Friday, April 30, 2021

Part Time Work, Side Gigs and Side Hustles

 I read recently that 2 out of 3 retirees do not plan to return to work. That means 1 out of 3 do plan to return to work. Many return to work for monetary reasons and some return to work due to boredom or missing the work environment. Retirees often monetize their hobby in someway by selling their paintings or crafts. I don't think I would count this as returning to work. If you are selling your latest crocheted sweater or handmade wooden bench, I would say this fits more in the category of side gig or hustle. If your hobby brings you great joy and you can make a little money off of it, why not? Any sales could offset supply costs for your personal projects.

Shortly before I retired, my wife and I dabbled in reselling items on Poshmark. We would purchase name brand items at thrift stores and then post them on our store in the Poshmark app. We were successful and got to the point of making $100-150 profit per month. To me it was more fun than it was a money making side gig. I got excited when we got an offer of $5 on something we paid 75 cents for. Shipping was paid for by the buyer and all we had to do was print the label, place it on the box and send it off with our mail carrier or take it to the post office. After a couple of months that whole thing just got old to me and I quit it due to a full closet of "inventory" and having to interrupt my busy retirement schedule. I can see how you could make some decent money by reselling items on places like Poshmark, Facebook Market, eBay, etc. 

Another side hustle I have not really explored is reselling books on Amazon. I often see guys at the thrift stores scanning the barcode on books with a little device. When it beeps he pulls the book off the shelf for purchase. I asked one guy if he was reselling on Amazon. He said he did and that he made about $400 on his last load of books. My understanding is that you ship your box of books to Amazon to store until they sell. When I inquired online, I found that there are storage fees, shipping fees and handling fees. I don't know what the gadget was that I've seen the guys using to scan the books. I'm assuming it gives them some type of info on what the book is selling for but I just don't know. All of the reselling side hustles require a lot of time in locating your items, listing them for sale and shipping. You would have to get it streamlined or do a large volume to make it worth your time.

I have been retired now for a year and ten months. About two months ago I began doing a little contract work. With this contract, I can take as many hours as come available. So far, I have only worked about 28 hours and I'm not sure how often I will take on work. I currently have no plans to seek other employment opportunities and certainly don't want a full time job of any kind. I have considered getting a notary license and offering some mobile notary service. I'm not sure this would be worth my time or not but I'm sure some make a little money at it. 

I have a hobby of metal detecting. I cashed in about $185 worth of coins at the end of last year. That amount probably didn't cover my battery and gasoline costs for the year, so I don't consider it a hobby that I have monetized yet. I'm sure there are many hobbies that could result in some extra cash. I would suspect a woodworker, quilt maker, gardener and many other hobbyist could generate a side income if one wanted to.

There are many ways to supplement retirement income through part time work, side gigs and side hustles. Have you gone back to work in some form or fashion? If so, what are you doing and how often are you doing it? If you haven't retired yet, are you doing any outside work for extra cash? Do you have a unique hobby that also provides a little income? If you do have outside income, what do you use it for? Do you use it to pay your monthly expenses or does it go into a jar for that dream trip to Europe?   

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Keeping Your Word

 "To keep one's word" is to do what one promised. 

A person's word used to be worth everything. In modern times, it often appears that keeping your word means very little. Keeping your word builds people's faith and trust in you and makes you someone your friends and family can depend on. I have often sold items on craigslist or Facebook and had potential buyers promise that they would purchase the item or promise a day or time to meet and then never respond again and never show up. This is a small example of keeping your word. A larger example would be Bernie Madoff who recently died in prison for defrauding thousands of people of $65 billion  Madoff had promised these people he would take care of their money and most lost everything. Keeping your word is rarely done in the political world. You usually get told what they think you want to hear to garner your vote and then they do something that is totally opposite once in office.

Keeping your word can be as simple as showing up on time, doing small chores or favors. Or it can be as complicated as taking care of larger items such as probating a will or raising someone's children after a tragic death. One of the biggest promises made that gets broken all the time is the promise at marriage to stay faithful and true in any circumstance. That promise is tossed away these days as if it means nothing.

