THE BLOG
01/15/2016 04:03 pm ET Updated Jan 15, 2017

How to Earn Extra Money in Retirement

It would be great if the cost of living stopped rising once you retire. You would know exactly how much money to save, and how much income will support your lifestyle. But the cost of living continues to rise even after retirement, which is why a lot of people look for ways to earn extra money, often just a couple of years after retiring.

Still others are bored over a life of complete leisure, and need new challenges to take on, in addition to a fresh income source. What are the best ways to earn extra money in retirement?

Consulting

Many careers can be converted into part-time or seasonal consulting arrangements in retirement. For example, let's say that you worked in marketing and sales during your career. You may be able to work as a consultant for other businesses engaged in the same line. Or let's say that you managed a restaurant; you may be able to become a consultant for another restaurant or even a small restaurant chain.

The idea is to take the experience that you accumulated during your working years, and consolidate it into a program where you can sell your expertise for a fee. It could be a flat fee or an hourly compensation arrangement, that will be an excellent way to earn extra money in retirement.

Freelancing

Create a list of skills you have - they can be either those acquired through your career, or even one or more from a hobby or area of interest. Figure out how you can sell those skills to businesses or individuals, and you can make money freelancing.

Let's say that you were a teacher during your working life; you may then be able to sell your services as a tutor. Or let's say that you are an avid golfer, and a pretty good one at that; you may be able to sell your services as a golf pro at a golf club, or even to offer instruction to other golfers. There's no more fun way than to make money from your hobbies!

Start a Part-time Business

This can involve providing a service or selling a product. Under ideal circumstances, it will be a business idea that you are enthusiastic about, kind of like a lifelong dream. If you can identify that kind of business idea, you may be able to combine passion and a need to to earn extra money - and that's a powerful combination.

Identify what kind of business you would like to go into, then do some research into the industry, including investigating some local businesses in the same field. Figure out what you can offer - either a better product or service, a more efficient delivery, or a lower price - then start to build your business around it.

An even faster way to do this, if you have the money, will be to buy out an existing business. This is generally less risky than starting a business from the ground up, since the business will already be running and have a cash flow.

Many business ideas can blend neatly into retirement, in a way that a full-time job can't.

Create Passive Income Sources

These are the types of income sources that generate revenue with minimal effort from you. That doesn't mean that they require no effort all. Typically, you'll invest a considerable amount of time, effort, and often money in getting a passive income stream started. But once it's up and running, it's one of the best income sources you can have.

There are actually a large number of potential passive income sources. Some examples include starting a blog or website or creating videos - you can earn ongoing advertising revenues for each. You can also invest in real estate, either directly or through real estate investment trusts (REITs).

As Brandon Turner, cohost of the popular real estate podcast, The BiggerPockets Podcast, says, "Buying rental properties in good areas can be a great source of extra monthly income. If you are handy, you can take care of small repairs yourself to save money, or outsource the management to a management company to make the investment even more hands-off."

If you're really enterprising, you can start a website in which you sell other people's products through affiliate arrangements, earning a percentage of the sales as a commission.

Watch Out for Pyramid Schemes!

In your search to find ways to earn extra money in retirement, it's almost inevitable that you will come across one or more pyramid schemes. If you do, run the other way, and run fast!

If you can picture a pyramid, you see that it has a large base that becomes progressively smaller until you reach the very peak of the pyramid, which comes to a point.

This is a perfect metaphor for the organizational structure of this kind of scheme. At the bottom is the largest number of people in the organization. At the top is the smallest number. But everything being generated by the large number of people at the bottom is flowing up to the top, so that only the very small number of people at the very top are actually making any money.

Pyramid schemes usually look something like this:

● Some unusually friendly people try to convince you to attend a seminar
● The seminar is a deliriously happy event, lead by one or more incredibly charismatic and persuasive individuals
● The speakers confidently promise untold riches, and you can't help but get caught up in the excitement
● Your questions about exactly what product or service that the scheme is offering are either dodged or ignored completely
● You must pay an entry fee to join, which is "only" a few hundred dollars
● You are encouraged to persuade family members and friends to join you as associates
● Family members and friends will likewise pay an entry fee
● You will get a small cut of the entry fees of any one that you bring into the program - the rest goes up the pyramid, to the people who brought you in, but mostly to the people at the very top
● You are not required to sell the core product or service - just the memberships, though they may also convince you to pay for upfront inventory
● The speakers are careful to declare that "this is not a pyramid scheme"

The lure is easy money; the reality can be an empty bank account. If you have doubts about a business scheme, check out the FTC guidelines on multi-level marketing before committing to the program.