pursuing hobbies and passions and turning them into profitable ventures.”
Despite having all these people riding alongside you, side hustles are generally solo acts. Not that driving alone is bad. In fact, it may be the secret to your success.
Which type of side hustle do you imagine yourself doing? Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Or would you rather sit back, relax, and enjoy greeting people? The choice is up to you.
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