You’ve said goodbye to your 9-5 and are enjoying retirement — the ultimate “you’ve earned this” moment.

But bills and other financial obligations don’t punch a time clock. They keep coming while your retirement income stays fixed.

Side hustles can be a great way to supplement your income without going back to work full-time. Getting a side gig in retirement puts you in good company: About a quarter — 24 percent — of baby boomers (ages 59 to 77) said they have a side hustle, according to a 2023 Bankrate survey.

5 best side hustles for retirees

Maybe you retired early and your Social Security check isn’t cutting it anymore. Maybe you need to help your adult kids, support grandchildren through college or make home repairs. Life can get more expensive, not less, during retirement.

Whatever your motivation, a side hustle can be the perfect way to make the most of your golden years, offering both financial perks and a sense of purpose.

Plus, most of the time you already have all the skills and resources you need — it’s just about learning how to monetize it.

Here are five of the best side hustles for retirees to get you earning extra money.

1. Rent out a space you already have

If you’re an empty nester or haven’t made the jump to downsizing yet, you probably have a spare room at your house. Renting out the room on a short-term basis through a site like AirBnB can be a great way to earn passive income.

Or, if you’re not comfortable mingling with a weekend guest, you could rent out your entire home when you’re out of town and make even more money.

To get the most rental income possible, you’ll want to read up on tips and advice from current hosts. There are many articles and YouTube videos on how to improve your listing, take better photos and get more bookings.

Keep in mind there are local and state restrictions on AirBnBs, so make sure you’re familiar with the laws in your area.

More traditional long-term rentals are another option that can offer more predictability, but you’ll be forced to lock in a rental rate for a longer period.

2. Provide child care

If you love children, providing much-needed child care to busy families can be a great way to bring in extra cash. and Sittercity are some of the more well-known services where child care workers can upload a profile with their credentials and experience to find babysitting gigs and nanny jobs.

Another site, Rent A Grandma, got its start as a failed Shark Tank pitch back in 2012, but went on to become a successful nationwide service. It connects families with older women who provide household services like child care, tutoring, home-cooked meals and pet sitting.

3. Substitute teacher or tutor

Have a passion for education or learning? Substitute teachers are in high demand across the country, and this side gig comes with few prerequisites and a flexible work schedule.

Requirements for becoming a substitute teacher are modest at most school districts. You generally only need a bachelor’s degree to get started, and no prior teaching experience required.

The pay isn’t bad either, especially for a side gig. Substitute teachers make an average of about $20 an hour, or roughly $42,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you have an advanced degree, you might be able to work part-time as an adjunct instructor at a community college and boost your earnings even more.

Or would you rather work one-on-one with students? Like subs, tutors are also in high demand. There are dozens of tutoring companies out there, like or Skooli, that can match you with work so you won’t need to market yourself to find new clients.

4. Sell things you already own

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, especially when it comes to online selling.

Well-known online marketplaces like Facebook, eBay, Etsy and OfferUp can be goldmines if you’re looking to unload some unwanted things around the house.

Whether it’s furniture, old paintings, vintage clothes, classic cookery or jewelry, you can sell some of the stuff you no longer use for more money than you think.

To get the most money for your items, try some of these tips:

  • Take high quality photos of the item in natural light from multiple angles: Consider creating a dedicated “staging area” in your home so you can take photos of multiple items at once.
  • Write useful descriptions: Make sure your posting contains keywords people are likely searching for. Be as descriptive as possible, and try to answer questions buyers are likely to ask — it’ll save you time.
  • Price competitively: Browse other listings similar to your item to get an idea of the going rate. Pay attention to the condition — if your item is newer or nicer than others listed online, you might be able to set a higher price. Or if similar items have been listed for a long time, you could undercut them slightly and make a quicker sale.
  • Be flexible: Some people might offer to pay you a little extra if you can deliver the item to their home. Being flexible with availability and meetup locations can really pay off. Be willing to haggle on the price, too.

