A notable number of Americans are working — and then working more. Nearly 2 in 5 adults (37 percent) have a side hustle, which means they’re working at something in addition to their primary jobs to earn money. For many, it’s a way of life.
Given inflation, rising interest rates and other costs, that sentiment may not be surprising. More than a quarter (28 percent) of “side hustlers” think they will always need to have additional sources of income to make ends meet, and 26 percent think they will always need a side gig for discretionary expenses.
Those views surprised Bankrate senior industry analyst Ted Rossman, especially in the context of the current robust job market. “The unemployment rate is about as low as it can go. In fact, recently we hit a more than a 50-year low,” he says. “I do think it's kind of alarming that if this is the situation in a good job market, what happens if and when the employment sector takes a turn for the worse?”
Younger generations are more likely to have side hustles, including more than half (53 percent) of Generation Z (ages 18 to 26) and 50 percent of millennials (ages 27 to 42), compared to 40 percent of Gen X (ages 43 to 58) and 24 percent of boomers (ages 59 to 77). But there are some very good reasons for people age 50-plus to cultivate a side hustle, says Nick Loper, host of The Side Hustle Show, a podcast that explores the world of side gigs.
“You’re probably at the peak earning power of your career — hopefully — and that’s a good place to be, but maybe you need to make some catch-up retirement contributions and the window starts to narrow,” Loper says. “Maybe you need to help your adult kids or support them through college, or make home repairs. Life gets more expensive.”
How to choose a side hustle
Side hustles can take many forms, ranging from freelancing or consulting in an area of expertise to opening an online storefront to renting out your possessions — including the swimming pool in your backyard.