If you are like many Americans, there is a good chance that you’re looking for ways to improve your finances in retirement.
The first few years of retirement are often an adjustment period (in more ways than just financial) for most people.
As you settle into a new lifestyle, you find your monthly expenses decreasing.
Which is a good thing considering the fact that according to Annuity, 22% of Americans have less than $5,000 saved for retirement, and 15% have no retirement savings whatsoever.
Which means there’s clearly room for improvement.
To help you ensure you don’t outlive your savings, we give you 14 tips on saving, and even making, money in retirement.
#1 Create a Monthly Budget for Yourself and Set Financial Goals
If you’re someone who has recently retired or are about to retire soon, then you may find that retirement life can be a big adjustment. According to an Allianz survey, a whopping 61% of Americans fear outliving their money more than they fear death.
That’s why you must take time to create a monthly budget for yourself and set financial goals so that you avoid giving in to this fear.
Start by determining your total monthly income is (sources of income include retirement accounts, pensions, social security, disability benefits, investments/savings accounts).
Then look at what your expenses are and divide those into fixed and variable categories.
This will give you some insight into your spending habits, and you’ll see if there’s any room for improvement or where you may want to cut back on spending to reach your financial goals.
#2 Put Your House on the Market, Sell, and Downsize
While this may seem like a big move (pun intended), it’s a common one.
Whether it’s due to financial reasons like having a cheaper mortgage or to be closer to your family, downsizing is what 51% of older adults opt for in retirement.
From decluttering and organizing your home to selling and moving, downsizing for retirement is a huge undertaking and requires an enormous amount of work.
The process can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be if you’re clear on why you want to move and use your family and friends as support.
(By the way, if you’re looking to find clarity, check out our 4 simple exercises to find clarity.)
#3 Become a Yoga Instructor
Yoga Alliance’s recent study has shown that the number of Americans practicing yoga is rising, with over 36 million people doing so in 2016 compared to only 20 million in 2012.
What’s more, 38% of these yogis are over the age of 50.
Living the yoga lifestyle and teaching others how to do so can increase your longevity and vibrancy. Not only will you reap the benefits of maintaining a yoga practice, but you will also find a sense of purpose and give back to your community.
Start by checking out these yoga tips for older adults. Who knows, it might turn into a nice source of supplemental income.
#4 Become an Advocate for One of Your Favorite Brands
Every day, we are bombarded by ads and promotions for brands that want us to try and buy their products. But what if you could be compensated just from being a fan of the company?
This is where becoming a brand ambassador comes in handy — particularly if it’s for your favorite products. It goes without saying the more authentic you are when standing behind brands and products, the better for all parties.
Becoming a brand advocate will give your retired life more meaning, as well as giving you some extra cash on the side.
Because even in this digital era, there’s nothing more powerful than word of mouth. And brands know it. Consider leveraging the power of your passion to boost your finances in retirement.
#5 Upcycle Furniture
Upcycling is a great way to make use of old furniture that might be taking up space in the family room and turn it into something functional for the kitchen, like an island or breakfast bar.
It’s the process of converting old or discarded materials into something new and valuable, for example, turning an old, unused bicycle into a unique chair. If you don’t have any old furniture lying around, then stop by your local thrift store and see what they have.
Get crafty and have fun, after all, a bit of creativity is what every older adult needs.
#6 Find a Part-Time Job
There’s one big caveat though: make sure it’s a stress-free part-time gig that you’re truly interested in. The last thing you want to do during retirement is drain yourself with more “should dos” than “want tos” – it’s your time to shine on your own terms, right?
If you haven’t seen “The Intern” movie, check it out because it could serve as an inspiration. And it’s not just fiction, since many businesses are opening their doors for older adults looking for new challenges.
Another option is to get in touch with your community and local businesses to see if there are any openings. Or even reach out to brands you like to see if they could use your experience. For more ideas, check out this article on how to find a job after retirement.
Don’t let age stop you from trying something new. With some dedication and effort on your behalf, it could help with financing your retirement (and add some fun to your social life). Check out our list of the best 9 part-time jobs for retirees for inspiration.
#7 Properly Set Up Your Estate Plan (and Trust)
Estate and trust planning definitely isn’t fun. That’s probably why more than half of Americans don’t have a will.
Your legacy is important to you, and it’s time to make sure that your loved ones are taken care of. Without an estate plan, your assets could be distributed in a way you don’t want.
On top of providing for your family, it also helps with tax planning, asset protection, and other legal needs that may arise.
While this tip isn’t one that earns you extra money, it can definitely save you from making expensive mistakes.
