If you’re working a full-time job, chances are you’ve dreamed of getting to retirement as soon as possible. And if you’re in your 50s, retirement probably isn’t too far away. You’re probably in pretty good shape for retirement if you have a 401(k). But even if you don’t, there are still ways to save for your golden years. Either way, you want to make sure you actually have a happy retirement instead of regretting your plight.
Whether you’re sitting on a large nest egg or still trying to reach your retirement goals, there are plenty of easy jobs you can do in your 50s to earn some extra money for later in life. In fact, almost anyone could take on these tasks, but people in their 50s might have a little more free time to start some new endeavors. From dog walking to housesitting, here are 15 easy ways to make extra money for retirement.
1. Bird business
- The job: Breeding pet birds
- Potential income: $2,000 per month
Breeding parakeets, cockatiels, and other small pet birds is an easy way to earn extra money. A small, temperature-controlled space in your home and a modest investment in nesting spaces, feed, and birds to start the process are all you need to get going. As Extra Income Over 55 notes, the birds can breed year-round, and chicks can be sold as soon as six weeks after hatching, making for steady and relatively easy income.
Next: The drive for a little bit of extra money
- The job: Courier, ride-share driver
- Potential income: $155 per month
If you own your own car, earning extra money as a courier or ride-share driver is a great way to line your pockets with some extra cash. The website Extra Income Over 55 notes courier or local delivery drivers charge an average of $36 per hour on a national level. Meanwhile, driving with ride-sharing services, such as Lyft or Uber, can provide extra income, though perhaps less than being a courier might net. A study by Earnest shows the average Lyft driver makes $377 per month, and the average Uber driver pulls in $364. However, the median amounts for both services are significantly lower at $210 and $155, respectively. Still, the ease of starting up with either service makes them a quick and simple source of income.
Next: First this and then maybe becoming an extra on Law & Order
3. Fake juror
- The job: Sitting on a mock jury for lawyers
- Potential income: $10 per case
Depending on whether you serve on a live mock jury or participate in the comfort of your own home, there is a range of easy payouts for being a fake juror. If you are picked to serve as a mock juror in person, you can be paid as much as $100 per day, according to The Spruce. If you choose to review cases from the comfort of your own home, websites, such as Online Verdict and eJury, can get you signed up and reviewing cases at about $10 per clip.
Next: A little noisy, but easy and profitable
4. Farming crickets
- The job: Raising crickets for pet stores or bait
- Potential income: $1,400 per year
If the thought of hosting insects in or around your home makes you squeamish, then this isn’t for you. However, a minimum of effort farming crickets could net you close to $1,400 each year, according to Wildlife Hub. There are some startup costs, such as purchasing live crickets, containers to house them, and a heat lamp to ensure they survive. But the amount of space they take up is minimal, and the “harvest” can be sold to pet shops, bait stores, or companies that use cricket flour as a base for health foods. A minimal amount of effort can yield a nice bit of extra money as you near retirement.
Next: Food to the people
5. Food truck proprietor
- The job: Driving and cooking
- Potential income: Varied
If you have enough money to get going in this business, you can grab a part of the estimated $870 million in revenue food truck owners generated in 2016. The startup costs are significant (up to $100,000 for a brand new food truck), and you obviously need to be comfortable in the kitchen. The payoff is you can set your own hours and work where you want.
Next: Assisting people who need the help
6. Helping seniors
- The job: Senior transportation, home care, senior safety adviser
- Potential income: $14 per hour
Just because you’re nearing retirement doesn’t mean you can’t help people who are already there. Home-bound seniors need to leave their houses for appointments and shopping trips, which is where drivers come in. The wages can vary greatly depending on where you live and how much you can drive. One job listing in the Chicago area on Indeed pays $14 an hour. Another part-time job in Minnesota pays $15 an hour. Also, safety advisers inspect the inside and outside of houses where seniors live to ensure there are no imminent dangers. They can make $40 per hour.
Next: Getting poked and prodded can pay off.