I know you are tired of hearing about Evel Knievel in this blog, but I am reading his biography and learning more about the man. One of his good qualities was his devotion to keeping his word. Knievel often made jumps that he knew were not going to be successful for the simple reason that he promised that he would. If he promised to jump 16 cars, he would attempt to jump 16 cars even if he didn't feel physically sound or if his motorcycle was not running perfectly. He would often have these doubts before a jump or at the top of the ramp but knew he had promised the crowd he would make the jump. To me, he took his word a little to seriously in these situations. He could have gracefully declined to jump because of issues that made it unsafe. I think that would not have diminished "keeping his word" under those circumstances. But to Knievel, he felt that he had to keep his promise even if it meant injury or death. You have to admire a guy for that kind of commitment, and then shake your head and say "that dude's crazy!". 

I can only think of one time where a man gave his word numerous times to me and failed to follow through on something major. In the late 1990's, I had purchased a 1973 Mustang convertible. It needed a lot of bodywork repair and a new paint job. I got a great quote at a local body shop and the shop owner was as nice as could be. He made promises on everything he could do to the car and gave me a great price and quick turnaround estimate. I fronted some of the money to help with supply costs. After months of back and forth with this guy, and numerous promises to complete the job, the car was not done. Every few weeks I would check on the progress and get new excuses and new promises. He had financial issues and moved his shop, and my car, to another location. Another few months of back and forth and I finally got my car back with a shoddy paint job. I was just happy to get the car back and in decent shape. This man had given me "his word" many times, and kept breaking it time after time. I was so upset and bitter with this guy. I later found out that he had a cocaine problem and went to prison. After prison he showed up at my house one day to apologize for his past behavior and again gave me "his word" that he would pay me back for my losses. As you can guess, I never heard from this guy again.  Sure, I've had the small disappointments in selling something and the person not show up or respond as promised, but nothing more serious than the car issue. I can't imagine losing a large some of money due to fraud or losing a marriage due to infidelity or losing a good friend due to lies and deceit.

In life and in retirement, we all need to strive for the reputation that we are trustworthy, honest and that we will keep our word. If you promise something, follow through, or at least explain why you can't keep the promise. Most of us are understanding if we are told that something can't be accomplished due to a legitimate reason. Surround yourself with people who keep their word. These are the people you can depend on when times are bad and who will celebrate with you when times are good.

Have you had any major issues with people breaking their word and their promises? What is your take on someone's "word"?  

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

101 New Things Update

 This post is an update to my post of 101 New Things for 2021. In that post I was up to 18 on my list. I have since added the following:

  1.   Sincerely Coffee 
  2.   Bingo Hall   
  3.   Waldo’s Pizza in KC
  4.   Second Best Coffee KC  
  5.   Evel Knievel Museum  
  6.   Joes BBQ KC 
  7.   Messenger Coffee in KC  
  8.   Top Golf 
  9.   Columbian food 
My favorite new thing on this list was the Evel Knievel Museum. In my post about taking risks, I wrote about how he was my hero when I was a young boy. I found out about the museum while researching that post and knew I had to make a visit. The museum is attached to a Harley Davidson dealership in Topeka, KS. It was worth the trip. The museum was well done and had many original items including motorcycles, leather suits and his semi truck and trailer. It also has a lot of cool memorabilia and personal stories about Knievel. As a kid, I just knew he jumped things on a motorcycle. Now after the museum, I discovered he was part crook, part conman, part showman and a daredevil. If you are ever passing through the area, I highly recommend a visit. 

My wife and I enjoyed the Bingo also. We have played on a cruise ship and played as kids but we had never been to an actual bingo hall. It was very fast paced and we enjoyed it but we will probably stick to the bingo on cruise ships in the future.

 Another one I really enjoyed was a trip to Top Golf with my son and son-in-law. I'm terrible at golf and just as terrible at Top Golf. It was a lot of fun playing the different golf scoring games while hanging out with two great guys. 

So, I now sit at 27 new things done out of 101. I still have a long way to go. And, the sardines I had purchased to try as a new thing got moved from the kitchen island to the pantry. I still hope to get up the courage to give them a try!

