Retirement marks a new chapter in life—one that for some is about taking a well-earned rest, but for others is about discovering new ways to stay active and financially secure.
For those keen to keep moving, it’s a time when years of hard-earned skills and wisdom can be transformed into rewarding side hustles. These opportunities not only supplement your retirement income but also keep the mind sharp and the social connections active—all important things for longevity, security and fulfillment.
Gone are the days when reaching retirement age meant stepping away from all forms of work. Now, not everyone can afford to do so, while some just don’t wish to disengage from work fully. And working in retirement isn’t a bad thing. Keeping one foot in the working world is now seen as a common pastime that lets you find that appropriate balance between leisurely relaxation and engaging in work that’s both enjoyable and financially beneficial. Plus, some extra income to go on top of your Social Security benefits never hurts.
This guide delves into a variety of the best side hustles for retirees, ensuring that there’s a fitting option for every interest and skill set.
Best Side Hustles for Retirees and Seniors
1. Freelance Writing or Editing
Do you have a talent for writing or editing? Then consider freelance writing or editing, in which you create or improve written content for clients. This can include writing articles, editing manuscripts, or helping businesses with their marketing material.
Who It’s Best For: Retirees who have a strong command of language, an ability to articulate ideas clearly, enjoy writing, and have a good grasp of grammar, style, and voice. While not required, having previous experience in writing or editing can be advantageous. And bonus points if you have a technical background as you can usually command higher rates.
Earnings Potential: Freelance writers and editors typically earn between $20 to $50 per hour, depending on specialty, experience, and clientele. (Some clients pay by the word you write, by the hour, or even by the project, so the pay range provided attempts to reflect that work as an hourly rate.) Clearly, if you’re efficient and can write a lot of content under a production-based model (per-word or per project), your hourly wage can be significantly higher. At 10 to 20 hours a week, retirees can make $200 to $1,000, depending on the nature and complexity of the projects.
2. Antique Restoration
If you’ve got a penchant for taking something that’s well-worn, faded with age, or been neglected for a significant period of time and restoring it to its former glory, you might have a future in restoring antiques. Antique restoration involves the process of repairing and restoring older items to their previous (or sometimes, better) state.
Who It’s Best For: Know someone who has an old couch that needs to be reupholstered, a classic bookshelf that needs a new coat of paint, or a wobbly chair leg that needs to be replaced? This side hustle is perfect for retirees who have a passion for history, a keen eye for detail, a touch of craftsmanship, and a fondness for antiques and vintage items. (It gives you an excuse to go antiquing!) Patience and precision are key skills, along with some basic knowledge-to-advanced of restoration techniques.
Earnings Potential: Antique restorers can charge anywhere from $15 to $50 per hour depending on the complexity of the work and the value of the item. Working 10 to 20 hours per week, you could expect to earn between $150 and $1,000 weekly.
3. Cooking or Meal Prep Services
Cooking or meal prep services involve preparing meals for clients, either in batches for the week or for special occasions. This can be an ongoing basis or by appointment for special events that require ad hoc catering. You can even set up recurring in-person food prep services that allow you to grocery shop, go to a client’s home, prepare their food on location, then store everything in their refrigerator for their week ahead. And depending on the client’s reason for hiring you, prepping all the meals with your help might even save them money if it otherwise would have meant taking trips to restaurants, grabbing takeout, or ordering food delivery because they didn’t have the time to make food for themselves.
Who It’s Best For: Retirees who love cooking, who are skilled in the kitchen, and who understand dietary needs and preferences. It’s also beneficial for those who enjoy interacting with people, have a comfort being in others’ homes, and understanding their culinary preferences.
Earnings Potential: Personal cooks can charge anywhere from $15 to $30 per hour. Therefore, working 10 to 20 hours a week can yield an income of $150 to $600. (Note: This doesn’t bake in the cost of food, which you should add to these per-hour labor charges when determining a final price for clients.)
4. Community Education Classes
Teaching community education classes involves sharing your knowledge on a subject with a group of people interested in picking up new skills, diving deep into a topic of interest, or generally exposing themselves to new things and continuing to learn something new. People interested in community education classes can enroll through a community college, public service organization, or other local entity to learn about numerous topics. Teaching one of these classes gives retirees a chance to share what they know, engage with people, and earn a little bit of extra money for doing it.
Who It’s Best For: Retirees who have expertise in a particular area and enjoy teaching and interacting with diverse groups of people. You’d have light hours and hopefully get to teach something that you’re passionate about.
Earnings Potential: While it’s unlikely you’d work 10 to 20 hours in one of these roles (unless you teach multiple classes per term), hypothetically, instructors can earn between $20 to $35 per hour. Thus, dedicating 10 to 20 hours per week can lead to earnings of $200 to $700.
