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  • 5 Ways Retirees Can Earn Money Without Leaving Home
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    There's no need to put yourself in harm's way when making money could be as easy as firing up your computer.

    By Maryalene LaPonsie, Contributor

    May 11, 2020

    From online tutoring to freelance work, there are a variety of opportunities to make extra cash from home.

    WITH OLDER AMERICANS AT an increased risk of developing deadly cases of COVID-19, working outside the home may no longer be a safe option for retirees. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways people can bring in

    extra money from the comfort of home.

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    "Certainly, the main thing is for seniors to leverage their lifetime of work experience," says Rakesh Gupta, associate professor of decision sciences at Adelphi University in New York. They can do that through consulting, freelancing or tutoring. Even those without a professional background may be able to find

    remote, part-time job opportunities .

    Here are a few ways retirees can bring in extra cash from home:

    Share knowledge online and tutor others.

    Freelance in your professional field.

    Look for remote job opportunities.

    Rent out space in your home or garage.

    Tap into your home's equity.

    [ SEE: U.S. News Best VPN Services ]

    Share Knowledge Online and Tutor Others

    A number of websites make it easy to

    earn money by sharing information over the internet. One of those is Getsetup, a site specializing in older Americans teaching their peers everything from how to create a website to how to apply for Social Security online.

    "We started about six months ago taking retired teachers and putting them through a free academy," says Neil D'Souza, Getsetup CEO. That academy gave them the knowledge base and skills needed to conduct classes on the Zoom videoconferencing platform. Getsetup currently has more than 40 online classes available, and guides – the title given to instructors on the site – will soon be able to recommend new courses based on their expertise.

    Applicants for guide positions no longer have to be retired teachers. They may come from a variety of backgrounds, although they share a common trait. "A successful guide is generally very curious," D'Souza says. "We have a lot of applications and not everyone is a good fit." Those who do become guides earn $25 per hour.

    The following websites are other options for those who want to tutor or share knowledge from home:

    Udemy.

    Varsity Tutors.

    Skillshare.

    Chegg Tutors.

    Freelance in Your Professional Field

    For retirees who have expertise in a particular field but aren't interested in teaching others, freelancing or consulting may be a better option. Gupta suggests people reach out to their network to share that they are available to assist with projects on a contract basis.

    Numerous websites also allow people to connect with others who want to hire freelance workers. These sites include:

    Upwork.

    Guru.

    Fiverr.

    Freelancer.

    Each site operates under a different set of rules, with most opting for a bidding model in which potential clients post jobs and freelancers bid on them. Others, like Fiverr, may allow freelancers to post specific work they provide at a specific price. Seniors should take care to understand how payments work, the commission collected by the site and their options should a job go bad.

    Look for Remote Job Opportunities

    There are diverse part-time job opportunities for remote workers . These include positions as customer service representatives , transcriptionists and virtual assistants. Companies large and small may hire remote workers, and the following are a few of the firms that offer flexible scheduling options that may appeal to retirees:

    Alorica.

    Sykes.

    TranscribeMe.

    Rev.

    [ SEE: 15 Best Remote Working Jobs. ]

    Most jobs only require a computer, internet connection and a quiet place to work. Some customer service jobs may need a landline phone as well. Income potential can depend on the type of work and your expertise.

    "The trick is to avoid scams," Gupta says. "The big tip-off is if they are asking you for an upfront fee."

    Legitimate work-from-home jobs will not charge equipment or start-up fees. Also be wary of any jobs promising thousands of dollars for very little work.

    Another common scheme involves fraudsters sending a large check and asking someone to cash it. The victim is then told to withhold a certain amount for their wages or other expenses before sending the rest to a third party. However, the check ends up being fake, bounces and leaves the unsuspecting worker responsible for covering its full amount.

    Rent Out Space in Your Home or Garage

    Retirees may find they have extra space in their home now that the kids have moved out. Renting out empty rooms and garages for storage space can be an easy way to earn predictable money each month.

    "We guarantee all the payments. You will get paid every single month" says Joseph Woodbury, CEO for Neighbor, an online storage marketplace. The website allows people to list their storage space for free and at whatever rate they'd like. Then all communication and payments are handled through the Neighbor platform. Hosts have $1 million insurance protection, while stored items are covered up to $25,000.

    "It's a great way to help people right now," Woodbury says. He notes rental rates on Neighbor are significantly lower than most self-storage fees. Some hosts on the site can earn as much as $10,000 to $20,000 a year, but the average earnings are $1,500 to $2,000 annually.

    Tap Into Your Home's Equity

    Homeowners who want to avoid dipping into retirement funds during an economic downturn may find that their house is a source of cash. However, with home equity lines of credit being suspended by some banks, retirees need to get creative.

    Reverse mortgages are one option for retirees who are at least 62 years old. With a reverse mortgage , a lender makes regular payments to a senior based on the value of their property. Once the homeowner moves or passes away, the loan must be repaid. This typically requires the sale of the property.

    For younger retirees or those who don't want to pay mortgage fees, a sale-leaseback is another option to consider. "(We're) creating a lot of flexibility," says Jarred Kessler, CEO of EasyKnock, a company that will buy your home and then rent it back to you.

    Home sales through EasyKnock can be completed in one month or less, and homeowners receive up to 70% of the sale price in cash. The remainder is held until the home is sold to a third party and the original homeowner moves out. In the meantime, the seller remains in the house and pays a monthly rate based on local rents.

    "The period we're in right now has a tremendous amount of uncertainty," Kessler says. A sale-leaseback can be a good option for someone who plans to move in the future but needs cash now. If the person changes their mind and wants to remain in their home, they can buy the house back for what they received from EasyKnock.

    Beware: Your Social Security Could Be Taxed

    Before jumping into any money-making opportunity, retirees should be aware of how the income they earn could affect their Social Security benefits. In 2020, retirees who have not yet reached their full retirement age but are receiving retirement benefits can earn $18,240 before their Social Security is reduced. For every $2 a person exceeds that limit, $1 in benefits will be withheld. People reaching their full retirement age of 66 this year can earn up to $48,600 before they are penalized $1 for every $3 they earn over that limit.

    [ SEE: 10 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know. ]

    Income that counts toward the Social Security cap includes both wages and money earned through self-employment, such as freelancing. Once a person reaches their full retirement age, there is no cap on how much a retiree can earn each year.

    Another consideration for seniors is the possibility that their Social Security benefits may become taxable, regardless of their age. For instance, those filing an individual return can have a combined income of up to $24,999 and not worry about their Social Security being taxed. However, if their income falls between $25,000 and $34,000, half their benefits could be subject to federal income tax. Those with incomes in excess of $34,000 will see 85% of their Social Security benefits subject to tax. (Combined income is calculated by adding adjusted gross income, nontaxable interest and half the amount of Social Security benefits awarded that year.)

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    Updated on May 11, 2020: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

    Corrected on May 15, 2020: A previous version of this story misstated the name of the site Getsetup.

    Maryalene LaPonsie, Contributor

    Maryalene LaPonsie has been writing for U.S. News & World Report since 2015 and covers topics ... READ MORE »

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