How to Make Money in Retirement, Without Going to Work

retirementRetirees need to budget carefully to stay within their fixed income. If the value of their investments sinks after retirement, seniors often have little choice but to spend less or return to the workforce. But there are plenty of ways to make a little of extra cash without having to deal with an alarm clock and a commute. Here are a few creative ways to boost your retirement income.

Sell your Stuff

Retirees have a lifetime’s worth of accumulated clothes, books, and furniture. Make some quick cash by holding a garage sale or selling your stuff on eBay or Craigslist. Take clothes to a consignment shop and a box of books to your nearest used book store. Downsizing from two cars to one can also give your monthly budget a significant one-time boost. Savvy sellers can purchase underpriced used goods and resell them at a higher rate.

Get a Higher Interest Rate

As you age, you’ll want to keep a significant amount of your savings outside of the stock market. Shop around for the best interest rate on certificates of deposit, bonds, and savings accounts. Consider an online saving account, which will likely offer a higher interest rate than the brick-and-mortar variety.

Prune your Investments

Review your investment portfolio and get rid of funds that consistently perform poorly. Also, identify investments that have high expenses and transfer that money into a comparable investment that has lower management fees and expenses.

Maximize Social Security

The age you sign up for Social Security can make a big difference in the size of your checks. For Americans born in 1943 or later, Social Security payments increase by 8 percent for each year you delay claiming between ages 62 and 70. If you have good health, you will generally be better not taking the benefits earl. If you have a health problem or have some reason to believe you won’t have a long life expectancy, that might be a reason to take Social Security a little bit earlier. Retirees who have already claimed their benefits still have an opportunity to boost their checks. Seniors who pay back the entire amount received without interest can then reclaim at the higher rate.

Utilize Medicare Benefits

Sign up for Medicare Part B at age 65 to avoid a 10 percent premium increase for each year of delayed enrollment. Shop around annually for the most economical Medicare Part D prescription drug plan that meets your medication needs. And take advantage of the new services Medicare will soon begin covering. Beneficiaries will no longer have to pay any out-of-pocket costs for most preventive care, including an annual wellness visit beginning in January 2011.

Get a Rewards Credit Card

You’re going to continue to spend on food, clothing, and gas. You might as well get a credit card that pays you 1 to 2 percent cash back on your everyday purchases. If you look around, you can find a no fee card that gives you some benefit.  A lot of the rewards card sock you with annual fees and get you some other way.Of course, if you carry a credit card balance, the extra cash will be lost.

Take Required Minimum Distributions

Those age 70½ or older must take withdrawals from retirement accounts each year. The penalty for failing to take out the correct amount is steep: a 50 percent tax penalty and income tax on the amount that should have been withdrawn.

Ask for Senior Discounts

One of the greatest perks of getting older is qualifying for senior discounts. Some businesses offer well-publicized senior discounts, while other companies provide discounts only to those who ask. AARP also negotiates discounts on behalf of its members.

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