5. Fitness or Yoga Instructor
Keeping active in your retirement is a must, so why not get paid for helping not only yourself, but others? Working as a fitness or yoga instructor involves leading classes and providing guidance on physical exercise. While past training or experience in this setting are nice-to-haves, they aren’t absolutely necessary for certain types of fitness classes.
Who It’s Best For: Retirees who are physically fit, passionate about both fitness and wellness, and have training or experience in fitness or yoga instruction. You’d also have the chance to be social with groups of people looking to stay physically fit and engaged.
Earnings Potential: On average, fitness and yoga instructors earn between $15 to $35 per hour. This translates to $150 to $700 per week for a 10- to 20-hour commitment.
6. Personal Historian Services
Personal historians help individuals, families, or even local communities document their life stories or compile local histories. This could involve interviews, compiling photographs, and writing narratives. My grandmother did this when she cataloged the local history of where she was born in Knox County, Illinois. She collected significant amounts of local history through visiting the local libraries, interviewing county residents, sifting through permitting documentation at the county courthouse, and much, much more. After collecting all of this information and forming it into a book, she had it published.
Who It’s Best For: Ideal for retirees who have a passion for storytelling and history, and have strong listening and writing skills. Even someone who has a keen interest in genealogy—perhaps sparked by wanting to know where they came from, or how their family formed—might consider this a great exercise.
Earnings Potential: Personal historians can charge between $15 to $30 per hour. Therefore, one can expect to earn $150 to $600 per week for 10 to 20 hours of work.
7. Vehicle Restoration and Upkeep
If you’ve got an old car sitting in the driveway that deserves a second wind and you’re the one to give it, you might give vehicle restoration a go. Vehicle restoration, the process of restoring old or classic cars to their original condition, is an excellent side hustle for retirees, particularly for those with a passion for automobiles and a knack for mechanical work. This is a type of hobby that can be turned into a business if you work for others handling their car restoration needs. It involves tasks like repairing engines, bodywork, painting, and interior refurbishing. Of course, none are tasks for the faint of heart, so you’ll need to know what you’re doing and how to do it safely. It’s a pursuit that combines technical skill with artistic creativity, offering immense satisfaction upon seeing a once-dilapidated vehicle returned to its former glory.
Who It’s Best For: Individuals who enjoy working with their hands, are meticulous, and take pride in achieving excellent results. Attention to detail is an absolute must. Further, a knowledge of vehicle maintenance is beneficial.
Earnings Potential: Vehicle restoration work can pay varying amounts. Depending on the car type, work involved, and time commitment, you can expect to earn anywhere from $25 to $40 per hour. Thus, retirees can make $250 to $800 per week based on a 10- to 20-hour workweek.
8. Renting Extra Space
If you’re retired and once had kids living at home with you, you might find that you’ve got extra room in the house that’s no longer needed to house your family. If that’s the case, you might have extra room to rent out. Renting out extra space in your home or property can range from storage space to renting a room or hosting small events. It’s a great way for retirees to earn passive income.
Who It’s Best For: Suitable for retirees who have extra space and are comfortable with the idea of renting it out to others. This can be for ad hoc events, or for ongoing needs like storage, event hosting, or even to short-term or long-term tenants.
Earnings Potential: The income from renting out space can vary widely based on location and the type of space offered. On average, one can earn $100 to $500 per week, though it greatly hinges on several factors, including the intended use of the space, how long it will be used, for what purpose and where you’re located.
9. Mystery Shopping
If you’re interested in reviewing retail businesses and restaurants and giving your opinion anonymously, you might consider becoming a mystery shopper. Mystery shopping involves visiting retail stores, restaurants, or other establishments; assessing the quality of service; then providing feedback.
Who It’s Best For: Ideal for retirees who are observant, enjoy giving feedback, and like the idea of getting paid to shop or dine.
Earnings Potential: Mystery shoppers typically earn $15 to $30 per assignment. If taking on multiple assignments per week, one can earn $45 to $150.
10. Consulting in Your Former Profession
If you’ve worked in the same profession for a longer period of time, it’s very likely you’ve built up a considerable amount of subject matter expertise that isn’t easily replicated (or at least in a cost efficient manner) by younger employees still in that line of work. And that’s to be expected: working in the same field for many years exposes you to lots of knowledge and wisdom that only comes from time in the role. If you’d like to take this knowledge and continue earning extra cash from it without actually working a W-2 job, you might consider consulting.
Consulting involves providing expert advice in your area of professional expertise. This is a great way for retirees to leverage their years of experience—many people actually turn this into their own business, even after reaching full retirement age. Better still, many people can do this as a solely online business. Given the low overhead (if you work exclusively online, you just need a computer and an internet connection), this can be a very profitable business to boot.
