Grandparents do £300 work a week: should they cash in?
Filed under: Retirement
So just how much is all this free work worth, and should they cash in?
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ChildcareThe school summer holidays involve a massive amount of leaning on the older generation. The RIAS Summer Holiday Helpers study, highlights that 20% of grandparents say they regularly holiday with their children and their grandchildren for the sole purpose of providing childcare assistance.
However, the return to school is no escape. According to research from Saga, some 44% of grandparents take their grandchildren to school - including 50% of those in their late 60s. One in ten take them to school at least once a week, every week.
RIAS found that this isn't just a taxi service. On average, grandparents now spend 10 hours every week looking after their grandchildren. Peter Corfield, Managing Director at RIAS, comments: "The unstable financial climate and the rise in childcare costs has meant more and more parents have to return to work earlier than they have had to in previous years and grandparents are providing a fundamental benefit to UK families."
"With the cost of childcare rising by 5.8% this year, grandparents in the UK have continued to offer support in 2012. If we were to pay UK grandparents for the childcare they provide it would equate to £11 billion each year, which shows the massive contribution grandparents are giving every day."
Other jobsAside from childcare, there are a number of jobs that grandparents find themselves doing. Many have discovered that the current generation of parents picked up few of the handy skills of the previous generation. In wealthier times they were happy to pay someone else to put up shelves or mend a leaky pipe. Now grandparents are stepping into the breach.
And as both parents are likely to work, they may also find themselves doing every-day jobs such as waiting in for deliveries or mowing the lawn, to take the pressure off. And its not just families. Grandparents are a major source of voluntary work.
Cashing in?At the same time as all this work, however, grandparents are often working hard to make ends meet. So should they cash in on the work they are already doing?
There are plenty of opportunities. If you are walking your grandchildren to school every day, it's not a great deal more taxing to take a handful of kids from the road. In the process you can easily make £30 a day. If you are willing to hang on to them for a couple of hours after school too, you can double that, and make £300 a week for four hours work a day. Of course, you will need the right accreditation in order to be able to offer childcare, but it may be worth the effort.
If your handyman services are proving invaluable, you may not need to branch out in a big way to make money, just get your kids to offer your services around their circle of friends. If they are anywhere near as incompetent as most of their generation you could easily find yourself working for £9 an hour for four hours a day - making £45 a day, or £225 a week.
If you are a volunteer there is every chance you have transferable skills that an employer would be interested in. Working in a charity shop could easily be transformed into working for a retailer with an inclusive approach to older employees. Again you can easily turn this into £200 a week or more - depending on how much work you want to do.
In any of these cases, grandparents can push the boundaries of what they are already doing, and earn £1,000 a month or more. This could make a dramatic difference to the income of a retired household.
Of course, there are some interesting issues here. There is the question of whether you are doing these things for love - either for your family or a charity - and you don't want to trade it for work. Then there is the question of whether adding in a little paid work would make very little difference to your day, so why not?
What do you think? let us know in the comments.