How Your Hobbies Can Make You Money in Retirement



After decades of hard work, you’re nearing retirement age and looking forward to long days spent outdoors, online and on the road. But, maybe you haven’t decided how to use up all that free time — or you enjoy the structure that work brings.

Continuing to work in retirement isn’t all that uncommon. A 2017 report conducted by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that 53 percent of U.S. workers expect to retire after 65 or don’t plan to retire, while 56 percent intend to take on part-time work.

Instead of picking up random jobs to fill your days, consider turning your hobby into a business or finding work in your field of interest. You’ll make a little money to pad your savings and get paid to do something you’d do for free.


Teach What You Love

Whether you’re a skilled photographer, chef or engineer, chances are you can find work teaching what you love. You can set up shop in your home — like your neighborhood piano teacher — or teach at a local adult education program or school.

Alternatively, you can become an instructor for online instructional platforms like Udemy. But, if you prefer face-to-face interaction, Craigslist is a good place to find tutoring work.

If you have a knack for editing video, YouTube is a great place for you to post instructional videos, product reviews and more. Although you won’t make a ton of money at first, successful YouTubers can rack in quite a bit off ads shown on their videos.

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Sell Your Products Online

In the past, crafty individuals only had the opportunity to sell handmade goods at fairs and farmers markets. But thanks to the proliferation of online marketplaces, you can now sell your creations worldwide.

Etsy is the best-known marketplace for artisans, but there are plenty of smaller sites you can consider, like ArtFire and Zibbet. You can also use eBay to sell your creations. Even if you don’t make a lot of money, you can file a tax deduction for your hobby to help offset costs.

A lot of online craftspeople make shirts, posters and knickknacks for trendy TV shows like “Game of Thrones” and “Doctor Who.” These shows have large audiences that are looking for unique items they can display or wear.

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Write About Your Experiences or Crafts

Whether you carve out wood sculptures or explore hiking trails in your city, chances are you can find people online interested in what you do.

Start your own blog and post photos of your creations, favorite trails or foods you cook. If you enjoy writing, create a DIY blog that provides step-by-step instructions with photos. You can even post your work to Instagram or BuzzFeed, which might help boost sales or viewership.

If you don’t want to bank on ad revenue and sponsorships for income, pick up freelance writing assignments on sites like Mediabistro and FlexJobs.

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Create Products for Your Hobby

Yoga enthusiasts need mats; cooks need knives; and gym rats need fitness journals. If you can invent a product that fills a gap in your field of interest, you can make quite a bit of money.

As an enthusiast, think about products that would make enjoying your hobby safer or more efficient. You can even make pins and bumper stickers so other enthusiasts can share their love for a hobby. If you’re not sure whether there’s a market for something you have in mind, make a prototype for yourself and share it online to gauge interest. You might be surprised by the reception and find yourself starting a small business.


Lead a Tour

Americans are on the move. In 2016, they made 1.7 billion trips for leisure, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Travel Association. That amounts to $683.1 billion in travel spending for the year. With so many travelers on the move, you can easily set up and run bird-watching groups, brewery tours or bike tours, where you lead tourists to attractions around the city.

The company Cheese Journeys, for example, offers a behind-the-scenes look at how cheese and wine is made. Tourists can sign up for tours to meet culinary experts and get hands-on experience in a new city.

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Find Part-Time Work

From the baseball fan who writes about spring training for his local paper to the movie enthusiast who works as an usher at the local arts center, finding a job related to your hobby is a wonderful way to blend work and fun. Think about the places you like to spend your free time — ballparks, bookstores, gardening centers — and see if they have any part-time job openings.

You can even find seasonal work for resorts, national parks and tourist attractions. CoolWorks has job openings for tour guides, community managers and guest services at resorts, letting you enjoy the outdoors, meet new people or just have a picturesque workplace to enjoy your golden years.


Rent Out Your Space

Do you like meeting new people and have extra space in your home? You can rent out rooms to travelers. This could be one of the best money-making hobbies for retirees who live in big cities or near popular vacation destinations.

Think about that extra room in your house, basement or even garage and how it can be used to accommodate vacationers. Once you consider how you can use the space, you can then pick the platform to advertise and promote your place of residence. There are many options, including Airbnb, Craigslist and Zillow.

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Try International Housesitting

Imagine spending some time away at a French vineyard or in the countryside of Italy. If traveling is a hobby of yours in retirement, why not have your stay paid for by housesitting internationally?

With websites like MindMyHouse, there are many options to connect international homeowners to house sitters. The website is free to homeowners but house sitters do pay $20 to join. So although it’s not directly paying you in cash, you will be saving on your lodging while helping house sit abroad. If you want to make some cash, you can rent out your place while you take a housesitting assignment. For more information, check out House Sitting Magazine, a free online publication.


Run Errands for Others

Searching for hobbies for retirees that pay? Retired people often want to remain helpful, as they enjoy the feeling that they’re needed. If you’re handy, efficient and like completing tasks, but still want to make extra cash, consider giving a hand to others.

Technology has made it simple to get paid for helping others by moving furniture, completing handyman tasks or serving as an assistant. For instance, TaskRabbit connects people who want to outsource jobs with people who have the ability to get them done. For this particular website, you bid on an assignment, and if accepted you’re paid upon completion.

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Try Driving for a Ride-Sharing Service

For some, fun hobbies include driving. If you’re a retiree who loves to be in the car rather than sitting at home, you can make some decent cash being a professional driver for those who need a ride through ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. The best part is you don’t have to accept the ride request, which keeps you in control of your schedule.

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Become a Consultant

What sets a retiree apart from everyone else? A lifetime of experience. One of the most lucrative hobbies for a retiree is becoming a professional consultant. You can work as a consultant in your professional area or become a consultant in a hobby that you like and are good at.

For example, maybe you’re a great gardener and received “yard of the month” more than once in the neighborhood. Advise others how they too can get a garden like yours.

Next Up: The Best Part-Time Jobs With Flexible Hours for Retirees

Lia Sestric contributed to the reporting on this article.