Retirement. Money. The two don’t always go together, unless you make a concerted effort to plan ahead. Regular deductions from a paycheck are a good foundation. (If you haven’t done so already, anytime — including now — is a good time to begin.) But there are other sources of income, too.
Looking for income in all the right places
*Loose change. Nickels, dimes and quarters add up surprisingly quickly. Most people find they can save a few hundred dollars or more each year, just by collecting their leftover change.
*Teaching. Pick up a student or two, and teach them a helpful skill: a new language, gymnastics, or a craft like knitting or crochet. Price your lessons at a competitive rate, and advertise on community lists or Craigslist. At $15 each, half-hour piano lessons have translated to at least $400 annually for our household. Not bad for just a few hours a week!
*Can’t teach? Do something else needed. Housesitting. Babysitting. Not just for kids, either — I’ve made extra income a few times a year by taking care of an insurance office for friends who want to take a break. (Or cover days off for small company employees.) Set up a pickup or delivery route to pick up students or seniors — or their accompanying stuff.
*Give a few days a year to making extra. Florists, gift basket purveyors and other goodie providers often need people to deliver during the holidays — especially Christmas, Valentine’s and Mother’s Day. Your vehicle and time for a few hours can translate into a useful paycheck. (The tips are generally good, too.)
If you’ve got more time to spare, companies still hire for the Christmas rush. And they’re starting to look now.
*Unclaimed funds. If you’ve ever opened an account or laid out money for phone or utilities, odds are good that you’ve forgotten one or more of those deposits over the years. These overlooked items really add up. By the end of 1998, for example, there were 770,000 unclaimed Canadian accounts worth $132 million. Although most were under $500 (still a good chunk of change!), many were much more. And the oldest account dates back as early as 1900. Even today, ‘lost’ accounts aren’t getting any less — or smaller.
Do you have unclaimed money? There are ways to check. Several places are available for checking American funds; google ‘missing money’ to get started. Unclaimed Canadian bank accounts are in this spot.
Now you’ve got it – grow it
Expand your knowledge, even if you’re just starting, by visiting a retirement info site. Suncorp, the company just mentioned, has a comprehensive site that not only analyzes where you should be for retirement, but helps figure out how to get there. (It’s got info on ‘super’ accounts; personalized advice is available, too.)
Books can be accessed at a moment’s notice, and put down for later when you’ve got other commitments. One popular offering: the Hundreds of Heads series How to Love Your Retirement.
Advice columns are also helpful. Some, like Liz Weston’s “Ask Liz” and Michelle Singletary’s “The Color of Money” (for the Washington Post), make a special point to cover retirement and income topics, particularly some of the more unusual questions.
Start planning and earning extra now — and you’ve got a much better chance at a relaxing future.