Chances are, your retirement plan didn’t account for this year’s 8% to 9% inflation rates. If you’ve already streamlined your budget to the extreme, increasing your income is the next available remedy to manage those higher prices on food and healthcare.
Working is one way to raise your income, but it’s not the only way. Below are five ways to generate income in retirement, none of which require you to punch a time clock.
1. Dividend stocks
Dividend stocks pay you to own them. The payments generally come quarterly, and you can earn annual yields of 1.5% to 3%.
Shifting some of your wealth into dividend stocks could solve your income shortfall, but there are caveats. For one, you need cash to invest. Since the stock market is down this year, it’s not an ideal time to raise cash by way of selling other stocks that don’t pay dividends.
A better funding source is any money you have invested in low-yield instruments that you can liquidate without losses.
Another consideration in this strategy is your risk tolerance. Trading out a certificate of deposit (CD) for dividend stocks, as an example, would raise your risk profile substantially. Dividend stocks can lose value, especially if the company you’re invested in decides to pause or reduce those shareholder payments.
If you do go this route, lean into stocks that have paid dividends for decades. Dividend Aristocrats and Dividend Kings are usually good choices for retirees.
2. Treasury bonds and funds
As inflation rates rise, so do yields on Treasury bonds. U.S. Treasuries are debt instruments backed by the U.S. government and are considered as safe as cash.
The simplest way to buy Treasuries is to invest in an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that holds these debts in varying maturities. Shorter-term maturities are the least risky because they adjust more quickly to prevailing rates.
Short-term Treasury ETFs are currently yielding about 3%. These don’t appreciate the way dividend stocks can, but they’re much safer.
As with a dividend-stock strategy, you’d need a funding source to buy your ETFs.
CDs with a one-year maturity are currently yielding between 2.5% and 2.75%. A CD is a deposit account, so it’s insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000.
The national average yield on cash savings is 0.59%. If you moved low-yielding cash into a CD, you could quadruple your interest earnings.
The drawback is that a CD isn’t quite as liquid as cash. You can cash out a CD before it matures, but you’ll pay fees in the process. For that reason, you should only lock up funds you won’t need anytime soon.
4. Reverse mortgage
A reverse mortgage converts your home equity into cash, payable in a lump sum or via monthly income payments. It’s a loan, but you don’t have any monthly repayments.
Repayment happens when you pass away or move out of the home. At that point, your heirs can pay off the balance, or your reverse-mortgage lender can sell the home and uses the proceeds to repay your debt.
The downside here is that the interest rates and upfront costs on reverse mortgages can be high. For some, though, a reverse mortgage can be a good way to tap the equity in their homes.
5. Rental income
You may already know about Airbnb, where you can market a spare bedroom to short-term renters. You may not know there are similar websites for renting out your garage, basement, spare car, motorhome, or travel trailer.
Your rental-income potential could be substantial, depending on where you live and the property you’d like to rent. Before you dive into this strategy, though, check with your insurance providers. Your policies may prohibit you from renting covered assets.
Keeping your retirement work-free
More seniors are returning to work in retirement to combat shrinking savings accounts. That doesn’t have to be your path, however. If your budget isn’t balancing the way you’d like, look at other, non-working ways to generate income first.
Dividend stocks are a classic choice for retirement income. Treasury debt and CDs may be viable options, too, thanks to today’s higher interest rates. You could also finance your retirement income through a reverse mortgage.
Lastly, if you’d rather avoid financial instruments and debt, you could rent out an asset you’re not using. You’ll have more foot traffic through your home this way, but that may beat going back to work.