Planning for your retirement can often mean making careful financial decisions. But if redundancy brings the prospect of retirement sooner than planned, or your pension doesn’t stretch as far as you would like it to, here are a few ideas to make some extra money.

Turn a hobby into extra income

When redundancy came knocking at the age of 58, photographer Hattie was determined not to take her pension early, because it would mean a 35% cut in her entitlement.

“But I also knew I wouldn’t be able to survive on a freelance photographer’s income and would need something to bridge the gap,” she says.

She found it running Walkingtalks – themed walks around her home town of Bournemouth, in which she reveals fascinating snippets of the area’s social and modern history. “I didn’t set out to earn a living from Walkingtalks, but I wanted to make money in a sociable and interesting way,” she says.

Finding a niche

After spotting a gap in the market, Hattie started her research and launched her website and a Facebook page. She asked friendly local hotels and cafés if she could start her walks from their premises. “It was mutually beneficial, because many of the walkers would stop for lunch or coffee on their return,” she says.

Now (social distancing rules permitting) she leads group walks. The participants are keen to discover the dark side of the East Cliff – an area of Bournemouth where a notorious murder took place – or want to learn more about the town’s artistic, literary and wartime heritage.

Her start-up costs included increasing her Public Liability Insurance, which she already had for her photography work, and producing some good-quality leaflets, because “people pin them up or display them in their office – and that helps with publicity”, she says. Her income from walks and spin-off illustrated talks is about £4,000 a year. “I do have my pension now, but I enjoy Walkingtalks so much, I’ve carried on.”

  1. Rent out your parking space. If you have driveway space near a sports stadium or a train station, or live in an area with restricted parking, you could be making an additional income if you are willing to make your driveway available for people to park. How much can be made? In some parts of London, it’s claimed an owner could make up to £200 a month by renting out their parking space. Terms, commission and conditions vary across the UK – and across the various websites offering this service. Make sure that you’re happy with the details, and carry out checks based on your personal circumstances, such as any planning, safety or mortgage restrictions.
  2. Gardening (and all things green). If you’re naturally green-fingered you could offer your gardening services, perhaps to an elderly or busy neighbour who is struggling with garden maintenance. Or why not think about selling your own plants, seedlings and home-grown fruit and vegetables? Next time you’re planting tomato, pepper or herb seeds, for example, plant a few extra and then sell the seedlings on for a profit.
  3. Private tutoring. Do you enjoy teaching? With the right qualifications you could offer your skills as a tutor. It’s a rewarding and flexible way to share your knowledge. According to the website MyTutor, you could earn anything from £10-£20 an hour for tutoring online, helping children catch up on learning they may have missed through lockdown, or supporting an older child to get the grade they need for college or university.
  4. Learn a new skill. It’s never too late to learn a new trade or perhaps turn an interest into an income. There are a number of opportunities available where, with the right qualification, you can work part time. Training to be a childminder, driving instructor, teaching assistant or carer are a few ideas. Rest Less is an online community for the over-50s and they offer some more suggestions.
  5. Dog walking. Love dogs? Love walking? Combine the two and you could net up to £17 an hour, according to some dog-walking websites. Whether you’re launching a full-blown service or just walking a neighbour’s pooch every morning, you should make sure that you have liability insurance.
  6. Share your expertise. Fluent in French, superb at sewing or handy at fixing things? Consider offering your skills to people who don’t have the time, knowledge or patience to do what you enjoy. There are a number of places you can advertise – including local shops and newspapers – and selling online is simple with websites such as Facebook or Nextdoor. You can also offer virtual lessons and socially distanced drop-offs for now, too. 
  7. Earn money answering surveys. Like the thought of earning money while sitting at home on your sofa? There are several market research websites like YouGov and Opinium looking for people to take part in their online surveys, and many will compensate you for your feedback. Topics are varied, and your opinions can go on to shape the decisions of government, charities and brands.
  8. Airbnb hosting and experiences. You can rent out a room in your house through Airbnb (income from rentals is tax-free up to £7,500 per year, under the government’s Rent a Room Scheme) – but did you know you could also make money from hosting an Airbnb Experience? If you have an interesting skill or some unique knowledge to share, do it from the comfort of your own home and your guests can join you online, from anywhere in the world. Airbnb will provide you with resources and support to help you get started, and you can meet other hosts who run their own unusual Experiences from their living rooms. Visit airbnb.co.uk/experiences for more information. You’ll have to go through a quality-checking process and there are other stipulations, too, but activities displayed on the site cost anything from £19 per person for a cocktail masterclass to a photoshoot from £40 per person.
  9. Working at an animal shelter. If you love spending time with animals and don’t mind getting your hands dirty while enjoying some fresh air, working at an animal shelter could be the perfect role for you. While many people volunteer at rehoming centres, there are paid opportunities available for these fulfilling roles. Search online for your local animal shelters, and give them a call or drop them an email to enquire about any vacancies they may have. 
  10. Lift sharing. Although sharing your car can’t happen at the moment, if you usually commute by car or make a regular motor journey, you may be able to cut your costs – and carbon footprint – by joining a ride-sharing app and offering a seat in your vehicle to a like-minded passenger. The Liftshare.com app has 600,000 members, and its site claims that a typical member saves on average £1,000 a year. As with all services, especially ones involving people you don’t know, you’ll need to check every aspect to be sure that the situation as described is right for you.

Don't forget 

The key with any of these opportunities is to do your research before embarking on a new venture. Take professional advice when looking into the legal, tax, insurance and safety implications of any service you intend to offer.

It’s vital that you’re aware of any implications involving Covid-19 restrictions and compliancy issues that may affect your service. Services involving rentals or differing uses of land or property may need checks with landlords, mortgage providers or insurers, and other organisations not listed here. According to the HMRC website, you can get up to £1,000 a year in tax-free allowances for property or trading income, but it’s your responsibility to check anything you’re planning to do with HMRC, to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.

There are so many different ways to make some extra money in retirement, and the internet has opened up business opportunities, with websites to offer out a spare room or space on your driveway. Do some research and see what might suit your needs.

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