Not every senior citizen who retires has saved enough for a comfortable retirement, depending instead on Social Security payments. And why not? Social Security was supposed to be there for us – it was our retirement plan when we were raising our families.
Workers now know that it will take much more to retire with any comfort than Social Security can provide, if it even exists by the time they retire.
If you’re on Social Security and it’s a struggle to make ends meet, what do you do? There are limitations to how much you can earn and still draw your Social Security payment. Also, while many of the same jobs are open to you as are open to teenagers and young adults, you may not relish working at a fast food place, or health considerations may prohibit it. Anyway, you’re retired, right? And you shouldn’t have to work to survive during retirement!
Instead of looking for ways to make more money, how about making a game of seeing how much you can do and obtain without money? You don’t need money to get what you need. Money is a convenience, not a necessity, for many things.
Here’s one way to acquire things you need or want without working and without having to spend more of your Social Security check: The easiest way to get what you want or need without money is to barter or trade for it. Bartering or trading is an excellent way for seniors to obtain goods and services, because we have accumulated, in addition to, or instead of, goods, a lot of experience and expertise. Young people need that experience and if we offer it with a few stings attached, many of them are willing to trade what they know or can do. In other words, “know-how” is a salable (or tradable) commodity and you have it.
For instnce, you can offer to oversee a project or teach a skill and you’re offering something valuable to someone who doesn’t have the time, experience or confidence. What you know is worth a return of services or goods, no matter if you ever had a “career” or a profession of it. Men and women both have skills worth teaching to those who do not.
Your biggest challenge will be instigating a trade. How to go about it? Ask. Simply ask if anyone would like to trade something they have for something you have. Be specific, though, and be sure both of you understand the terms precisely. Decide ahead of time that you will not feel taken advantage of, even when it’s obvious (to you) that you have been. People have different values as well as morals and we need to consider that. Go into a barter transaction with the idea that you’ll live with whatever the outcome happens to be.
What to barter for? You could ask your gardening friend if he’d be willing to trade a pair of warm knitted socks for a half bushel of tomatoes. Or ask for an oil change, the cost of oil included, in exchange for babysitting. Or get your walk shoveled by teaching someone how to bake bread.
I know a gentleman who scored a year’s worth of fresh eggs by agreeing to plow his neighbor’s driveway after each snow. Since he has to plow his own driveway, it only takes a few minutes to get to the neighbors and do theirs. One woman even traded a dozen quarts of homemade salsa to get her kitchen painted!
A couple of cautions:
Remember that you’ll still owe taxes on the value of any bartered goods or services, so keep track of each transaction along with an estimated value. Remember, too, that taxes cost much less than paying the full cost of the goods or services.
This one takes some planning, but it’s well worth it if you obtain what you want: third party trading involves trading your goods to someone else, who gives a third party their goods, and the third party in return, gives you theirs. For instance, If Jane wants a piano and has a stove to trade and you want the stove, but you have a pedigreed dog to trade and no have a piano, look for someone with a piano who wants a dog. Give the dog to the third party. She or he then gives Jane the piano and Jane gives you the stove. Sure, it make take some time to set up a trade like this, but that’s half the fun, anyway, and you’ll appreciate that stove all the more.
Don’t become discouraged if your ideas don’t pan out at first. It sometimes takes awhile to get the hang of it and some people simply won’t be open to the idea at all, so just go on to the next possibility. Once you start asking people and practicing trading, your circle of potential traders will automatically grow as people pass information among themselves. Soon, you’ll have people asking you for trades – and you’re in business.