What’s in your wallet, the commercial asks. If you’re like most folks, not enough.
According to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, the median amount of retirement savings for someone in their 60s is $172,000 (median means that half have more than this, and half have less).
$172,000? Using the standard 4% withdrawal rate advocated by many financial planners, that means you—if you have that much—could take out about $6,880 a year, or $573 a month. Social Security helps: The average check next year will be $1,461. But altogether, that’s still just $2,034 a month. Along comes an unexpected expense like a leaky roof, car repair or medical bill and presto—you’re in over your head. Little wonder that—as I wrote recently—millions of seniors may wind up living in poverty.
And this is why those millions of seniors may never really “retire.” Some hope to stay at their jobs, but is this the only way to bring in cash? No. I’ve been looking at alternatives. There are ways, in fact, to raise cash while avoiding the traditional rat race. Here are a few that you might not be aware of—and please tell me what I may have missed using the email address below. I’ll share the best ones in a future column.
Get paid for—wait for it—walking. How good is this? Sweatcoin, one of the top apps on your phone, “basically pays you to move and exercise,” says Men’s Journal, “and it costs nothing too use.” Download the app, start walking, and you’re rewarded with digital currency—one “coin” for every 1,000 steps (maybe half a mile). Save up enough coins and you can exchange them for real-life products and services. Who says exercise doesn’t pay off?
Run errands for others. Nobody likes standing in line, right? Some people will pay you to do it for them. To pick up their laundry, get their car washed, etc. if you’re really smart, you can combine tasks and amp up your cash. There are plenty of sites that can connect you with potential jobs. Try these: TaskRabbit, Thumbtack or Gigwalk. Chances are you can find something that’s suitable for you. Oh and as long as you’re running around, you could be earning with Sweatcoin. Why not leverage what you’re doing in multiple areas simultaneously?
Get paid for being online. Swagbucks pays you to participate in polls, watch videos and take surveys. A quick review of the site tells me that you can make an extra $10 or $15 a day for just a few minutes work. Not much, but it could add up and you don’t have to leave your couch, either. The company pays you in “swag dollars” that you can turn in for gift cards for retailers like Walmart
Other companies, like SurveySavvy and Pine Cone Resarch also pay you to take surveys. Nobody ever asks you for your opinion? These folks do.
Become a tour guide. I do this now, with Vayable. Since I’m a reporter, author and historian, I meet people here in Washington and give them an hour-long talk on things like the White House, the Lincoln assassination and so forth. Do you live in or near a tourist destination? You can do this do. Walk around, get some fresh air, meet nice people—and get paid.
Evaluate search engines. Appen helps companies evaluate their websites, to see if navigation is easy, if there are any bugs, etc. This seems a bit more complicated and maybe not as fun, so let me know if you try this one.
These kind of “side hustles” won’t bring in huge bucks, but they could generate enough to make the difference each month, and that’s not insignificant. You can get paid to sit on the couch, paid to walk, paid to talk; all kinds of revenue streams are out there and you should be able to find something that floats your boat. Let me know what you think about these things—and tell me what you’re doing to make money. I may use your ideas in a future column. My email: [email protected].
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