Thursday, April 15, 2021


 I touched on collections in my post on thrift stores because I often notice a group of things on the shelves that I figured were donated from someone's collection. Most of us collect something during our lives. As a kid, I collected coins and stamps and due to my love of reading I collected Louis L'amour western books. I never got too serious about the coin collection but did fill up a penny book or two. As a kid, I didn't have money to go to a coin store to fill in the gaps. My collection included coins I found in change or that my dad had given me. I was more serious about stamp collecting. I had several stamp albums and a lot of newer stamps that my parents had bought me or that I had soaked off of letters. I had a large assortment of old letters and postcards found in our house when my parents first  bought it. Most were dated in the 1920's or so. I continued to collect stamps in early adulthood when I worked as a mailman. Every once in awhile I would pick up a letter with old postage on it on my route. The letter would have multiple old stamps with 3, 5, and 7 cents stamps to make up the newer postage rates. Several times I knocked on the doors of the customers and offered to buy their remaining old stamps. Most of the time, the husband had passed and the wife was just using the stamps at face value and they were happy to sell them to a me to add to my collection. I continued to buy a few stamps over the years at stamp shops and then lost interest a few years back. I still have the collection and have promised them to my son.

Currently, my wife has a small collection of depression era dishes but that is about our extent of collecting at the moment. We have a few items here and there that are antiques or we received when my parents passed. I don't consider any of that a part of a collection, although they would fit into reasons #1 or #2 listed below. I found that there are nine common reasons people collect things:

    1. Family and emotional meaning- photos, greeting cards, flower petals, seashells and other memory items

    2. To connect to their childhood- sports cards, comic books, dolls, miniature cars and other things

    3. Knowledge and Learning- books, magazines and newspapers

    4. Historical Collecting- historical memorabilia, autographs, artifacts

    5. Pleasure and Enjoyment- art, wine, music boxes, posters, concert tickets and shirts

    6. Collect as an Investment- rare and vintage items, stamps, coins, toys, rare whiskies

    7. Social Interaction- flea markets, swap meets and auctions

    8. Recognition and Prestige- having the best and most valuable collection

    9. Thrill of the Hunt- joy and excitement of finding a treasure for the collection

When I was younger, my grandmother had a collection of dog figurines. I don't know how it started but once she began, everybody began to bring her a dog for her collection. She had a line of shelves in her living room with every type of dog figurine you can imagine. Some had writing on the bottom notating when she received them. I don't know whatever happened to her collection, but I assume it wound up in an estate sale or a thrift shop. I had an aunt that collected clown figurines. I think one of my sisters collected cat figurines when she was younger. 

Collecting can get out of hand, just watch an episode of "Hoarders". Some people have entire rooms to house their collections. Some people have huge garages to house their car collection or sign collection. I remember some time ago seeing a news story on a woman's salt and pepper shaker collection. Her entire house had glassed in floor-to-ceiling cases holding her collection. They were on every wall in every room and down hallways. It was a huge collection! What we collect is often important and holds value only to the collector. I can admire your salt and pepper shaker collection, but I sure don't want to own it myself.  

I'm sure many a collection has been reduced or liquidated in retirement as some may downsize and not have room for their collection in a smaller home or apartment. Some collections may have been liquidated or given away due to change of interest. Some collections are probably in boxes in attics, basements and storage units. Retirement provides the opportunity to dust off old collections and for some to get back to enjoying what they have put on the shelf for lack of time or money. 

What do you collect and why? Does your collecting fit into one of the 9 reasons listed above? Have you done more collecting in retirement than before since you have more time to devote to it? Did you once have a collection that you regret parting with? Do you have a collection that has taken over your house or your life? How about unusual collections, anyone have something uncommon?


Friday, April 9, 2021



How's your patience in retirement? I haven't ever been a real patient person. As a young boy I had terrible patience. I loved model cars. I would get them for birthday and Christmas presents or I would save my allowance up to buy a new model car. I would gather my paints, glue and model and set up on a table or desk to dive into putting together the pieces. This is where my lack of patience comes in. the model car would come with some large pieces such as the car top and bottom and then have all the smaller parts delicately attached to the plastic support. To have a great car in the end, you should carefully cut the pieces from the support, sand the edges smooth where it was attached and then paint the parts as you see fit. I never have patience to let paint dry. I would paint a few parts for the engine and would be so ready to put it together that I often grabbed the "dry enough" piece and glue it to the next piece. I often would up with fingerprint smudges on the part and ugly areas where the wet glue mixed with the "dry enough" paint. I finally would lose all patience and glue the whole thing together as quick as possible. I didn't have days to get this model together, I needed it done in an hour! My models always looked a little bad and the wheels tended to be angled in because I didn't let the glue set before I sat the whole thing on the shelf.

