How Can Retired People Supplement Their Income?

Rebecca Kennedy

One of the saddest statistics that’s related to the retirement that Americans are experiencing in the present day is the number of Americans who rely on Social Security for 90 percent of their family’s income. In 2013, that number was 23 percent. With an average monthly Social Security benefit of just $1,418 as of June 2017, this does not leave much wiggle room for those who rely primarily on Social Security for their income. What can these seniors do to supplement their incomes?

Wait To Draw Social Security

Those who have not yet fully retired can supplement their incomes with additional Social Security benefits as long as they are not yet past age 70 and have not yet started to draw benefits. The monthly payment that a Social Security recipient could draw grows by 8 percent for each year that they delay drawing their payments. This growth ends when the potential retiree hits age 70, so it does not make sense to delay past that point. Those whose main retirement income will come from Social Security should delay their drawing benefits for as long as they can.

Answer Surveys And Watch Videos

There are a number of online survey sites that users can access. Some will allow people anywhere from 13 years of age to death to answer surveys for money. While you’re most likely not going to get rich this way, you can get a few bucks a week by watching videos or answering surveys online. Even $50 or $100 a month could provide some additional wiggle room in a retiree’s monthly budget.

Get A Job

While you might technically be retired, this does not mean that you can’t work to supplement your income. If you’re already drawing Social Security, just a few hours a week could make a huge impact to your standard of living. Even at the current nationwide minimum wage, 10 hours a week would add nearly $300 to your monthly income.

Some part-time jobs could come with some decent side benefits as well. For example, if you like to golf, mowing grass or helping at a local golf club could get you some free greens fees. A part-time job does not necessarily entail saying “Welcome to Wal-Mart” all day. Some of these jobs might actually be quite enjoyable. Additionally, if you have a skill that’s reasonably in demand, you might be able to work on a very part-time basis for just a few weeks or months a year and supplement your income a nice bit.

Start A Side Business

When you no longer have to go to a day job, you can follow your passion. One of the most famous senior entrepreneurs was Colonel Sanders. He did not hit it rich until he was well into his 60s. His passion was chicken, and he used his knowledge and skill to build a world-famous business. When it came to income retirement funds from Social Security did not hold Colonel Sanders back. Retirement could give you the time to do what you’ve dreamed of doing and supplement your income in the process.


 You may own a family home that resembles the stereotypical McMansion. This does not mean that you need to keep it forever. It’s likely that you won’t need as much space after becoming an empty nester. If you own a home that’s worth $500,000 and you could trade it in for a $200,000 option, you could pocket the $300,000 difference. These funds could then get invested in index funds or bonds that pay dividends or interest to supplement your income very passively. When it comes to passive income retirement is the best time to have it coming in.

Take Out A Reverse Mortgage

If you’re not convinced that you need to leave your home to your kids, you might also benefit from a reverse mortgage. This would allow you to tap into the equity that you’ve built up in your home over the years. Of course, you’d be able to access more money if your home is paid off, but you should still be able access some equity if you still owe a bit. Additionally, you can keep living in the house until you die. The property would just revert to the bank after you die if the loan is not repaid.

While you might think that there are few options for those who have already retired to bring in some more money, there are actually many ways to make some money on the side. Whatever option you decide upon, any additional income can only help you achieve your financial goals. Whether you want to travel or just meet your monthly obligations on a tight budget, these ways to supplement your income can help you do so.

Rebecca Kennedy is a freelance writer with an interest in personal finance and frugal living.

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