16 Ways Retirees Can Work From Home and Make Extra Cash in 2024

A retired woman works from home on her laptop.
Getty Images
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners.

Whether you need a little extra money in your retirement or just like to keep busy, a work-from-home job can be a nice opportunity to earn while staying occupied. Here are some great jobs for retirees that can help you do both. Retirees have a wealth of experience that they can use when deciding on a job.

First, a Word of Warning

As with anything you find online, some opportunities are better than others. And sadly, there are plenty of work-from-home scams out there, so keep an eye out for the following red flags (and find out how The Penny Hoarder vets our work-from-home job listings):

  • They ask for personal information, like your Social Security number or bank account information.
  • They ask you to pay. Legit job offers will never require payment to apply, purchase inventory, attend training, etc.
  • They don’t mention a specific pay rate or they make vaguely worded promises like, “You can earn up to $30 an hour!”
  • They are not listed on the Better Business Bureau website (if they claim to represent a larger company) or they have a large number of dubious reviews there.
  • The only physical location you find for the company is a P.O. box (if it’s local).
  • They offer you an advance on your pay.

If a position meets one or more of the criteria listed above, chances are it might not be on the up-and-up, so you’re best to keep searching.

Keep Social Security Payments in Mind

If you collect Social Security, pay attention to the amount you earn. Depending on your age, earning more than a certain amount could reduce your Social Security payments.

If you are not yet at your full retirement age (67 for people born 1960 onward) and earn more than $22,320, you may have your Social Security payment reduced by $1 for every $2 over that amount earned. But when you reach full retirement age, earnings do not affect your Social Security.

The Top 16 Online Jobs for Retirees

  • Customer service representative
  • Virtual assistant
  • Bookkeeper
  • Transcriptionist
  • Brand ambassador
  • Tutor
  • Subject matter expert
  • Clinical Coder
  • Writer
  • Search engine quality rater
  • Translator
  • Pet sitter or walker
  • Notary Public (Remote, online)
  • Mystery shopper
  • Proofreader
  • Data entry

Here are more details on the 16 ways retirees can work from home and bring in extra cash between pickleball games and book club meetings. Unless otherwise noted, the average pay is based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Indeed.com and ZipRecruiter estimates at the time of writing.

1. Customer Service Representative

What you’d do: Answer customer questions, troubleshoot problems, and take and track orders. Depending on the company, you may be communicating over the phone, via online chat or both.

Good if you: Are a people person, can multitask, have a decent typing speed and have a quiet place to work.

Average Pay: $12.00-$26.54/hour

Where to look: Working Solutions, LiveOps, Arise

2. Virtual Assistant

What you’d do: Everything a traditional administrative assistant might do such as composing correspondence, calendar management, making travel arrangements and data entry. But the most in-demand services include more modern tasks such as blog editing, curating social media and formatting web content.  

Good if you: Already have experience working in an office, are organized, have good time-management skills and are proficient in basic word processing and spreadsheet software.

Average pay: $14.96-$40.27/hour

Where to look: Upwork, Ajilon, Belay

3. Bookkeeper

What you’d do: Run your own business by helping other business owners tackle real-world problems.

Good if you: You don’t have to be an accountant or good at calculus to be successful at bookkeeping. As long as you’re motivated, a company called Bookkeepers.com will teach you everything you need to know. It’s one of the leading training courses in the field, and it even gives you the first three classes for free.

Average pay: You could earn up to $75 an hour by starting your own bookkeeping business, according to Intuit, the creator of QuickBooks.

Where to look: If you’re just a little curious, you just have to submit your email address here to take the first free class. If you stick with it, you could be running your own business in just a few months.

4. Transcriptionist

What you’d do: Typing out, verbatim, what you hear on audio files. You may be captioning a video, capturing the words in a court presentation or taking down a written record of a dialogue among two or more people.

Good if you: Are a quick typer, have good hearing, can identify speakers by voice, are able to understand sometimes thick accents and can pass a transcription test. Familiarity with medical or court terms is a plus.

Average Pay: $9.38-$30.05/hour

Where to look: Acusis, Athreon, Press Ganey

5. Brand Ambassador

What you’d do: Chat online with visitors to your favorite brand’s website, offer advice and recommendations, write product reviews and answer questions about products.

Good if you: Are supportive of a particular brand or product, love sharing your favorite finds with others and always dreamed of being a personal shopper. You should be active on several social media sites.

Average Pay: $13.53-$29.37/hour, plus you’ll earn points you can redeem for products.

