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These gig jobs could boost your bottom line in retirement

  • A growing gig economy is leading some baby boomers to find extra work in retirement in surprising places.
  • Contract jobs provide the opportunity to set your own schedule, though a lot is defined by how well you fit the job and market yourself.
David Franklin | E+ | Getty Images

Ella Tyler found a few surprises in retirement that led her to return to the work force.

But like many retirees, the work she's doing now in no way resembles what she used to do in her professional career.

Tyler, 67, had quit practicing law when she moved to Texas after she got married. But then her husband died. And after Tyler remodelled her house, she realized she needed more money.

That prompted Tyler to look for jobs to pick up extra work.

She noticed an ad for tutors for the Law School Admissions Test with Varsity Tutors, an online education platform. Now, Tyler keeps busy teaching classes for the LSAT exam, as well as English as a second language and business writing, for up to $27 per hour.

The extra money, plus the ability to still use her professional skills, has given Tyler new confidence.

"As you get older, you wonder if you still have it," Tyler said. "And yes, I do. So there's a little bit of an ego satisfaction to it."

Tyler is not alone. About 31 percent of workers who only work in the gig economy are baby boomers, according to a 2017 Prudential Financial survey, and 34 percent of those workers are retired.

For boomers, this work can involve overcoming the belief that there's a stigma attached to contract work and understanding that they need to be immediately available and familiar with technology in order to compete, according to Olga Mizrahi, author of the book "The Gig is Up: Thrive in the Gig Economy, Where Old Jobs are Obsolete and Freelancing is the Future."

"Even if you're hired offline, I think that immediacy and being able to respond right away is really paramount for success," Mizrahi said.

Many retirees have their pick from opportunities, depending on their time and resources, as the gig economy continues to grow.

"It can be on your terms," said Jason Guggisberg, regional vice president at Adecco USA, which provides recruitment and staffing services. "Remember that you provide value for the company you're going to work for."

Here are some roles that you might want to take on to pad your income.

Tutor/instructor

Put your skills to use by teaching others what you know. That can include everything from your professional expertise, as Tyler does with Varsity Tutors, to other abilities such as skiing or swimming.

Tour guide

Financial advisor George Reilly, a principal at Safe Harbor Financial Advisors, said his clients include a retired married couple who share their love for history as tour guides in the Washington, D.C., area. Giving tours can let you share your passion for a particular site or city.

Photographer

One photographer, Jillian Cain, accidentally landed on an income stream when she discovered she could sell the photographs she enjoyed taking as stock photography. Shutterstock and other platforms can allow you to sell those photos for a profit, as long as you don't mind sharing them.

Handyman

From moving and cleaning to furniture assembly and personal shopping, if you have a knack for a specific task, chances are there's someone who needs your help. Sites like TaskRabbit can help you connect with those in need.

Driver

If you have a car and the time, you can make extra cash by giving rides to passengers via apps such as Uber and Lyft.

Host

Rent out a room in your home or a second home via Airbnb.

Baby/pet sitter

Certain sites — including Sittercity and Care.com — let you list babysitting and other caretaking services. Other sites like Rover let you list your services specifically aimed at pets.

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