All about the challenges of Midlife Finance

Money for Retirement: Getting It, Growing It

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.

money in retirement, find it and keep it

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.

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.

9 Responses to Money for Retirement: Getting It, Growing It

  1. I’ve never found any unclaimed money yet, but that won’t keep me from looking every year or two!

    And the great thing about “found” money or a little money from a side hustle is that it adds 100% to your savings/investments if you don’t cheat and spend it. Earning even 1-2 hundred dollars/month can really add up (funding between a quarter and a half of your IRA in that example).

  2. You are so correct about how fast your coins add up. I use the coins I save over the year, along with redeeming my credit card rewards and it covers about 75% of my Christmas budget. There is value in those coins, even the pennies!!

  3. I’d never thought about the unclaimed money angle much — until we realized that Husband still had an account at a California credit union he’d never closed, while in the Navy back in the 1970s. It wasn’t a large amount…but it had grown!
    The only problem — the credit union is insisting that he show some proof of his account number. And being as far back s it was, that is a problem. He can prove who he is — he remembers the account. But the number?? Grrrr.
    Thanks, all of you, for writing and contributing.

  4. […] If you’re in midlife, you likely feel the pressure to save as much money as possible for retirement.  However, that doesn’t mean you should give up the fun things you like to do.  Instead, find activities that you enjoy that also provide you with the opportunity to make money.  You never know, this might turn into a side gig you can enjoy in retirement and continue to bring in extra money. […]

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