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Five creative ways to give your super a boost near retirement

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  Published: 24 Jun 2019

If you’re staring down the barrel of retirement, it’s time to think about your super. There are more ways to boost it than increasing contributions.

We’ve written before about using the “five Cs” to help set yourself up for super success: choose wisely, consolidate, contribute, check insurance, continue. Once you’ve sorted that out, the next thing to consider is whether making some personal contributions is right for you.

Now is the time to think about different income streams you can develop to supplement and support your superannuation balance once you start drawing from your account in retirement. Here are five creative ways to make some extra money in your 50s and 60s.

...the “five Cs” to help set yourself up for super success: choose wisely, consolidate, contribute, check insurance, continue.

A little bit of magic

Bruce Glen, 67, is a former public relations executive who now works as The Gentleman Magician in Sydney. He spent 20 years in radio and television - starting out as a panel operator for Bob Roberts on 2UE - before making the move into public relations. When he retired from his full-time job, he seized the opportunity to delve into his passion and make some additional income from performing and consulting.

“My kids are grown up and I’m single again and I decided it was time to decide what I really loved. Ever since I was seven, I’ve had an interest in magic - someone gave me a book when I was a kid and I’ve loved it ever since,” he tells the Daily Telegraph.

“The kind of magic I do is quite unique - I do storytelling magic for adults, but not necessarily grown-ups! Getting involved in acting turned the light bulb on because I was learning a lot of monologues and I’ve always had an abiding love of stories, so that’s when I had the idea of combining the two, and I then developed this act.”

Glen’s show runs at the five-star Sir Stamford hotel at Circular Quay and is designed to have the ambience of a 19th century Viennese salon. It’s been running every weekend for the past three years and is now rated number two on Trip Advisor in the “Concerts and Shows in Sydney” category.

“Number one is the Opera House, but I can live with that. I’m really chuffed about it, I built this from nothing and it’s great fun. I want to really engage people.”

There are a number of ways you can make income like this work for you. For example, it might be helpful to top up your retirement balance or you might be able to use it to supplement income from your super fund. Just remember, that once you turn 65 you will need to be able to satisfy the work test – having worked 40 hours across a 30-day period – to be eligible to contribute more into your super. Speak to your financial advisor to find out what will work best for you.

Room for more

Wendy Bywaters, 57, is a former machinery dealership owner and local councilor based at Nhill, in western Victoria. She is conveniently located on the main highway between Melbourne and Adelaide and a few years ago she decided to open her home to guests through Airbnb.

Wendy’s Retreat Nhill is a beautiful house on the edge of town. Wendy is rated as a “Superhost” on the company’s website, with plenty of glowing reviews from a huge variety of people, including a number of surgeons visiting the local hospital and families with young kids who are just passing through.

“After I sold my business I asked myself what I missed the most and it definitely was the people,” she tells the Daily Telegraph.

“It’s a good way [to make some extra money] if people are fit enough as it is a lot of housework. However, I do love meeting the people.”

Airbnb pays directly into your bank account, so if you do use this method to boost your super balance, you’ll need to speak directly to your fund to find out how to make your own contributions. One of the main things to keep in mind with this type of income is that by working for yourself, you don’t have an employer who will make contributions on your behalf, so it’s very important to have a plan in place.

Sharing economy

If you have a spare car or you don’t use your car much during the week, you could try an app like Car Next Door. It lets people rent privately-owned cars on an hourly or daily basis and is a way to make money during the time the car would otherwise be sitting idle at the kerb. The other thing you can do to make money from your car, if it is relatively new and in good condition, is offering a driving service like Uber. It’s a great way to meet people and you can choose the hours you want to work.

Odd-jobs are another option, but before you tape a flyer to a local power pole advertising your services, consider joining Airtasker. Jobs range from mowing grass to helping people move, painting windows and providing professional services like copywriting. All you have to do is create an account and make a profile and you can seize interesting-looking opportunities as they pop up.

Market research

Market research generally involves participating in focus groups, taste tests, and interviews to test public reaction to new products and services. There are market research firms operating in all major cities around the country. Generally, all you need to do is subscribe to their mailing lists and then fill out a form which gives a little bit of information about things like your age, job title, parenting status and ethnic background.

It sounds a little bit funny, but it can be another easy way to make pocket-money and either make contributions to your super fund or supplement the balance after you retire. Just remember, that any income you earn in retirement may impact your eligibility for the Age Pension. Brands value the honest opinions of prospective consumers - just think how many times you’ve tried something new and immediately made a comment or formed an opinion about it. If you are successfully recruited for a group like Research Connections, you could be paid as much as $150-$200 for taking part for one day, or potentially even more if you have a special skill or experience.

It’s also important to remember that if you earn less than $450 before tax in a month your employer may not be required to make your super contributions, so you will need to plan for that.

Baby-sitting or pet-sitting

As a teenager, you probably made a few dollars here and there looking after someone else’s children or pets and there’s no reason why you can’t have a resurgence in your 60s. Again, technology is your friend, because even if you don’t know someone who needs this type of service right now, undoubtedly someone else in your local neighborhood will - especially over weekends, public holidays or school holidays.

If children are your thing, consider a service like Juggle Street, which connects parents with qualified babysitters, nannies, au pairs and tutors. If your friends are more of the furry and four-legged variety, consider a service like Mad Paws, which links people up for dog and cat-sitting but also services like walking, grooming, training and boarding.

These are both great ways to pick up some semi-regular income while still enjoying all the flexibility and benefits of retirement. Like Airbnb, these services pay directly into your bank account, so speak to your super fund to find out how you can make contributions and bump up your balance. If you’re under the age of 65, you may need to consider making voluntary contributions, so make sure you seek professional advice.

This article was first published on The Daily Telegraph on 24 June 2019. The information referred to may change from the date of publication and care should be taken when relying on such information.

*The above material, whilst correct at the time of publication may include references or statements which are no longer current.

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