Who It’s Best For: Retirees who have extensive experience and knowledge in a specific field and enjoy problem-solving and advising.
Earnings Potential: Consultants can charge $50 to $150 per hour or more, depending on their expertise, time commitment, and more. This means earning $500 to $3,000 per week for a 10- to 20-hour commitment.
11. Gardening Services
Gardening services are a wonderful way for retirees to harness their love for the outdoors and gardening skills. This side hustle involves various tasks such as lawn maintenance, planting, pruning, and designing garden layouts—you’d probably want to hire someone else more apt for doing the heavy lifting if it comes to implementing those layouts, however. As a retiree, you might have flexibility to set your hours and choose projects that suit your physical capabilities and interests. And remember, this isn’t just about the hustle, but likely more so about the therapeutic value of doing something you love.
Who It’s Best For: Retirees who are physically active and enjoy working outdoors. A basic understanding of plants and landscape maintenance is essential.
Earnings Potential: Typical earnings range from $10 to $30 per hour. Working 10 to 20 hours weekly, retirees can earn $100 to $600, with potential for more depending on the project’s scale and location.
12. Crafting and Selling Handmade Goods
Crafting and selling handmade goods—one of my grandmother’s favorite pastimes—is a delightful way for retirees to channel their creativity into a profitable venture. This side hustle encompasses a wide range of activities, from knitting and sewing to woodworking and pottery. (My grandmother specialized in dolls and stuffed animals.) Retirees can turn their crafting hobbies into income by selling their creations at local craft fairs, farmers’ markets, or through consignment in local shops. And for those with a bit of tech-savviness (or grandchildren willing to lend them a hand), the rise of online marketplaces like Etsy also provides a platform to reach a broader audience. This side hustle not only offers monetary gains but also the satisfaction of creating something beautiful and valued by others. It also presents an opportunity to be part of a community of crafters, sharing ideas and techniques, and perhaps even teaching crafting classes.
Who It’s Best For: Retirees who have a passion for creating and a skill in making handmade items. Patience, creativity, and attention to detail are key.
Earnings Potential: The time it takes to create crafts varies so widely, I won’t put an hourly estimate on it. But on average, crafters can earn between $100 and $1,000 per week, depending on the popularity and pricing of their products, as well as the frequency of sales opportunities.
13. Pet Sitting/Dog Walking
Pet sitting and dog walking services cater to animal lovers and offer a way to stay active while earning. This side hustle involves taking care of pets while their owners are away and can include feeding, walking, playing, and sometimes staying overnight at the client’s home. This can be a very flexible job in terms of hours and commitment. Dog walking, in particular, is great for physical activity and can be a pleasant way to spend time outdoors. This side hustle also offers the chance to build a clientele in your community, fostering relationships with both pets and their owners. Furthermore, it can often lead to repeat business and referrals, enhancing earning potential.
Who It’s Best For: Ideal for retirees who enjoy the companionship of animals and have the physical ability to handle pets of various sizes and temperaments.
Earnings Potential: The typical rate is about $10 to $20 per hour, though, if you can walk multiple dogs simultaneously, you have a chance for higher rates (for higher amounts of work!). Working 10 to 20 hours weekly, retirees can earn $100 to $400, with potential for more based on the number of clients and services offered.
Tutoring is among the best side hustle ideas for retirees who have a background in education or a strong grasp of specific subjects such as math, science, languages, or even music and art. It involves helping students understand subjects better, improve their grades, and develop study skills for themselves. This role can be particularly fulfilling as it allows retirees to share their knowledge and experience while making a difference in a young person’s life. There is always a demand for good tutors, making this a stable side hustle option.
Who It’s Best For: Retirees with expertise in specific academic or creative subjects and a passion for teaching.
Earnings Potential: Tutors can earn between $15 and $40 per hour, translating to $150 to $800 weekly for a 10- to 20-hour commitment. Rates can be higher for specialized subjects or advanced levels.
15. Personal Shopping and Errand Services
Personal shopping and errand services cater to individuals who need assistance with their day-to-day tasks. This can range from grocery shopping to picking up prescriptions and completing other miscellaneous errands. It’s an excellent way to stay socially engaged, as it often involves interacting with various people. Personal shoppers and errand runners play a crucial role in their clients’ lives, often building trusting and lasting relationships.
Who It’s Best For: People with attention to detail and an achiever mentality, meaning they like to accomplish things and get stuff done. It’s an ideal side hustle for retirees who like to stay active and enjoy helping others. This role also requires good organizational skills and a reliable mode of transportation.
Earnings Potential: Personal shoppers and errand runners can earn between $15 and $30 per hour, amounting to $150 to $600 weekly for a 10- to 20-hour commitment. Rates can be higher for specialized tasks or projects.
