Starting a Small Business or Generating Income Ideas? by Bob Lowry


By Bob Lowry

I received an email from Dave, a reader in Oregon, who asked me to address a question that concerns him and many others. Here is a portion of his note:

My situation is that I’ll retire in just over 12 months and two weeks….June 30, 2015.  Yes I count the weeks!  Finances and health insurance are the gorilla issues for me, so ideas on a part time business venture (vs just getting a hourly wage job) would be of interest.

This is of keen interest because at 63 I’ll be paying for family health insurance coverage (I have two twenty something children on my policy so pay family rates).  The “bronze” group health premium is $14,400 per year (probably higher in a year when I begin paying 100%).  

If I’m self-employed or a small businessman these expenses are fully deductible.  As a simple retiree, I would have much less tax benefit (deductible after 10% of AGI…and not counting Obamacare tax credits based on income).

Anyway, I digress. I’d really like to hear from you and especially others about part time businesses that folk are using to bring in supplemental income and just fill up part of the day/week. For you, Bob, it was writing a book!

Dave is right, there are lots of folks who are looking for ideas to generate extra cash to help with unexpected situations, to fund a special vacation trip, or simply to feel more comfortable about one’s cash flow. The tax benefits can be enticing, even as a retired person.

As I have noted in other posts, I have been a travel guide in the Phoenix area, helping to transfer visiting business people here on conventions and incentive travel trips to various sightseeing spots, golf courses, and restaurants. The work is simple and pays rather well for part time work. I no longer do that type of work, but for almost five years it was a nice source of several hundred dollars a month. The only problem with this type of work is you have to live in one of the dozen or so cities in the U.S. that attract convention travel.

I have also used my writing to make extra money. Articles for PBS and other web sites, plus my two books, have generated enough to allow Betty and me a few extras in our retirement. Ads on the blog kick in a few hundred a year…enough for several nice dinners out!

Regular reader, Barbara (Zero to 60 and Beyond) sells her art work on the web, while I think RJ Walters still makes and sells wood furniture. Another Barbara sells quilts, while yet a third Barb (very popular name among my readers, apparently) makes extra spending money from her blog, Retire in Style.

So, for Dave, and everyone else who is anxious to find a way to put together a small business to generate some extra income and provide some tax advantages, here is your chance to tell us all what you do to add to your income. Any and all ideas are welcome.

Who knows, I may find an idea I love from your suggestions and run with it.

By Bob Lowry

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