Dear Savvy Senior,
Can you recommend some popular work at home jobs for retirees? I'm interested in earning a little extra cash, but would also like to stay at home and have a flexible schedule.
If you have a computer with high-speed Internet access and a home phone, there are unlimited work-at-home opportunities for retirees, depending on your skills and interest. But beware of scams. Work-at-home scams that offer big paydays without much effort are rampant on the Internet.
The best way to avoid these scams is to use websites that weed out scammers like the ones mentioned in this column, and never invest any of your own money without thoroughly checking out the business with the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org. It's also a good idea to use search engines like Google or Bing to research a potential employer to make sure it's legitimate.
Here are a few popular home-based career opportunities to check out, along with some trustworthy resources to help you search for employment.
Customer-service agent: These jobs answer inbound customer calls for big companies - you don't place telemarketing calls. Agents earn an average of $8 to $15 an hour and you can usually set your own hours and pick an employer whose products or services are suited to your knowledge and interests. To find these jobs see arise.com, alpineaccess.com, liveops.com and workingsolutions.com.
Web search evaluator: Most large search engines like Google and Bing rely on home-based evaluators to test the accuracy of online search results, examining different search terms and the websites they turn up. Basic Internet skills are required and the pay ranges between $10 and $15 per hour. See lionbridge.com/careers and leapforceathome.com to apply.
Tutor: If you're a college graduate, and have expertise in English, math, science or social studies, you could make money as an online tutor at tutor.com/apply. Tutors work with students from grade school through college and make between $10 and $15 an hour.
Transcriptionist: If you have good typing skills, there are transcriptionist jobs that pay around $10 per hour for typing verbatim accounts of board meetings, presentations, conference calls, etc. Some companies that hire transcriptionists include rev.com, tigerfish.com, ubiqus.com and ctran.com.
Translation services: If you're fluent in more than one language, you can do interpretation over the phone, or translate documents or audio files not just word-for-word, but often with cultural differences in mind. Learn about opportunities at telelanguage.com, sdl.com, verbalizeit.com, ubiqus.com and atanet.org. The pay can range from $15 to $40 an hour or more for languages in high demand.
Write or edit: If you have some writing experience, freelance writing assignments are available online and pay around $10 to $20 an hour. Contact writersmarket.com, freelancewriting.com and writerfind.com for opportunities. Or, if you're a skilled writer, or have expertise in a particular area like food, travel, art, etc. consider submitting writing samples to magazines, trade publications, newsletters, websites or local newspapers as a freelance writer. Proofreading is another option, if you have some editing experience this pays $12 to $20 per hour. See firstediting.com and cactusglobal.com to look for proofreading jobs.
Selling online: At sites like ebay.com, craigslist.org, amazon.com and etsy.com, you can sell your own stuff, or you can purchase items at garage sells, flea markets or online and resell them for a profit.
If you don't find these options appealing, try flexjobs.com, which lists thousands of legitimate work-at-home jobs from nearly 3,700 employers. You can gain access to their listings for $15 for one month, $30 for three months or $50 for a year.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of "The Savvy Senior" book.