Today in The Wall Street Journal Holman Jenkins had an editorial called “Robots to the Rescue?” The theme of the editorial is the need for robots and automated processes to take care of all of the needs of aging baby boomers. The idea was that because there will be fewer workers, we’ll need more machines to take care of things. Examples included the automated driving car being developed by Google and automated pill sorting machines.
It may be true that some automation will be needed. There are also a lot of people sitting around claiming that there are no jobs to be had. This includes thousands (millions?) of new BAs and BSs who have moved back into their old rooms at their parents homes. How about putting this available labor together with the need for elderly home care and healthcare.
A lot of what is needed is people to just be there while family members are working to make sure that the elderly are safe. Perhaps one would cook a few meals and help with some light housekeeping, but a lot of time would be spent providing needed company. There would also still be a lot of downtime available for looking for other work, surfing the internet, writing a book, or playing World of Warcraft. This could be a tremendously rewarding experience – a chance to keep someone out of a nursing home. Figure maybe $80 per day (or about $1600-$2000 per month) or more for a job with a lot of free time.
There is also a need for people to run errands. Picking up prescriptions and buying groceries. Taking people to doctor’s appointments and senior centers. Figure maybe $10 per trip, resulting in an income of $50 per day or more for a few hours worth of work.
And what about yard work? As people get older there will be more and more need for help with the yard. Sure, there are a lot of lawn services, but they charge a lot and they don’t do everything. Maybe clean the gutters in the fall for $30 per house. During the fall and spring one could make more than a thousand dollars a week and get to work outside while the weather is nice. Maybe help trim the hedges or weed the beds. Minor home repairs could also be done.
There is also a lot of travel. Having saved for years a lot of people are now spending summers or winters in another location. How about offering to house sit while people are gone to take care of pets, plants, and the mail. This would be a great job for a teenager or a college student.
In each of these cases, one could certainly earn some extra income. Remember the way to get and keep customers is to provide a valuable service that is more than worth the price. If one really wanted to make money, however, one would need to help more people. This means starting a business that provides one or several of these services. Maybe you have a lot of friends who are waiting for their big break as well. Maybe line up a few jobs for them and keep a bit of the revenue in exchange for the referral. Who knows, this could turn into something big while you’re waiting for something else.
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Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.