Gig Economy: Which Generation Is Doing The Gig Work?

gig economy

Recently a news report has been making the rounds about how baby boomers are the generation making the most as workers of the gig economy. However, the report was based entirely on one company’s workers. Therefore, I got curious and wanted to dig deeper into this.

Are Baby Boomers Doing Best in the Gig Economy?

The Mercury News was just one of many sources that shared the news recently that baby boomers are thriving in the gig economy. Based on this report, baby boomers:

  • Took the most gigs
  • Earned the highest ratings from customers
  • Tend to do more of the physical labor jobs rather than admin work
  • Made the most money, out-earning millennials by $200+ monthly

The information comes from Wonolo, a company that gig workers can use to find jobs. The report revealed that workers range in age from 18 – 80+.

Why Baby Boomers May Thrive as Gig Economy Workers

If it’s true that baby boomers are the generation thriving most in the gig economy, then what’s causing that? There could be a any number of reasons.

First of all, if you’re Baby Boomer age and looking for work then perhaps you’re very motivated. Maybe you lost your job recently and find it hard to get new traditional work because of persistent ageism. Or perhaps you’re struggling as you support both your adult children and your elderly parents, so you have to take on extra gigs. Either way, you’re motivated to work a lot and earn as much as possible.

However, there could be more to it than that. Some suggestions in The Mercury News article include:

  • Maturity leads to a stronger work ethic and willingness to put in the effort
  • Experience means that you’re able to do the work effectively and efficiently
  • Baby boomers as a whole may be more reliable workers
  • After working other jobs for years, they find the work particularly enjoyable, so they put in the effort
  • With more experience, they may be able to command higher prices even in the gig economy

Are More Millennials Working in the Gig Economy?

The recent report indicates that Baby Boomers are doing better than other generations in the gig economy. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they make up a majority of the side hustle workforce. CBS News reports that nearly half of all working millennials have engaged in gig work for extra income. In contrast, less than 40% of Gen X and barely more than one quarter of Baby Boomers have taken gigs.

Gig Economy Differences Between the Generations

Members of Gen Z, Gen X, Millennials, and Baby Boomers are participate in the gig economy. Therefore, the question might not be who is doing the work but rather what’s the difference between their experiences. Fortune reports on twokey findings:

  • Baby Boomers often take gig jobs for better work-family balance. In contrast, younger generations seek to make more money with gigs as a “second job.”
  • Baby Boomers are most affected by, and worried about, the lack of benefits that come with working in the gig economy.

Deloitte Insights adds some additional information:

  • Millennials in the gig economy often rely on others (such as parents) to help pay some of their expenses. Those who choose the gig economy over a traditional job (instead of in addition to it as a side income) make less than their full-time employed peers.
  • Whereas Baby Boomers tend to get physical gig jobs, millennials often get jobs in admin and the arts. That said, maintenance is also high on the millennial gig list.

It’s also important to recognize that there are many different types of gig work. Some people participate mostly in the sharing economy (driving for Lyft, for example). In contrast, others take contract work in offices or do freelance jobs. The generations may vary in their job choices as well as their reasons for joining the gig economy.

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Want to Retire Early? Be Aware of These 5 Financial Risks.

early retirement

Many people want to take early retirement. If you’ve saved up enough money then why not? Well, first of all, you have to be sure that you’ve saved up enough money. Many people think that they have planned accordingly only to realize that there are a lot of financial downsides to early retirement.

Here are five of the biggest money problems that people tend to face in early retirement:

1. Failing to Plan Properly for Taxes

Did you know that many people are in a higher tax bracket at retirement than for much of their working career? This means that you’re likely to owe more at tax time than you’re accustomed to. Moreover, once you start taking out your 401K money, you’ll have to pay taxes on that.

Therefore, taxes in retirement can be pricey. If you haven’t planned ahead, then you’re going to have to readjust for that reality. If you retire early, then you’ll have to start figuring that out years ahead of your peers.

