After getting to retirement, maybe it’s time to turn around and head back.

Indeed, millions of American retirees have reversed course. Fearful of Social Security cutbacks, they are working or finding new income sources.

Grandpa Wants the Same as the Rest of Us

They are going after something many other American workers seek: better income.

Indeed, more than half of elderly workers recently surveyed said the main reason they work is “wanting the income,” according to the study “A Precarious Existence: How Today’s Retirees Are Financial Faring in Retirement,” by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS). It found “retirees are getting by financially at least for the time being.”

However, some said they went back to work because they are now at the risk of “outliving their savings.”

In another study, AARP’s Value of Experience Survey, which polled respondents age 45 and over, some 13 percent said they’re retired but are seeking work.

Show Me the Money

Securing their finances—“need the money” and “save more for retirement” —are the most common reasons for working, the survey said.

That is understandable. The average monthly Social Security payment is $1,420, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Many are highly dependent on these skimpy payments.
“Social Security provides the majority of income to most elderly Americans. For about half of seniors, it provides at least 50 percent of their income, and for about 1 in 5 seniors, it provides at least 90 percent of income,” according to the SSA.

The TCRS study also found that the next generation of retirees will be the same.

“Sixty-six percent of retirees indicate that Social Security will be their primary source of income over the course of their retirement.” And this comes at a time when Social Security trustees are projecting more cutbacks unless Congress make changes.

It’s More than Just the Money

The AARP study found retirees work is fulfilling as a common reason for going back to work.

So what are the ways that the “retired” can ease out of retirement and earn some extra income? Get organized, an AARP official says.

“The first step in finding a job is to network. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for work, since you never know if an employer is looking to hire someone with your skill set,” according to Susan Weinstock, vice president, financial resilience program.

Another path to getting back into the workforce, she says, is volunteering. It can sometimes lead to a full-time job. The AARP will provide a free critique of your resume at Resume Advisor:

Money Talk News, in a recent column, lists some ways the average retiree can work or earn extra income from an investment.

1) Rent out a room

Maybe your child has moved out; consider turning that empty room into extra income.

2) Make money on apps

The Ibotta app can help earn cash rebates on purchases from retailers, restaurants of movie theaters. One can also use it for online cash-portals such as Ebates, TopCashback or Swagbucks Shop.

3) Rent out something else

Possibly you have a ladder, boat, or a power tool. Today, there are more opportunities to rent. These sites include, Turo for cars, RVshare, for recreational vehicles, Boatsetter, for boats, and Zilok, for almost anything.

4) Make money in photography

Did you just take a great photo on your smart phone? Try to sell it. An app such as Foap could help you sell it. Foap can be accessed via the Android and Apple devices.

5) Create an online course

If you’ve got useful info, why not make money on it? Sites like Teachable and Thinkific help build a course that could change someone’s life, either professionally or personally.


Gregory Bresiger
Gregory Bresiger

Gregory Bresiger is an independent financial journalist from Queens, New York. His articles have appeared in publications such as Financial Planner Magazine and The New York Post.