Wednesday, March 7, 2018

6 Strategies for Diversifying Your Income Streams to Save for Retirement

Are you worried that you have not saved enough money for retirement? You are not alone. Many people aged 50 and older have this concern. Many seek ways to diversify their income sources so they can save or invest more money leading up to retirement.

Strategies to Diversity Income

Diverse income streams offer more security leading up to and during retirement. By combining multiple income sources, you have other options if one stream doesn't prove as lucrative as expected. Here are a few common and uncommon options people over 50 use to diversify or supplement their income.

1. Investments

During retirement, many people live partially off their savings or investments in the form of retirement account payment and pensions. 

If you have money invested in growth stocks, this might be the time to see a financial planner to rebalance some of those assets to dividend earning stocks, bonds and dividend earning REIT investments.

2. Rental Property

If you own a home or real estate, rental income can be an excellent way to diversify your income. Options range from renting your extra house, an apartment within your house, or even a room in your home. 

Many people over 50 enjoy a nice side income with short-term rentals through Airbnb, HomeStay and TurnKey. This may be a perfect option if you are a natural host or hostess. 

Finally, some college and university programs hire local hosts to rent a room to visiting international students and scholars. 

Often this pays a modest stipend, but this can be a fun way to earn extra cash if you are an empty-nester who likes spending time with teens and young adults. Check local colleges and universities for listings.

3. Part-time Job

Many retirees opt to take a casual part-time job to supplement their pension and retirement earnings. But you don't have to wait for retirement. In fact, some mid-career workers take a second job to add to their retirement savings and investments.

Local listings are an option, or you may be able to find convenient work you can do at home. For example many companies like Amazon and American Express hire work-from-home customer service representatives. 

Other options include transcription, virtual assistant work and social media evaluation. You can find options through job sites like FlexJobs and Indeed. 

Be careful of work-from-home scams that con people out of money or sensitive financial information. See whether the company is legitimate by researching the Better Business Bureau or Glassdoor.

4. Embrace the Mainstream Gig Economy

Take a cue from the Millennials and consider joining the gig economy with a side hustle. According to the Pew Research Center, 16 percent of people between 18 and 29 participate in the gig economy compared to 6 percent of people over 50. 

However, people who are 50+ are among the fastest growing segments of gig workers. Options include:
  • Driving for rideshare programs like Uber and Lyft
  • Running errands through platforms like TaskRabbit or Postmates
  • Providing pet care or dog walking services like Wag, DogVacay, or Rover
  • Crowdsourcing microtasks like Amazon's MTurk

Teaching conversational English via webcam for programs like VIPKids or Cambly.

5. Start Your Own Business

Most likely, you have extensive experience and expertise to offer.This may be a good time to start your own business even for side income. 

Self-employment is growing at record rates. You may be able to put your expertise to work whether you offer a product or a service like consulting.

6. Flipping Used Items

If you enjoy buying and selling, you may earn money flipping used items. These may include your own unwanted items, rare books, vinyl records, collectibles or clothing. 

Resourceful flippers earn money by combing thrift shops, Craigslist and flea markets for inexpensive local items. Then you may clean or upgrade the item and sell it online for a higher price at places like Amazon or eBay.

Keeping it All Organized

A smartphone with split-screen multi-window ability like the LG V20 can help keep all these revenue streams organized. Most income streams have associated apps, and a good phone with a generous data plan makes it much easier to manage.

If you are not used to self-employment, be aware that the taxes can be a little more complicated. Be sure to visit the IRS page for sharing and gig economy workers.

With a little creativity, you can diversify your income for a more comfortable retirement. You just may be able to have fun and meet new people by monetizing a hobby. 

Who knows? You might find that your side hustle leads to a lucrative business.


Dan Cormac knows how to make his money go further. A freelance financial journalist, Dan is passionate about personal finance. Whether you hope to escape the chains of debt, to save for a house, or to retire within a decade, Dan explores the most effective ways you can achieve your financial goals.

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