I was talking to a lady the other day who decided to look into her 401(k) account that she left at a company for several years after she stopped working there. She knew it existed, but hadn’t paid any attention, thinking it didn’t amount to very much. You can imagine how pleasantly surprised she was to find out her account was worth over $60,000. She went ahead and rolled it over to an IRA and has begun making monthly deposits, and is now actively working toward her goal of growing her retirement nest egg.
How, when times are tough as they are, is she going to find the money to make the contributions and additions to the account? A little brainstorming revealed a way for her to make some extra money. She really likes triathlons and has volunteered to officiate at several of them. With a little training she may be able to start and hold her own events.
This got me thinking….here’s this lady who’s taking control of her life situation and probably building a nice future for herself, and all the while doing something she enjoys! I’m sure she’ll succeed. She has the desire and makes the time to do this thing she finds enjoyable. I look forward to watching and encouraging her in her venture.
My thoughts wander back to matters that seem all too much at the forefront of our minds these days….the many challenges facing the world economy and financial system. The ever worsening real estate market and unemployment problems. I think it would be fabulous if the powers to be would step up to the plate and try to address these things, but the daily news reports show the whole lot of them remain in denial and will probably continue to play the blame game for the foreseeable future.
What about the rest of us? How can we be like my new friend whose taking steps to establish a nice, healthy, future in an enjoyable way? Many of us have already sized up our situation, automated our banking, made a plan to eliminate debt, and decided to get serious about saving for retirement. But with money being so tight for everyone right now, how can we find the funds to start, or add to, an IRA or employer sponsored retirement account? Here are some ideas that come to mind:
- If you like sports, or work out regularly, maybe you’d like to be a sports official. These positions are usually part-time or seasonal, and the pay isn’t bad for a few hours on the court or behind a plate.
- An idea for the entrepreneurial spirited is a direct-sales business. Look at www.InternetBasedMoms.com for a list of many low cost start ups, which are usually commission based….great little side businesses for selling anything from cookware to clothing to home décor.
- Do you have a hobby? Like photography, or to sew? Think about turning your hobby into a little business. You might surprise yourself at how lucrative it can be. Start up costs usually involve a business license and maybe insurance, and you’ll be getting paid for doing what you’re already doing in your spare time.
- Do you like to write? Find out how to become a blogger. See www.Blogger.com or www.WordPress.com for information. If you’re good, and develop a following of readers, you can earn money by writing about something you know and enjoy.
There are lots of other ways to come up with some spare cash. Here are some more ideas, some of which might seem a little hokey, but the folks that are doing, are laughing on their way to make the bank deposit:
- Find a roommate. Generate some extra rental income by sharing your home with a co-worker, friend, or family member.
- Participate in clinical trials. If you’re eligible, you can pick up a few bucks being a guinea pig. Check out www.clinicaltrials.gov for information.
- Search for unclaimed funds. You have to search within both federal agencies and state agencies. Some websites to start are www.unclaimed.org and www.missingmoney.com.
- Sell stuff on consignment, at a flea market, or pawn your valuables. You won’t get much in terms of what your things are worth, but if you don’t need (or want) the items, it’s a great way to clean up.
- Get paid for your opinions. Join a market research focus group (www.delve.com) or take phone/online surveys (www.HarrisInteractive.com and www.SchlesingerAssociates.com) or become an online juror who gives opinions on legal cases (www.Ejury.com and www.OnlineVerdict.com).
I’m not saying you should give up your day job. At least not right away. But you’ll definitely be in a win-win situation if you can find a way to make some money while doing something you enjoy. It might be a great way to add to your retirement savings, or start making extra payments on your home mortgage.
Are you doing any of these things (or something else) that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you.