2. Years and Years of Spending Ahead

That brings us to the next key point. If you retire early then chances are that you’ll have more years of retirement. Therefore, you’ll have to make your retirement income stretch. If you retire at 55 instead of 65, that’s ten less years of earning and ten more years relying on retirement income.

3. Where Will Your Money Come From?

You won’t even be able to access some of your retirement funds, such as your 401K, until you hit a certain age. Therefore, you’ll have to figure out where you’re money is going to come from prior to that. If you haven’t planned in advance, then you can easily find yourself overspending in those early years. If you tap into your savings or refinance your home to cover those costs then you’ll have to find some way to make up for it later.

4. What About Healthcare?

Just because you retire early doesn’t mean that you can access Medicaid early. Therefore, you’re going to have to figure out how to pay for health insurance until you reach regular retirement age. If you’re not working anymore then you can’t count on employer rates. Your health insurance could get very expensive very quickly.

Even though you’ve retired early, you’re old enough that you can’t risk going without healthcare. If anything were to happen, your care costs would be exorbitant. Therefore, you do have to pay out of pocket for health insurance. How are you planning to do that if you’ve retired early?

5. You Don’t Maximize Your Retirement Benefits

If you take early retirement then you may not make as much money post-retirement as you could have. For example, if you have a job that pays a pension, the pension amount might be significantly lower if you retire early. Likewise, if you start access Social Security early (“early” currently means age 62) then you won’t get as much as if you’d waited. So, you start using the money sooner and yet you’re getting less of it than you could have. Waiting to retire could be well worth it.

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Time Freedom: Embracing an Abundance Mindset for A Better Quality of Life

time freedom

One of my favorite things about my life is the time freedom that I have. I worked hard to be independently-employed. The money I earn is nice but it’s simply a means to an end. The structure of this kind of work affords me the opportunity to define how I spend my time. Recently, I’ve been reading a book about abundance that allows me to take this to the next level.

What is Time Freedom?

Time freedom is really a very simple concept. It’s the ability to define how, where, and with whom you would like to spend your time. It is the cornerstone of why I love working freelance instead of 9-5.

Time freedom doesn’t mean that I don’t work. It means that I do work that I enjoy. More importantly, I’m able to adapt my work to a schedule that allows me to maximize my time. I’m able to do all of the things that I want to do in a day including my work.

The Fear of Scarcity Reduces Time Freedom

One of the traps that I’ve fallen into over the years is that of reducing my own time because of scarcity fears. I worry that I’m not going to make enough money. Therefore I devote more hours to work than is healthy. If I’m passionate about a project and really involved in it, then that’s different. However, if I’m driving myself to the brink of exhaustion because I want to earn more money, then I’m eating away into my own time freedom.

Embracing Abundance

Recently I’ve been reading The Abundance Project by Derek Rydall. The gist of his belief system is that we all have exactly what we need within us. In order to experience abundance, we merely need to recognize this fact.

Of course, he goes into a multi-step approach to practically realizing abundance. The main point, however, is that changing your perception from one of scarcity to one of abundance makes all of the difference in your life.

This makes perfect sense when it comes to time freedom. When I am in a scarcity mindset, afraid not to earn enough, I overwork. I don’t give myself the balance that I need. On the other hand, when I am in an abundance mindset, I balance everything better. I still give time to work. However, I use my time freedom to make sure to enjoy my other priorities as well.

Giving Time to What Really Matters

Abundance means so much more than just having more-than-enough money. In fact, to embrace an abundant lifestyle means digging deeper into core values. Money helps, and certainly aiming for an abundance of money is fine. However, when you look at what you really value, you realize that you need much more than money. Some of the things I personally value include:

  • Long walks with my dog
  • In-person chats with my friends
  • Attending performance art and other events in my city
  • Connecting regularly with my siblings
  • Spending time each day reading and writing
  • Creating art of various kinds

These are just a few of the things I want to focus on. Earning money isn’t on the list, though it’s necessary. In order to have these things, what I really need is time freedom. When I recognize how important it is to give my time to those things, I loosen up on a work focus. As a result, I more thoroughly enjoy each day of my life.

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