Your Diamond Years: Retirement income looking low? Don’t turn to a life of crime

21 May 2015 | COMMENTS: 0 | Author: Ryan Smith | General

Patrons of Hatton Garden safety deposit in London were left in shock as criminals staged a break-in over the Easter weekend, stealing millions of pounds worth of jewellery, cash and other valuables.

It’s emerged this week that detectives have arrested and charged eight men on suspicion of the burglary, with six of the men being of retirement age, the eldest being 76 years old.

They are: Terry Perkins, 67; Daniel Jones, 58; Hugh Doyle, 48; William Lincoln, 59; John Collins, 74; Brian Reader, 76; Paul Reader, 50; and Carl Wood, 58.

In fact, over the last few years the UK has seen an increase in pensioners turning to a life of crime; dubbed ‘Saga Louts’ by some areas of the mainstream media. Stats from Greater Manchester police show they’ve arrested almost 4,000 pensioners since 2009, dozens of these for shoplifting and fraud.

But even though annuity rates are low, and times are tight for many across the UK, it’s still no excuse for turning to a life of crime to fund your retirement. Here are some alternatives to explore, instead of grabbing the bank blueprints and a swag-bag.

Start a Business

You’ll likely have more free time than you know what to do with in retirement, and by this stage of your life you should know both what you’re good at and what you’re passionate about; why not start making money from it?

Success stories include 65 year old Graham Little, who started a company providing CPC driver training for HGV drivers, as well as Steve and Jenny Davies who own the Dinosaurland Fossil Museum in Dorset.

Even Colonel Sanders didn’t start the KFC food chain until he retired, so who knows what you could achieve!

Become a Landlord/Landlady

The new pension freedoms that were introduced back in April are allowing pensioners to receive a cash boost at the start of their pensions. This has seen many predicting that retirees are set to purchase Buy-to-let properties and take on the role of landlord or landlady in their retirement.

A financial advisor will be able to talk you through the upfront costs, as well as the tax implications of both withdrawing large amounts of your pension for a home deposit, and of purchasing a buy-to-let property.


Yes, you can make money out of sitting at your laptop and writing! It takes some work to become established, but once you’re there you can start generating advertising revenue, charging companies to host guest blogs on your site, and even getting paid to add your expertise to other blogs.

The key is to find your niche, something you’re passionate about and know there is audience for; it could even be writing about being retired.

Do some research into WordPress and other blogging platforms and just start; it’s a learning curve, so don’t expect to be bringing in big money right from the start. But keep honing your writing skills and studying the best ways to get your blog noticed, and it could bring in a healthy supplement to your retirement income.

Be a Mystery Shopper

If you’re a fan of shopping, with the free time that retirement allows you, why not make some money out of it?

There are apparently around 50,000 mystery shopping visit carried out every month in the UK, some of the shoppers required to spend up to 8 hours a day visiting five to ten stores. This will typically earn you up to around £155 per day, as well as hotel, fuel and expenses reimbursement too. It’s not just shops, but restaurants and bars will also be checked out by mystery shoppers too.

It can be a full-time job, with some shoppers reporting that they can earn between £20,000 and £40,000 per year, not including benefits and perks. But it can obviously be tiring if you’re having to put that much work into it.

Still, if you can find a mystery shopping company looking for people in you locality (the mystery shopper forum over at Money Saving Expert may help), it might be worth seeing exactly how much you can top up your retirement income by, and it’s a much more secure option than becoming a jewel thief.

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