The pandemic inspired economic shutdowns have had a demonstrably negative impact on the economy. The Department of Commerce’s U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) issued its first preliminary estimate of second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and it was devastating.
While a “second” estimate will be released later this month, the BEA announced the Real GDP decreased at an annual rate of 32.9%. It attributed the decline in second quarter GDP to “the response to COVID-19, as ‘stay-at-home’ orders issued in March and April were partially lifted in some areas of the country in May and June, and government pandemic assistance payments were distributed to households and businesses.”
This hasn’t gone unnoticed by retirees. A recent survey indicates a change in attitudes.
The SimplyWise July 2020 Retirement Confidence Index reveals the following:
- 72% of Americans now plan to work in retirement. (Up from 67% in May.)
- 1 in 5 Americans in their 60s have been laid off/furloughed due to COVID-19.
- 37% of Americans believe they will not have enough money set aside to ever retire.
The bottom-line, according to Sandra Hurley, Operations Manager at Hayden Girls in Los Angeles: “Unless you’ve done extremely well for yourself, you can probably always use a little extra income for those extra expenses. Whether it’s a vacation, a nicer car, or a club membership, it helps to earn some cash.”
Of course, there may be more reasons than just making ends meet that might entice you to seek a side hustle in retirement.
“Retirees might want, and need to earn supplemental income in retirement for personal satisfaction such as staying engaged, having a purpose, and contributing to society,” says Capitola, California based Martha Shedden, President and Co-Founder of the National Association of Registered Social Security Analysts. “They might have the desire to help their grown children financially, pay for grandchildren’s education, travel, make home improvements, or just cover basic living costs. Many retirees are not done working when they retire from a full-time job, but are simply interested in a more flexible schedule and an opportunity to do something meaningful in these years.”
By and large, however, the primary objective of a part-time job in retirement is to add a little more cash to the coffers. For one thing, it can make up for the lack of revenue from fixed income investments. Indeed, this might be needed not for luxuries, but for essentials.
“The newly and nearly retired suddenly have to make up some financial ground,” says Charlotte-based author of The Career Lattice Joanne Cleaver. “In a low-interest-rate environment, with unprecedented economic volatility, launching a side gig can provide a potential safety net for the loss of a full-time job, or can supplement income early in retirement. This extra income can offset market losses; plump up an emergency fund to better weather future economic shocks; pay for long-term health care insurance or stoke savings for health care expenses; or pay for home improvements that support aging in place.”
Even if you feel secure in retirement, you shouldn’t take anything for granted. “With the unpredictable political and economic environment, everyone should be planning for a more stable financial future,” says Lindsey Wander, Founder and CEO of WorldWise Tutoring LLC in Chicago. “Retirees could supplement their retirement income with money earned doing something fun and rewarding. Plus, when ‘you rest, you rust;’ keeping an active mind slows down aging.”
What can be more rewarding than passing on your years of cumulative experience, especially if it earns some income to pay those never-ending bills? And the Covid-19 shutdown may have provided just the opportunity you need to use your lifetime skills to help others.
Patti B. Black, Partner at Bridgeworth Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama, says, “Health insurance before Medicare begins is expensive! If you find a part-time job, like helping with homeschooling, that helps offset that cost, it can significantly help boost your chances of a financially successful retirement.”
What has your local school district decided to do regarding opening in the fall? Many school districts have already determined they will, at the very minimum, opt for a hybrid if not a fully remote-based teaching model for the coming fall. You may just find your services can bring home those extra dollars.
“One major change that COVID-19 has brought is an increased focus in online learning,” says Ryan Shuchman, Partner of Cornerstone Financial Services in Southfield, Michigan. “Retirees can consider reaching back to their professional expertise and perhaps teach or tutor in a virtual environment.”
Here’s the real advantage of this new educational paradigm: you don’t need to leave the safety of your home to deliver the service. That works both ways—for you and the student.
