Last week, we looked at five things to do in retirement, ranging from telling your life story to creating an online business. They’re steps you can take at any point — even during a crisis.
For our own physical and mental wellbeing, it’s important to use this time of isolation and uncertainty positively. Dwelling on what can’t be done can be draining, and can undermine our confidence now and in the longer term.
Take a few minutes to reflect on each of these possibilities. Which excites you? Which can you see yourself getting out of bed for each morning and really looking forward to achieving?
In all the current chaos, take some time to find your happy place.
1. Create a Retirement Income by Going Back to Work!
You’re preparing for retirement, or you’ve already left work. Why would you want to go back?
Think about your level of knowledge — all those years of experience and accumulated skills.
For your company and the people you serve, your retirement is a loss. For you, it may feel like a dismissal — a form of loss. What to do with all that expertise? Will it just be lost forever?
Not if you go back to work…
It’s not for everyone. The last thing I wanted to do when I retired from a stressful job was more of the same. If that’s you, skip this section and move on.
For my dad, on the other hand, his work was his life and his love. He retired at the top of his profession at the age of 76, and then offered his services (for free) as a mentor for young lawyers.
Does that sound like you? Not serving others for free in the long term, necessarily, but helping others using the skills you already have.
For the present: This works particularly well for those in service sectors. What knowledge do you have that you could offer to others? Even in times of social isolation, could you provide telephone or video consultations, helping younger members of your profession become established?
Or perhaps giving “a day in the life of…” video talks to groups? Schools are looking for ways to continue informing pupils while they’re at home. So call and ask. The worst they can say is “no thanks”!
In the medium term: Many people negotiate with their company before retirement to return post-retirement, generally on a part-time or consulting basis. It’s a valuable source of income if you have to retire on little money. Would that appeal to you, once life gets “back to normal”?
Retirement ideas in the future: Or, if you’ve become used to staying at home during a time of crisis and you really don’t want to re-join the local commute, consider sharing your knowledge and expertise even more widely.
Use your knowledge. Share it globally, on an informational website.
Can giving information really make money? Indeed it can. Take a look at how Elizabeth O’Brien took her love for and knowledge of language and created a successful business, through her website, English Grammar Revolution.
2. Love Animals? Make Your Pet Your Retirement Hobby!
From a very young age, I wanted to be a veterinarian, but it wasn’t to be. So when I retired, I tried to think of ways I could use my love of animals — dogs especially — and turn it into a profitable retirement business.
There are many opportunities in this field.
For the present: Walking dogs at a local shelter won’t be possible if you’re in an area that’s locked down. But if you’re still allowed even limited exercise, why not offer to walk dogs, or care for other animals, for local people who aren’t able to get out right now?
Who do you know who has a pooch who needs a good walk but whose owner is in self-isolation? A quick telephone call or email, or a note pushed through a door arranging a time convenient to you both, means personal contact can be avoided.
Or perhaps your neighbor has chickens but is confined to bed and unable to feed them. It’s not a hard job — and a potential bonus could be some delicious, nutritious fresh eggs!
In the medium term: Once restrictions are lifted, and if you have enough financially to see you through retirement and have time available, why not turn your passion into a retirement hobby, and volunteer at a local rescue center or animal shelter?
Think wider than dogs and cats. Donkey and horse sanctuaries, battery farm chicken rescues, conservation centers both at home and abroad are always looking for help.
You may not be able to go right now, but why not use available time to start your research? See what’s out there — there’s a big world waiting!
Retirement ideas in the future: Think longer term. Could you use the information you learn online to start a small, local business for some extra income? Take on a limited number of dogs to walk each day. Or go the whole way and offer a pet-sitting service. When everyone goes back to work, pets are going to find it very strange not to have company all day.
Could that “company” be you?
I did this very thing — it was profitable, and I loved it. (I also once ended up with a house full of fleas. Be careful whose pets you accept!)
How to advertise your services? Take it online. A website detailing your authority and expertise, aimed at a local audience, will soon have business rolling in — as Melissa Makris did.
Alternatively, if you’re already knowledgeable about a particular breed of dog, cat or horse, why not share that information with the world and create an income at the same time?
Take a look at how Anton Hout turned his knowledge of Australian Shepherds into an income when he lost his job.
3. Cook Your Way to Success!
Grocery stores are beginning to restock after the first round of panic buying. But families are doing something many of them have not done for generations: they’re cooking together, and loving it.
And they’re looking for recipes. How can you add your ingredients to this mix?
For the present: Where are those recipes handed down from your parents or grandparents? Or perhaps you have your own. They’ll likely be made from fresh, healthful ingredients.