5. Drive for Lyft or Uber

If you’re a good driver with a reliable car, there are a slew of driving jobs out there. Driving for Lyft or Uber — the two largest rideshare apps in the country — is one way to earn extra money on a flexible schedule.

You earn money based on how many rides you take, and you’ll get paid each week (or more often, if you choose) through direct deposit.

You also get to choose when and how often you work. Don’t like driving at night? Then don’t! You don’t necessarily even need to drive other people around — you could sign up for Uber Eats or DoorDash and deliver food to customers instead of driving them around.

If you really love the idea of being your own boss and you don’t mind hustling, consider becoming an independent driver who builds their own client base. By passing out business cards at hotels, airports and local attractions, you could potentially work fewer hours and still earn more money since rideshare companies take 20 to 25 percent of your earnings.

Leverage your own talents

One of the best ways to make money on the side is to leverage the skills you mastered during your career. Whether you were a nurse, an accountant, a graphic designer or a paralegal, you can find ways to monetize your talents after leaving your full-time job behind.

There are plenty of opportunities to make money from your skills online, thanks to gig communities like Flexjobs, Upwork and PeoplePerHour that make it easier than ever to browse available work, schedule your availability and get paid.

Even traditional job search sites like Indeed have job listings for contract work.

Virtually any skill can be transferred to the online marketplace. Some users of these platforms hire people to be their administrative assistants for a couple of months or turn to people with consulting experience to advise on a few projects.

Use what you’re already familiar with to bring in extra cash.

Don’t forget about taxes

As with any source of income, taxes will need to be paid. According to the IRS, you must file a tax return if you have yearly net earnings from self-employment or “gig” work (your side hustle) of $400 or more. If you’re age 65 or older and earning W-2 wages, you can earn up to $14,700 a year without filing a federal tax return.

If you earn money from side hustles as an independent contractor, you might also need to pay quarterly estimated taxes. This means you’ll need to withhold tax from your paycheck on your own since your employer doesn’t do it for you.

How a side hustle impacts your Social Security

If you’re already started collecting Social Security, pay close attention to how much you earn from your side hustle.

Yes, you can collect Social Security and work at the same time. However, there’s a limit to how much money you can make depending on your age.

Rules from the Social Security Administration get a little complicated, but here’s an overview:

  • If you’re at your “full retirement age,” (age 67 and older for people born after 1960) you can collect and keep your full Social Security check and make as much money as you want.
  • If you haven’t hit your full retirement age, you can make up to $21,240 a year without penalty. That’s $1,770 a month, or about $440 a week.

To be clear, you can earn more than $21,240 a year and still receive Social Security, but your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn above the annual limit.

Once you hit your full retirement age, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will recalculate your benefit and give you credit for the months they reduced or withheld any of your benefits.

Something else to consider: You might owe taxes on a portion of your Social Security benefits if your income exceeds certain limits.

For tax purposes, the Social Security Administration considers what’s known as your “combined income,” which can’t exceed $25,000 as a single filer or $32,000 for a married couple filing jointly.

The SSA calculates your combined income as: 

Your adjusted gross income (AGI) + Nontaxable interest + ½ of your Social Security benefits = Your combined income

However, the IRS won’t tax your entire Social Security income, even if you exceed those thresholds. Instead:

50 percent of your Social Security benefits are taxable if:

Half of your benefits + AGI + nontaxable interest = $25,000 to $34,000 for single filers or $32,000 to $44,000 for married couples filing jointly.

85 percent of your Social Security benefits are taxable if:

Half of your benefits + AGI + nontaxable interest = $34,000 and up for individuals or $44,000 and up for married couples filing jointly

Keep these rules surrounding Social Security in mind if you work a side hustle in retirement. After taxes and a reduction in your Social Security benefits, your overall income may not be as high as you initially thought.

Bottom line

Retirement isn’t the end of the road, it’s a fresh start filled with possibilities. A side hustle can be your ticket to staying active, financially secure and socially connected. By leveraging skills you acquired throughout your career and exploring your options, you can bring in extra money to help make your golden years truly shine.