“With the heightened awareness of school remote learning situations, retirees could help teach kids as a part time opportunity,” says Brian Halbert, Retirement Advisor at WD Pensionmark in Austin, Texas. “Many families will be keeping kids remote this fall, and while working from home, this might be a good opportunity for many retirees to step in as a house-teacher to back up parents. Or, another opportunity is to provide runner services for families who have to teach, work and parent throughout the day.”
Sophisticated school districts will immediately seize this chance to involve the broader community into its curriculum. This is no different than bringing in paraprofessionals or consultants to teach students a very specific lesson. Depending on district policies, these might be limited to volunteers, but they might pay for these services. Beyond public school districts, home schoolers and private schools may be easier markets to enter. In either case, the wind is at your sails.
“As more home-based and online education becomes a reality, skilled tutors, mentors and guides who can provide individualized attention will be crucial to keeping students engaged,” says Mark Silverman, CEO of AMAVA in Menlo Park, California. “With so much professional and life experience and the desire to remain socially engaged and continue earning, retirees can play an important role.”
In fact, it might be better if you avoid getting caught up in public school curriculum rubric’s and focus instead on your specific experiences. These life lessons that you’ve learned can be adopted for younger students in ways that may help take them further than the traditional three R’s.
And it’s not like you have to learn “how to teach,” either. You already have the talents necessary to teach. You actually used them already in your career. And you won’t believe the demand that exists for your unique talents.
“Parents definitely are looking for extra help,” says Cleaver. “And, people who understand how career skills transfer to the current situation can find some nifty applications of career experience to education.”
Cleaver offers this specific example of something you can do, something you may have already done: “One person I worked with in a recent workshop has carved out a specialty of sing-alongs of classic songs. Historically, he has done these at senior centers but it’s easy to use Facebook Live for virtual sing-alongs that also illustrate musical principles. Another workshop participant translated experience at a wholesale plant nursery to a ‘yard to table’ consulting service that showed homeowners how to design a garden that fit their nutritional goals. That’s another concept that can be handled online using photos and online resources to pull together a design and timeline.”
If this whole teaching thing is new to you, or if the idea of setting up a side business is something that you’ve never done before, you might prefer to start at the easiest level. Beyond that, though, especially if you find yourself motivated, the current chaos has opened a whole world to you.
“Tutoring and grading jobs are one option, but savvy retirees would want to look into the online learning consultant position,” says Shayne Sherman, CEO of TechLoris, in Brookline, Massachusetts. “Most schools and universities have people on-campus who are available to explain programs, degrees, financing, school history, and other important concepts to students and parents alike. In a time of confusion this type of role is more important than ever, and schools are willing to hire remote workers to help with these duties.”
Look, you’re retired. It’s not like you have too little time on your hands. You have the luxury of working at your own pace. Hurley says, “Because you’re no longer working full-time, you, like other retirees, have all the time in the world to really take care of preparing lessons, working with the students to make sure they understand, and generally just pay extra attention to education.”
Think about it. Pandemic headlines make it sound like we’re becoming isolated. Some are pushing against this. You could leverage the situation to explore new personal frontiers and bring people closer together.
“With so much free time that can’t be spent on much else, this is one of the many positive things you can do to contribute and be recognized for it,” says Allan Borch the Founder of Dotcom Dollar in Sheridan, Wyoming. “One of the things you can provide to the home-based educational model is your attention and free time coupled with the experiences you’ve had along the line.”
You may be living in a perfect coincidence of circumstances. You may think your career is over, but it may be that your true calling has appeared before you.
“Retirement can lead to a lack of purpose whereas continuing to work (assuming you enjoy what you do) can be fulfilling,” says Black. “If you enjoy working with kids, helping homeschool may make your days more meaningful.”
Everything is aligned for you to be the difference you’ve always wanted to be. You can make your retirement more comfortable and, at the same time, give a boost to the next generation.
Is there no better legacy than that?