It’s never too late, so don’t put off making this important decision any longer.
#8 Start That Side Business You’ve Always Dreamed Of
You’ve planned for retirement, saved up your nest egg, and are ready to do what you want with the rest of your life.
Why not use that time to try something new? If you dig deep enough, there may be an idea that’s been on your mind that you never had the courage or opportunity to pursue before.
Maybe you always wanted to open a food truck, create jewelry, or grow and sell your own fruits and veggies. But you didn’t have the capital or the know-how, or maybe you were too busy raising kids and working full-time.
Whatever it was that was holding you back, now is the perfect time to dust off your side hustle dreams.
#9 Start a Blog and Monetize It
Blogging is an excellent option for retirees who want to stay connected to their community, share new experiences or wisdom.
By blogging for a niche audience, you can start monetizing it by selling advertising on your site or through affiliate marketing programs.
In case you’re unfamiliar, AdMob by Google and Meredith are a couple of options for selling advertising on your site. And affiliate marketing helps you earn money by advertising products related to your niche. You can look into affiliate marketing programs like Amazon Associates or ShareASale.
And don’t forget about writing guest articles for other blogs in your niche and paid blogging gigs. With so many options available, it’s worth digging deeper and learning about blogging and the digital publishing niche.
#10 Create an Online Course
Do you have some knowledge about a topic that would interest other people? Why not create an online course teaching what you know best?
It doesn’t matter if it’s something technical like gardening or even something less tangible such as dealing with grief. There are plenty of people looking for help in all areas.
Another option is to share what you’ve learned from your career. Or the wisdom that you’ve gained from your rich life experience.
Tap into your passions and purpose and share them with the world. Goodness knows we need it.
#11 Find a Paid Volunteer Gig
There are plenty of ways to stay engaged during retirement, and volunteering is one of the best options out there. It’s a great way to get out of your comfort zone, meet new people, and make a difference in society.
Plus, there’s no shortage of paid volunteer opportunities. They’re available in almost every field, including healthcare, education, construction, animal care – and these days, even virtual volunteer opportunities.
Whether in-person or remote, by choosing a volunteer gig that aligns with your core values, you’ll find yourself feeling fulfilled, helping others, and earning some extra income.
To find an organization that best matches your needs, really take some time to consider what you’re passionate about and how you would like to give back if money were no object.
From there, let your clarity and deep intuition lead the way to your paid volunteer gig.
#12 Meal Plan to Save on Food
The average American spends over $3,000 every year on eating out. This is more than they spend on clothes or entertainment combined.
That’s why one of the first things financial experts will tell you to do is stop eating out and start cooking your own meals.
Planning your meals in advance is a simple yet really effective way to cut down costs (but also keep your nutrition in check). Here are some tips on how you can prepare a meal plan that will help save money:
- Make a list of all the meals you like and what ingredients they require
- Create a grocery store shopping list from this list, prioritizing items that need replenishing or rotating
- Divide up your weekly menu into days so as not to overbuy perishable items
- Try making dishes in advance which only require heating up or re-heating at home
In the same way that you budget your expenses, try keeping tabs on your meals, too.
#13 Buy and Sell Secondhand
Get your wallet ready because you’re about to find some of the best deals ever.
These sites are good for more than just saving. You can even make money by selling your old clothes or any other things you don’t use anymore.
After all, an alarming 80% of the items people keep are never used — *facepalm*.
And as the saying goes, you never know what you could find because one (wo)man’s trash is another’s treasure, right?
#14 Use Senior Discounts
The last one on our list might make you cringe, just like when the cashier asks if you’d like to use your senior discount. But, hear us out.
Senior discounts are totally worth it and can make a huge difference in your budget, so don’t be afraid to ask for them.
Here’s our list of over 200 senior discounts.
These benefits add up over time, whether it’s free museum entry, discounted movie tickets, or reduced-price meals at restaurants.
Senior discounts are just one simple step toward preparing for a more secure retirement.
Your Path to a Financially Secure Retirement
We always hear the same advice “Start saving early for retirement”.
It’s so easy to give up on your dreams when life has not been kind and you feel overwhelmed.
But let me tell you a secret: it is never too late to make the right choices for a financially secure retirement.
You just have to be clear about your goals and take consistent action. Just like any phase of life, the hard work in building your ideal future is worth it. Which of our 14 tips for improving finances in retirement resonate the most with you? Which ones will you try?
Here’s to reaching your financial and retirement lifestyle goals.
If you’re looking for more ideas, check out our list of 101 things to do when you retire.