Retired but Not Tired: How to Earn Money While You Sleep

Earning a consistent, passive income during retirement is more than just a luxury; it’s often a financial imperative. Given the rising costs of healthcare, longer life expectancies, and the need for a better quality of life in retirement, relying solely on traditional means like Social Security, pensions, and retirement funds can be risky. 

These fixed income sources may not adequately cover all expenses, especially when unexpected costs or economic downturns arise. Passive income provides additional financial security, allowing retirees to live more comfortably and engage in activities they enjoy without worrying about depleting their savings.

Here are some popular options:

Dividend-Paying Stocks

 Invest in stocks that pay dividends and generate a regular income stream without selling the principal investment. According to the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Report, dividend-paying stocks have outperformed non-dividend-paying stocks over long periods. In 2021, S&P 500 companies generally offer a dividend yield ranging from 1.5% to 2%.

Real Estate Investments

Buy real estate properties and earn rental income. According to, the median monthly rent in the U.S. is about $2038 for 2024. The average monthly rental in the U.S. rose substantially in 2021. Depending on location and management, real estate often provides a steady 3-5% annual return.

Peer-to-Peer Lending

One way to earn interest income is through online platforms to lend money to individuals or small businesses. Per P2P platforms like LendingClub, average annual returns have ranged from 4% to 6%, although this varies depending on risk tolerance and the loan grade you choose.

Bonds and Fixed Income Securities

Bonds are essentially loans that are taken out by companies or governments. They pay interest on a regular basis and then return the principal amount when the bond reaches maturity. The average yield for a 10-year U.S. Treasury bond is currently hovering around 4.12%. Corporate bonds often offer slightly higher yields, ranging from 4% to 8.5%, depending on the company’s credit rating. 

High-Yield Savings Accounts

One effective way to obtain higher interest rates is by considering the use of a high-yield savings account. Due to the Feds raising interest rates, many online banks are offering APY (Annual Percentage Yield) of around 5.2%.


Annuities provide a stable source of income by investing an initial amount of money in a financial product. According to the Insured Retirement Institute, 65% of retirees who own an annuity believe they can live comfortably throughout retirement, compared to 42% of retirees without an annuity.

Royalties from Intellectual Property

If you have a book, song, patent, or any intellectual property, you can license it to generate royalties. It’s challenging to provide average statistics for royalties, as they vary vastly depending on the popularity of the intellectual property. However, many authors earn around 10% to 15% royalties on books, while patents can yield anything from a few hundred to thousands of dollars annually.

Crowdfunded Real Estate

Invest in various real estate projects by using crowdfunding platforms, which provide a unique opportunity to invest in properties that would otherwise be beyond one’s reach. According to Statista, the global real estate crowdfunding market was estimated to be around $13.2 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow exponentially.

Automated Investment Platforms (Robo-Advisors)

Invest money through robo-advisors, which automate the investment process based on your risk tolerance and goals. According to a report by Deloitte, the assets managed by robo-advisors are expected to reach up to $1.2 trillion by the end of 2024, indicating growing confidence in this investment channel.

Tax Liens

Invest in tax lien certificates, which give you the right to receive the owed tax amount and interest. Tax Lien certificates typically yield between 3% and 7% interest annually, according to the National Tax Lien Association. However, the percentage varies by state, with some states, such as Florida, as high as 18%. Tax Leins are not for the faint of heart; rules and regulations must be followed and differ from county to county. 

Retirees must carefully consider the level of risk associated with each investment option and potentially consult a financial advisor. By diversifying their investment portfolio across different asset classes, retirees can optimize for risk-adjusted returns, thereby securing a stable passive income.