A retired man and woman cook in a bright white kitchen together and discuss how to boost retirement income.

How to Increase Your Retirement Income


To make the most of your retirement budget and earn some extra money, Fifth Third Bank offers 5 ways you can increase your retirement income.

Just about every senior wishes they had a bit more money at the end of each month after bills are paid and expenses are accounted for. The financials of being retired, however, can make the prospect of boosting your retirement income seem challenging. The good news is there is a range of options to boost retirement income ranging from altering one's budget to even taking on some light, part-time work that keeps the mind sharp and the hands busy.

Whether you’re looking for ways to manage your expenses in retirement, make lifestyle modifications to help your fixed-income stretch further, or to make a bit of money through a light part-time job, there are plenty of ways to make the most out of your money in retirement.

1. Maximizing Your Budget

One of the biggest areas where retirees can boost their retirement income is by taking a closer look at their existing budget. Recurring essential expenses are an unavoidable reality in retirement: gas, electricity, and telephone bills still need to get paid in order to keep your quality of life where it is. However, there are places where people on a fixed income can make small (or large) tweaks that can uncover significant savings, leading to more cash in hand at the end of every month. Or, for retirees who have not set a budget, doing so can uncover significant cost savings and provide a blueprint for making one's money last longer.

Check your budget for non-essential and overlapping services as well. If you’re paying for a television subscription but find that you aren’t watching many of the channels you’ve paid for, you may want to consider opting for a less expensive package. Alternatively, if you’re paying for services that overlap between two or more providers (such as landline and cellular phones), you may want to consolidate your billing by bundling these services with a single provider.

Retirees should take a close look at their monthly expenses routinely. Many expenses we think we can afford to ignore while drawing a salary can become a drag on our finances in retirement when it becomes essential to manage a fixed monthly budget.

2. Making Lifestyle Changes

Making the most of one's budget is essential, and making lifestyle changes in retirement can serve as a next great step in terms of making the most of one's fixed income. It can be challenging (if not frustrating) when a person's retirement income doesn't necessarily line up with their lifestyle goals in their golden years. Unfortunately, this is all too common.

If your retirement income and expenses still don’t match up after auditing your budget, it might be time to consider making lifestyle changes to help your money go further. These changes can be big or small—in many cases, a dramatic lifestyle change isn’t the only option. For example, you can opt to dine out less, scale back your travel plans, or make alterations to how you maintain your home. If you pay for landscaping services or housekeeping services that aren’t essential, there are two areas where scaling back could go a long way.

Should you find yourself in a major budget crunch, don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance. State and local agencies can help provide you with information and support to help make managing finances in retirement easier. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) also offers a wealth of budgeting information for seniors.

3. Finding Discounts and Savings for Seniors

Many businesses and service providers offer discounts for seniors, even if they don't necessarily shout from the rooftops about these programs. In other cases, utilities and other subscription companies may even provide you with a senior discount without having a formal program in place.

Begin by contacting your utility providers. Many offer programs that help make services more affordable for seniors. These programs are typically designed and offered to low-income or financially struggling seniors, so you may want to check to see if you qualify for aid.

Next, reach out to cellular phone and subscription television providers. There is often much more flexibility with lowering your bills with these companies: all you need to do is ask. In many cases, these companies are willing to help you find a plan that works for your budget or, in some cases, lower your bill merely because you asked. Your mileage may vary here, as every situation is unique.

You may also find ways to save based on where you shop. Many stores offer senior discounts or participate in discount programs sponsored by the AARP. These discounts usually offer a small savings on individual purchases that add up to significant sums over time. Other discounts, such as loyalty programs, may not be exclusive to seniors but still offer a great opportunity to save some money over time.

4. Picking Up a Part-Time Job

Working in retirement may not sound much like retirement, but many retirees find that keeping some level of work in their lives can be quite rewarding. This might take the form of working in a field that one always wanted to work in, but couldn't during his or her career. Or, for other retirees, it might mean taking on some light work as a nanny or part-time worker at a nearby civic center or library.

First, consider your financial needs. If you only want supplemental income, you have a significant amount of leeway in terms of how many hours per week you need to work.

If you decide that working in retirement is right for you, odds are good that you’ll have a significant amount of flexibility in terms of hours and days depending on where you find an employment opportunity. Jobs at libraries and municipal offices tend to be more accommodating of seniors’ lifestyle needs, but employment at other businesses may also be willing to work with you on your schedule too.

Whether you're looking to increase your income during retirement to help make day-to-day budgeting easier or to help add a bit to your rainy-day fund, there are plenty of strategies for making the most of your current income, maximizing well-deserved discounts, and finding rewarding work that helps keep you sharp and energized during retirement. The right balance of these strategies can help you enjoy your golden years without worrying about financing them.

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