Photography as a side hustle allows retirees to capture and share the beauty of the world through their lens. This can range from portrait photography, event photography (like weddings or family gatherings), to selling artistic prints or stock photos online. Photography not only taps into creative skills but also encourages retirees to explore new environments, be it nature, urban settings, or social events.
Who It’s Best For: Retirees who have an eye for detail and a passion for capturing moments. Basic knowledge of photography and editing software is helpful.
Earnings Potential: Photographers can earn between $15 to $100 per hour, depending on their expertise and the nature of the work. For 10 to 20 hours per week, this translates to potential earnings of $150 to $2,000.
17. Language Translation
Language translation is an excellent side hustle for bilingual or multilingual retirees. It involves translating written documents, books, or even websites from one language to another. This field allows for a great deal of flexibility, as much of the work can be done remotely and on a freelance basis.
Who It’s Best For: Retirees who are fluent in more than one language, can convey tone and context accurately, and have good writing skills. It also helps to enjoy linguistic challenges and have a keen interest in different cultures and idioms.
Earnings Potential: Translators typically earn between $15 and $30 per hour. Working 10 to 20 hours a week, retirees can expect to earn $150 to $600.
18. Cooking or Baking Classes
Retirees with culinary skills can find joy and profit in teaching cooking or baking classes. These classes can be conducted in various settings: in their own home, at community centers, or even online. It’s a wonderful way to share culinary traditions, techniques, and recipes—not to mention good food and friendship. Beyond the cooking skills, this hustle allows retirees to engage with others, share stories, and create a communal experience around food. It’s particularly rewarding for those who enjoy teaching and social interaction.
Who It’s Best For: Retirees who are skilled in the kitchen and enjoy teaching and interacting with people.
Earnings Potential: Cooking instructors can charge $20 to $40 per hour. Therefore, working 10 to 20 hours a week can result in earnings of $200-$800.
19. Home Organizing
Home organizing involves helping clients declutter and organize their living spaces. This can range from rearranging a single room to organizing an entire home. It’s not just about tidying; it’s about creating systems that help people manage their spaces better. Home organizing can be deeply rewarding, as it often has a significant impact on clients’ daily lives.
Who It’s Best For: Retirees who enjoy transforming spaces into more functional and aesthetically pleasing areas (and in some cases, purging homes of unneeded stuff). It also helps to be detail-oriented and have good people skills.
Earnings Potential: Home organizers typically charge between $20 and $50 per hour, making it possible to earn $200-$1,000 per week for a 10- to 20-hour commitment.
20. Walmart Greeter
Being a Walmart greeter is a welcoming and social side hustle ideal for retirees who enjoy interacting with people. In this role, greeters are responsible for offering a warm welcome to customers as they enter the store, assisting with shopping carts, and sometimes guiding them to specific departments or store promotions. The job requires minimal physical exertion but offers the benefit of social interaction and engagement with a wide variety of people. Additionally, it provides a regular routine and a structured work environment, which can be comforting for those who prefer a consistent schedule.
Who It’s Best For: Sociable retirees who enjoy interacting with the public, possess a sunny disposition, and have good communication skills.
Earnings Potential: Walmart greeters typically earn around minimum wage, which can vary by state. Assuming an average of $10 to $15 per hour, working 10 to 20 hours per week could earn retirees $100 to $300.
21. Warehouse Store Receipt Checker
Major warehouse stores employ people to check receipts upon exiting the store. The rationale for having these positions is both to prevent theft and also to make sure you’re not being overcharged or undercharged. This position is an opportunity for retirees to remain engaged and thus provide a sense of structure and regularity in their schedule. While the job involves standing for extended periods, it can be quite rewarding for those who enjoy a role that combines customer service with a sense of responsibility.
Who It’s Best For: Suitable for retirees who are detail-oriented, enjoy customer interaction, and don’t mind standing for their shift.
Earnings Potential: Receipt checkers typically earn around minimum wage or slightly above, depending on the location and store. With an average earning of $10 to $15 per hour, working 10 to 20 hours per week, retirees can expect to make $100 to $300. Also of note, these roles might require more than 10 to-20 hours per week of your time and have much less flexibility than other opportunities listed.
FAQs About Retiree Side Hustles
Can you collect Social Security if you have a side hustle?
Yes, you can collect Social Security even if you have a side hustle, so if you want to pad your retirement savings, have at it. But there are a couple asterisks to be aware of.
Once you reach full retirement age (which you can calculate here), you can earn as much as you want while still collecting full retirement benefits.
However, if you are younger than full retirement age, the Social Security Administration will deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit, which in 2024 is $22,320. Also, in the year you reach full retirement age, they’ll deduct in benefits for every you earn above a different limit—$59,520—and that only applies to earnings made before the month when you reach full retirement age.