7. Human guinea pig
- The job: Volunteering for medical trials
- Potential income: $18,000 per year
If you’ve seen a commercial for pharmaceutical medicine, you’ve probably heard about the litany of potential side effects. How do they know what the side effects could be? Medical trials relying on human test subjects. Depending on how often or how willing you are to participate in clinical trials, you could make $18,000 a year or more, according to Just Another Lab Rat. To earn that much you have to participate consistently in lengthy and intensive trials, but the website Money Pantry notes you can make $15 for just filling out a form or $175 for an overnight sleep study.
Next: Bringing ’em in
- The job: Importing goods for profit
- Potential income: Varied
You don’t have to be a giant corporation to turn a profit importing goods. All it takes is little research determining what items might be in demand in your area and where you can get them at a discount. If you can do that and get your products through customs, eBay and the Facebook Marketplace can help you reach buyers searching for the goods you’ve imported.
Next: Ready to relive your youth?
9. Mowing lawns
- The job: Mowing lawns and other yard work
- Potential income: $13 per hour
Mowing other people’s lawns is a great way to earn extra money in your 50s as you head toward retirement. If you’re a homeowner, chances are you already have the tools you need to start mowing lawns on the side. You might need to spread the word on social media and maybe fend off some teenagers for business, but Indeed notes the average lawn care specialist makes $13 an hour. If you’re good enough and word spreads, you could charge even more than that.
Next: Shop till you drop.
10. Mystery shopper
- The job: Shop and report on experience
- Potential income: $14,000 per year
If you’re in your 50s and well on your way to retirement, mystery shopping can be a nice extra source of money. You will get paid a small amount to shop at a store and report on your experience, and you often get reimbursed for part or all of your purchase. An anonymous contributor writing for Forbes made $14,000 in a year through diligent mystery shopping. Even earning a fraction of that is a tidy sum.
Next: Pet passion projects
11. Pet helper
- The job: Dog walker, groomer, pet sitter, pet photography
- Potential income: $30 per hour
It’s no secret: People love their pets and want the best for them. If you have time to take on part-time work as a dog walker, groomer, pet sitter, or pet photographer, it could lead to some steady side income before or during retirement. Dog walkers and pet sitters earn differently depending on demand, but they can earn around $30 an hour. If you were to take on one of those jobs for one hour a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, that adds up to $7,500 of extra money in your pocket.
Next: Buddy up with someone you don’t know.
12. Rent-a-friend buddy
- The job: Get paid to be a friend
- Potential income: $10 per hour
A popular service in Japan, rent-a-friend services are gaining steam in the United States. It’s the perfect gig if you’re looking to make extra money. RentAFriend charges a $29.95 membership fee, but friends can charge $10 an hour for their services, which are negotiable and can go higher. It all sounds too good to be true, but the website Work From Home Watchdog did the research and said this is legit.
Next: Tractors and pitchforks not needed
13. Small-scale farming
- The job: Growing tomatoes, mushrooms, and garlic
- Potential income: Varied
Turning a small plot of your own yard into a garden can provide some substantial extra income. Garlic, tomatoes, and herbs are often in demand by gourmet chefs and novices shopping the local farmers market. If you can create the right growing conditions within your home (with temperature and humidity control), mushrooms are another cash crop that could yield a significant payday with minimal effort. Lavender is used in floral bouquets, fragrances, and soaps among other products. It’s easy to grow and can be easy to sell if you can find businesses that need a steady supply.
Next: Hit the road.
- The job: Seasonal work, housesitting
- Potential income: $53,000 per year
Yes, if you know where to look you can be paid to travel. If you own an RV or a camper and you travel the country anyway, you can find seasonal work at state or national parks for extra income. A full-time seasonal National Park Service employee can make an average $53,000. Websites, such as MindMyHouse or TrustedHousesitters can hook you up with people who will pay for housesitters or at least offer free lodging for your services.
Next: No commuting necessary
15. Working from home
- The job: Website tester, part-time employment
- Potential income: $10 per hour
Virtual work comes in all shapes and sizes, and that goes for those who are nearing retirement or who are already there. Companies will pay you to test their website interfaces, usually $10 for what amounts to 15 minutes or so of work. Websites, such as Enroll, TestingTime, and UserTesting, can get you started on this path. There are other part-time, work-from-home opportunities through a number of employers, Extra Income Over 55 notes. The hourly pay varies depending on the company and position, but $10 is average.
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!