For millions of Americans, the dream of retirement that they have worked so hard for all their lives has not lived up to their expectations. Market crashes, mortgage meltdowns and recessions have left the retirement savings of many workers in shambles, and those facing this dilemma are scrambling to find ways to make ends meet without the income from a full-time job. Fortunately, there are several possible solutions available for those who need to increase their nest eggs during their non-working years. As long as you are willing to make some basic adjustments in your lifestyle, there are some ways for you to stay retired without going bankrupt.
TUTORIAL: Retirement Planning: Building A Nest Egg
1. Get a Job
Although the very thought of going back to work may make you shudder, the income from even a retail job or customer service job you work from home can make a huge difference in your savings and income. A part-time job that pays $12 an hour will yield $240 a week for 20 hours of work, or $960 per month. This is roughly equivalent to a 10% return on a $100,000 portfolio. There are also a growing number of work-at-home jobs becoming available, some of which even offer benefits such as health insurance. This can be a huge windfall for those who may not be mobile enough to get ready for and commute to a job located elsewhere. (Learn some sensible strategies for making your hard-earned savings last for as long as you need them. For more, see Managing Income During Retirement.)
2. Adjust Your Investment Risks
If you can't bear the thought of having your retirement savings invested in anything that isn't guaranteed for principal, such as CDs, treasury securities or fixed or indexed annuities, then this may be a good time to reevaluate your perception. Moving a sensible portion of your portfolio to equities or higher-paying fixed income instruments will provide your nest egg with a long-term hedge against inflation as well as increase your current income. If you have $200,000 in savings, you could move half of your nest egg into a selection of stable preferred and utility stock offerings and increase your income by perhaps 2 to 3%, or $2,000 to $3,000 per year. (For more, see Protect Assets, Create Income, Retire Happy.)
3. Become a landlord
The decline in housing and real estate values has left many empty-nesters with larger houses than they need. This can be viewed as a substantial financial opportunity in some cases. If you are able to find reliable tenants to rent out one or more of your unused rooms, you can generate a rather substantial income with minimum effort. If you have two spare bedrooms that are currently unoccupied, then you could easily charge at least $400 a month for room and board plus utilities. You will have to report this income on Schedule E of the 1040 and pay self-employment taxes, but an additional $800 per month of income can go a long way toward restoring your retirement security. Furthermore, all expenses that you incur toward repairing and maintaining the portion of your house that you rent out are fully deductible. However, if you sell your house, the sale proceeds for this portion of your house will be taxed differently than the rest of your residence. (For more, see Need Retirement Income? Sell Your House!)
4. Downscale Your Residence
If renting out a room or two doesn't appeal to you or it isn't possible, consider eliminating them by moving to a smaller residence. This can be especially helpful if you have enough equity in your current residence to pay for a smaller abode in cash, thus eliminating your mortgage payment.
5. Eliminate Your Debt
If you have any type of debt that is charging you more interest that you are generating from your savings, then it might be a good idea to pay it off now. For example, a credit card that is charging you 12% interest is growing much faster than a CD or bond that only pays 3%. Therefore it may behoove you to liquidate some of your savings and pay this debt off in full, rather than continue to make payments on it. This will improve both your cash flow and your balance sheet over time. (For more, see Retiring On Investment Interest: Can It Be Done?)
TUTORIAL: Traditional IRAs: Introduction
The Bottom Line
There are several ways that you can generate income during retirement without having to resume your previous career. There are also many websites that offer group savings and other coupons and discounts that can save you money on a daily basis. For more information on how to generate income during retirement, consult your financial advisor or an employment agency. (For more, see Will Your Retirement Income Be Enough?)