En español | These days, more and more retirees are working as a way to stay engaged, support a lifestyle or both.
For Jose and Jill Ferrer, ages 64 and 59, respectively, it's been all of the above. When they retired from telecommunications careers that spanned nearly three decades at AT&T, they sold their townhouse in Randolph, N.J., for about $360,000 and hit the road.
Since 2005, they've traveled full time from Oregon to New Mexico to Florida and points in between at the wheel of their 40-foot Country Coach Allure motor home (paid for with cash). A Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail motorcycle, a Saturn car and two bikes are along for the ride.
"We're living a lifestyle that enables us to move around as we choose," says Jill. "We usually take our time — spending at least a few days and more likely a week or more in an area. We fully intend to get to all of the national parks."
The couple planned carefully for retirement. They lived off one of their $100,000-a-year salaries for about five years before retiring and saved the other one. They contributed the maximum to their 401(k) savings plans and rolled them over into individual retirement accounts once they retired. "We're hopeful that we have saved enough to last us in a retirement that includes frugal living and part-time work," Jill says.
For this road warrior couple, that part-time work is a website and blog dedicated to the RV lifestyle. "We were seeking something we could do on the road to make some extra income. We created Your RV Lifestyle as a site where we could share tips, lessons learned and travel experiences," she says.
And it has worked. With both a laptop and a desktop in the motor home, they use a wireless data plan with an air card for Internet access. On average, they try to do something on the site every day: a blog, a new page or an updated page.
The payoff: They earn a small commission on products sold through the product-affiliate programs related to the RV lifestyle, such as Good Sam club, FMCA, RV books/DVDs and so on, that are promoted on the site. They also get a cut when visitors click on Google AdSense ads displayed on the relevant pages.
"For now, as we balance various aspects of our life, we are happy to earn a little extra money — about $700 a month — from the site," Jill says. "And we know the potential is there to grow our website business."
Whatever your reason for wanting to keep earning income, it doesn't mean you're locked into the daily treadmill. Opting to work a slimmed-down number of hours a week gives you plenty of room to travel, enjoy your hobbies, spend time with friends and more.
Here are five part-time jobs to consider. Pay ranges, which will vary based on experience and geography, are derived from data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The nitty-gritty: Most bloggers are making very little per month. Little wonder. There's lots of competition out there for eyeballs. There are millions of blogs today. Tumblr claims 178.7 million blogs. WordPress.com boasts more than 77 million. It is possible, though, to break through. An income stream comes from steadily building a following through referrals and generating income from the ads on your page. You can also make money by selling merchandise directly — from books to T-shirts. Developing traffic flow (and money) to your blog is time-consuming. You can't just come up with a few pithy posts on a whim every so often and expect visitors to show up with any consistency. It takes discipline. Use Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.
The hours: Flexible. It's tough to measure how long it takes someone to write a post of around 800 words. It might take three or four hours. The real money-hungry bloggers log in full-time schedules of 40 hours or more a week managing their blogs. While that's heavy duty, you should plan to blog at least three times a week. You also need to keep tabs on the business side — managing display ads and product sales adds up to a few hours a week.
Median pay range: The majority of bloggers make less than $100 a month from their sites. Some bloggers produce more than one blog, which antes up income. There are bloggers who pull in more than $100,000, but they're the exception. Google AdSense, Amazon's affiliate program and Chitika are three income streams to check out. How much income they produce varies by blog. The key is to try out a few.
Qualifications: At the heart of it, passion, a micro-niche that you really know something about, decent writing skills and the commitment to keep feeding your site with fresh content. A successful blog is built on subject matter that's valuable to people interested in the precise topic. Computer skills are a must, and knowing how to post photos and YouTube clips is helpful. You have an edge if you know how to use keywords and other online links to lure people to your website via search engine results such as Google and Yahoo. If you're interested, start with ProBlogger.net. File this under labor of love.