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Life Stages: Pre-Retirement


    What's your retirement side hustle?

    4 min read

    As you approach the end of your formal work life, you may be starting to think about retirement. One of the first planning exercises to undertake is to budget for your retirement lifestyle, not only how much money you’ll spend, but also how much money you’ll need to bring in. In addition to government benefits like the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), employer pension plans and personal savings (from a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)), you may also want or need to work in retirement.

    Consulting and freelancing

    Over a long career, you have likely developed skills, expertise and experience that can serve you well in retirement. Perhaps you can “hang out a shingle” and offer consulting services. Or if you practiced as a lawyer or accountant, you want to offer professional services on a smaller scale, focusing on a particular niche. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be your own boss. If you enjoy writing or photography, consider becoming a freelancer. Start a blog or podcast on your favourite topic and try to monetize it with advertising or sponsorship.

    Start a small business

    If you’ve taken early retirement, you may still have the energy and ambition to tackle an ambitious goal like becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business. Perhaps you have an exciting new idea or an interest in exploring a franchise opportunity.

    Become a board member

    Another popular “encore career” for retirees is to join a board of directors. You may want to start by joining a small not-for-profit board, serving a cause you’re passionate about and familiar with. However, most of these types of board positions are unpaid, and they can be very hands-on (whereas in larger, more formal non-profit organizations, the board’s primary role will be oversight.). At the other end of the spectrum, obtaining a plum corporate board seat can be very lucrative, but difficult to obtain. It often requires industry experience, C-suite experience (i.e. CFO, CEO, etc.), educational criteria, such as the Institute of Corporate Directors’ ICD.D designation, not to mention good connections.

    The sharing and gig economies

    If you didn’t downsize to a smaller home and you have room to spare, or a basement apartment that’s no longer occupied, consider renting out the extra space. Or if you’re travelling often in retirement, you may want to bring in some extra money by listing your house on Airbnb®. If you have a car and enjoy driving, you can make some extra money driving for a ridesharing service like Uber® or Lyft®. Or consider signing up with Askfortask® to run errands or do other everyday tasks like cleaning, moving, delivery and “handyman” work. Because these gigs are completely flexible, you can combine them with other side hustles.


    While not technically a side hustle, which usually implies earning money, volunteering can be a rewarding retirement gig, providing you with the opportunity to give back, use and develop new skills and explore your passions. It’s also a great way to meet new people, create a sense of belonging and have a little fun!

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