Where to look: ainfluencer, Survey Junkie, Branded Surveys

6. Tutor

What you’d do: Share your knowledge with students of all ages. You may compose lessons, grade tests and papers or help review material in preparation for a standardized test like the SATs.

Good if you: Are knowledgeable in a certain subject (teacher certifications are nice but not necessary; real world experience counts), can pass an online exam in that subject and have a knack for explaining things to people.

Average Pay: $14.59-$38.47

Where to look: Tutor.com, Kaplan, Pearson Education

7. Subject Matter Expert

What you’d do: Answer a wide variety of questions from customers and businesses on a subject you’re knowledgeable about.

Good if you: Have lots of real-world or academic experience in a particular field.

Average pay: $2-$20/accepted answer

Where to look: Just Answer, Next Thought

8. Medical Coder

What you’d do: Identify the proper billing codes for different medical procedures and treatment for charts and billing, use medical software.

Good if you: Have a medical background and comfort with technology.

Average pay: $24 per hour

Where to look: Aviacode, Ciox, Guidehouse

9. Writer

What you’d do: Writing articles for online publications. This is a huge field, and, if you’ve got the chops for it, you can find a wide range of opportunities.

Good if you: Have a way with words, have strong grammar and punctuation skills, and are an expert in a particular field.

Average Pay:  $9.78-$58.97/hour

Where to look: FlexJobs, FreelanceWriting.com, Morning Coffee Newsletter

10. Search Engine Quality Rater

What you’d do: Review and critique search engines to shine a light on what users really think of them. Evaluate the responses from the context of the average customer.

Good if you: Have a good laptop or desktop computer with high-speed internet, basic internet usage skills and can follow basic written instructions. Bonus for being fluent in multiple languages.

Average Pay: $17.33-$21.35/hour

Where to look: WeLocalize, Lionbridge

11. Translator

What you’d do: Translate documents and provide interpretation over the phone or by video. These might be court documents, contracts, scripts, medical records or any number of other documents.

Good if you: Are fluent in another language, can work on deadlines.

Average Pay: $11.30–$44.87/hour

Where to look: VerbalizeIt, Ubiqus, SDL, American Translators Association

12. Pet Sitter or Walker

What you’d do: Take care of other people’s companion animals in your or their home, either daycare or overnight. This could include walking, playing, feeding and lightly grooming animals.

Good if you: Like pets and are able to give them some exercise like walking or playing fetch (when appropriate — after all, it could be a fish or a hamster, too).

Average Pay: $13-$25/hour

Where to look: You can join up with local pet-sitting companies. Or check out Rover, Wag and Fetch.

13. Notary Public (Remote, Online)

What you’d do: Authenticate and witness signatures and authenticate that documents are legitimate. Indicate that the signatures were made in your presence without conflict.

Good if you: Live in a state that permits remote notarizations; are already a notary public or willing to undergo the certification process (criteria vary by state); are detail oriented and have an office/dedicated space in your home.

Average Pay: $2-$75 per signature for regular documents or $20 per hour if you are hired for multiple documents.

Where to look: Find more information on becoming a notary and advertising your services at the National Notary Association. Find information about start-up costs here.

14. Mystery Shopper

What you’d do: Evaluate customer service calls, collect pricing information by telephone and write up reports about the calls. Remember, don’t take any job that requires money up front from you. Those are usually mystery shopper scams.

Good if you: Have a good phone with a reliable signal, good conversational skills and the ability to write detailed reports.

Average Pay: $7.25-$55.38/hour, though it might be per occasion.

Where to look: This article provides more detailed information on five mystery shopper companies providing opportunities in 2024.

15. Proofreader

What you’d do: Check articles for readability, proper grammar, formatting and consistent style. Some companies pay per word. Ask about average article lengths before signing up.

Good if you: Are computer savvy and have excellent grammar, writing, spelling and reading skills.

Average Pay: $13.70-$43.39/hour

Where to look: Proofreading Pal, Cambridge Proofreading

16. Data Entry

What you’d do: Enter information into a database, create spreadsheets, verify information.

Good if you: Are detail oriented, computer savvy, a fast typer and have good pattern recognition. Also need a good internet connection.

Average Pay: $11.92-$28.44/hour

Where to look: Robert Half International, Data Dimensions, Megatypers

The Penny Hoarder contributor JoEllen Schilke writes on lifestyle and culture topics. She is the former owner of a coffee shop in St.Petersburg, Florida, and has hosted an arts show on WMNF community radio for nearly 30 years. Reporting from former contributor Kelly Gurnett is included in this post.