Also as a young boy, I liked fishing. Fishing is one of those things you definitely need patience. But this boy found a way around all the waiting! I fished for catfish and would fish on the bottom without a bobber. To get around the waiting issue, I would take two or three rod and reels, bait them up and throw the line out to the middle of the pond. Then the genius in me would lodge the rod and reel into a fork in a young tree so it wouldn't get dragged into the water. Wala! I would leave and tend to other business and return in an hour or two to find a fish or two on the hook. Problem solved!

In retirement I find I have a little more patience. I don't feel the rush to get things done as quickly as I used to. When working, I knew I had to do yardwork, house maintenance and errands in the limited hours after work or on the weekends. So, there was always a little sense of urgency to get things done. Now, if I don't get the lawn mowed on the weekend, it can wait until Monday or Tuesday or any day and at anytime. I now find myself taking a little longer on tasks just because I can. I have more patience at the grocery store and am no longer in a hurry to get checked out, because I don't have to rush home and get the lawn done by dark. My patience has gotten worse lately with one thing- idiots sitting at a green traffic light absorbed with checking the latest emergency text or facebook post on their phone. Drives me crazy!

My friend Greg has tremendous patience and we all need to take a lesson from him. Greg was my next door neighbor for about twelve years. One day he brought home the bones of an airplane on a trailer and told me he was going to build his own plane. I would go over and check on his progress every once in awhile. He would patiently be sanding, painting or running cables for controls. He never appeared to be in a hurry and took his time on the little things as well as the bigger things. I, on the other hand, would have tried to get it built in a week. I guess if you want patience in anything it would be in the guy building an airplane! Greg did most everything himself. He did metal work, fiberglass, paint and everything else involved in building a plane. He completed it after three years and seven months of patient labor. He told me he would work at least 10 minutes a day even if it was just sweeping out the garage. Greg now enjoys flying his plane and must have tremendous pride in knowing he built it himself.  What a beautiful plane too!

Greg's mantra of "10 minutes every day" could be used in any task. That reminds me of the old saying "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time". By breaking down large tasks into "bites" we can accomplish the big things a little bit at a time. Perseverance is the key. Thanks for the lesson Greg!
How has your patience changed in retirement? Are you more patient with some things than others? Do you have any great stories like Greg's quest to build a plane?


Monday, April 5, 2021

What's Your Story?


My daughter gifted me with StoryWorth for Christmas last year. I had never heard of it. She selects a question every week that is sent to me via email. I answer the question, add photos if I want, and send it back. At the end of the year StoryWorth puts it all in a bound book. It has been a great gift! The questions are thought provoking and have brought up some great memories. Most of the questions and answers would probably never have been shared if not for this process. You don't normally think about sitting down and sharing your memories with your kids or grandkids when you get together. This is a great way to have a recorded history of my memories and experiences. The questions include first job, first car, best day, favorite cartoon, best holiday memory, etc. There are some thought provoking questions such as "If you could travel back in time and return safely, what period would you go back to?" and "What things matter most to you in life?".

There are other ways to pass down your memories. There are "Letters To My Grandchild" and other books that you can fill in the blanks with your stories. You could also do a daily journal. I don't do a daily journal, but what a great way to pass on some of your thoughts and memories. Not long after my daughter was born, I began to journal about her growing up. I wrote in a spiral notebook and kept small items in the side pocket to remember the activities. She loved play money, so I put in one of the bills. I put in ticket stubs from movies and other activities. I started adding my son's activities when he was born. I wrote in "The Book" as we called it up to and including the day she got married and presented it to her that morning. I cried knowing it was the end of an era for me as she was about to walk down the aisle to a whole new life. My son will also get a copy. I still enjoy reading my copy and remembering those great times and memories of both my kids.  

About two years ago, I started a travel journal. I bought a nice leather journal and have written about a couple of trips so far. This journal is mainly  to remind me of trips taken and places visited. But, I suppose, it could be interesting to future generations if it lasts that long.

My wife has been doing a little family tree research and has come across a few stories of our ancestors. It is a shame we don't know more details about their lives. I wish I had a journal from each one so I could look back and really get to know them and the time they lived in. I guess it is never too late to jot down our history as we know it with our own stories and experiences. I'm glad I'm able to do it through this StoryWorth and through "The Book".

Do you journal or use some other means to put your experiences to paper or computer?  One of my earlier blogs touched on photos and videos, can you think of any other ways  to preserve our history for future generations?

Even better,  "If you could travel back in time and return safely, what period would you go to?".