Dig them out! If they’re hard to read, spend some time copying them into a notebook. Perhaps you remember stories that go along with them — write them down!
And then, share with your family. You’ll be leaving a very special legacy.
In the medium term: How about some online cooking lessons with your family? If you’re not able to go out, be creative! Ask your children (or more likely, grandchildren!) to set up an online video call. Send them the ingredients list and cook together, following your lead.
It’s fun, and it’s a way to teach healthy eating.
Retirement ideas in the future: By now, you’ll know what I’m going to say. Turn your knowledge into a successful website. Yes, even (especially) cooking.
Gerhild Fulson has done exactly that. She takes ideas passed down from her German roots, and has become affectionately known to millions as “Oma.” She uses the profit from her cooking website to fund a not-for-profit blog.
See how she does it.
4. Declutter Your House!
Am I seriously telling you that decluttering your home can lead to a successful business?
You have time on your hands right now. So do many other people. Use it to good effect — tackle all those jobs you’ve been meaning to get round to for months (maybe years!).
Kids getting you down with the clutter in their rooms? Now’s your chance to make an impact with them, too!
For the present: You’re likely at home right now. Stop. Take a look around. What do you see? If the answer is “clutter,” this is a great opportunity!
With chaos in the world outside, it’s important to have a safe space you can use as a place of tranquility and calm. It’s irrelevant whether it’s a studio apartment or a ten bedroom mansion.
Perhaps start with one closet. Clear it. Set to one side all those items you kept because one day you’ll lose all those extra pounds. Take it from me — it probably will never happen (unless you’re much more strong-willed than I am!).
Buy storage boxes online. Store everything that can be stored.
And keep going, until your entire house is cleared and your family are complaining they can’t find anything any more!
In the medium term: Do something good with all that spare clutter you no longer need. Take it to a charity shop. Recycle it.
Then, think about who else you could help. Do you have family whose house needs a good clear out but they don’t have the time?
Retirement ideas in the future: You might be surprised at just how successful a business clearing clutter can be.
It’s not only the mega-stars like Marie Kondo who make it big. Taylor Flanery is a mom of four children and was a successful attorney — until she discovered she could use her skills of organization to build a work-from-home website.
Read Taylor’s story. And, as you do, think about whether your strategies for home management would work for others, too.
5. Dream Your Retirement Passion
Find freedom through hobbies that make money!
What gives you real pleasure? What do you love to do in your spare time? Now that you have more spare time, why not do more of it?
For example, if you love taking pictures, why not consider getting a photography business started?
Whether it’s photography, woodworking, quilting, embroidery, painting, playing an instrument…
Hobbies are food for the soul and help to prevent boredom in retirement. Even if it’s something you’ve not done for years — now’s the ideal time to eat your fill!
For the present: Hunt out whatever materials you need. If you don’t have a ready supply, order online. And then — just do it!
If you’re a bit rusty, hunt online for courses. YouTube is excellent for free advice about any number of hobbies. Coursera has world-class courses online, some free, others at reasonable prices.
That’s where I gained my qualification in poultry welfare for my backyard chickens website (yes, there are courses about everything!).
In the medium term: I’ve been invited to do an online Master’s in Applied Poultry Science later this year by the course providers. Once I have that, I have the necessary official credentials to run courses of my own.
What authority can you build up in the hobby of your choice? Perhaps you already have qualifications. If not, consider getting some. It’s an excellent way of finding motivation where you may have had little.
Then, use your knowledge. Offer online courses. Talk to your local college about tutoring. Speak to your local Chamber of Commerce about giving some talks. Who knows what doors may open?
Retirement ideas in the future: Share your passion. Look forward every day to doing something you truly love — without ever leaving the comfort of your home. Know that, as you build a website, you’re building bridges to inspire others.
Darren Priest has a passion for car detailing. He went from a complete novice to a massive influencer in his niche just by sharing that passion with honesty and humor.
Be like Darren. Find your passion.
Ten Things to Do in Retirement. Which Will You Choose?
This week and last, we looked at ten retirement ideas for life now and over the next weeks and months, as preparation for a financially secure retirement.
Building an online business doesn’t only give you a retirement income — although it certainly can do that.
It can give you a place to go. People who rely on your knowledge, both those you know and those you’re yet to meet. It helps you maintain a schedule, have a purpose. And you learn new things, develop your own potential.
All these are activities that are proven to keep you healthy and happy.
With the right tools, success is not a pipedream. You’ve seen real, live examples of it in the stories we’ve shared in these articles. And there are lots more examples where they came from.
If they can do it, and I can do it, so can you.
Here’s where the doors can open for you. Take advantage of our free, five-step course on starting your own retirement business online.
It’s never too soon to dream. And it’s never too late to start.