If the lifestyle gurus are to be believed, starting a side-hustle is one of the surest paths to wealth at any age. But, on the whole, it is Millennials who have truly embraced the “Four Hour Workweek” and similar books.
Rejecting yesterday’s conventional wisdom – “Do well in school, go to college, get a good job, work hard for 45 years and retire” – younger workers are embracing freelancing, following their passions and planning their next job during the orientation for their current one.
I’ll leave the discussion of whether Millennials should just settle down and be a little more boring for another article. Instead, I want to try to persuade our older readers that starting a side hustle could be the difference between a luxurious retirement and decades of financial worry.
Here are 3 reasons that your 50s or 60s are the perfect time to start a side hustle.
Starting a Side Hustle is Like Strapping a Rocket to Your Retirement Plan
Let’s be honest. Saving for retirement is tough. In fact, it is so tough that the great majority of us are at risk of having a miserable time in our 70s and 80s. And, if Social Security stumbles, our struggles may go from “tough” to “life-threatening” in no time at all.
According to a March, 2016 study by GoBankingRates, 78% of 50-year-olds and 74% of 60-year-olds are behind on saving for retirement. And, with fewer years ahead of us, we have less time to let compound interest work for us. So, only dramatic changes to our lifestyle or earning potential can get us back on track.
Will our current jobs save us? Probably not! Despite the roaring economy of the last few years, wages have remained relatively flat. And, there is plenty of research to show that our careers, on average, slow down in our 50s and 60s.
Starting a side hustle – freelancing, consulting, writing, event planning or any other similar opportunity – has the potential to change the game. Since we are already accustomed to a certain quality-of-life, we can allocate the majority of any additional money we make to paying off debt or saving for retirement.
To take a simple example, if you had 15 years to retirement and, through your side hustle, were able to earn an additional $1,000 per month, you could end up with $200,000 – $300,000 more in your retirement account! Imagine the peace of mind (not to mention the practical benefits) that this money could give you!
Staring a Side Hustle Now Can Give You Productive (and Enjoyable) Work in Retirement
For our entire lives, we have been taught to think of retirement as a destination. Maybe this was the case for our parents’ generation, but, for most Boomers, retirement is a journey.
The sad truth is that the “retirement is a destination” mindset leaves many of us without viable work options in retirement. When we retire (or are forced out of our jobs) we lose our primary source of income. And, because we haven’t trained ourselves to think as independent consultants or business owners, we find ourselves working in jobs that are far below our skill level.
Don’t get me wrong; it is never too late to start a business or to make money as a consultant, writer, freelancer, real estate agent or tour guide. I’m simply saying that starting a side hustle in your 50s or 60s makes the process SO much easier.
The bottom line is that starting a side hustle now will prepare you for the reality of retirement tomorrow. At a time when other seniors are panicking and spending what little money they have on coaches and self-help books, you will be established in your business.
Your Side Hustle May Make You an Entrepreneur
Most people would argue that starting a side hustle is not the same as starting a business and, for the most part, they would be correct. After all, a side-hustle typically involves working for someone else and businesses ask you to work for yourself.
But, if side hustles and startups aren’t twins, they are at least cousins. They may not focus on the same activities, but, they require a similar mindset.
Think about it for a second. By this point in our careers, most of us have plenty of skills and work experience to draw on. Many of us have even thought about starting our own company. But, we don’t.
Why don’t more of us make the leap to entrepreneurship in our 50s and 60s? Some of us are afraid of rocking the boat or taking a financial risk. Others don’t have the confidence to start something ourselves. Still others have convinced ourselves that we need the permission of some gatekeeper – a venture capitalist fund, bank manager or partner – to get started.
Starting a side hustle eases our way into the entrepreneurial mindset. It allows us to keep our day jobs while earning a side income. And, since many of us will choose a side hustle that involves freelancing or consulting, it teaches us to work for ourselves.
I know dozens of people who started out as freelancers who have gone on to start their own successful businesses. To a person, they have told me that they would have never started a business without first starting a side hustle.
You *Finally* Have the Time to Take on Extra Work
I don’t know if I could have started a side-hustle in my 30s or 40s. Like many of you, I was too busy surviving as a mom, wife and career-woman to start something new.
Boy, do I kick myself for not starting a side-hustle in my 50s! After my kids left the house, I finally had the time to start something new. But, like so many people, I was comfortable in my corporate job and, perhaps somewhat foolishly, I still felt like I could climb the corporate ladder. So, I kept working 10-hour days and never looked for outside projects.
If you are in your 50s or 60s now, you probably have more free time than you have had in decades. Now is not the time to take your foot off the gas. It is the time to accelerate towards your future.
So, embrace the unknown, start your side hustle and get ready for the best years of your life ahead!
Have you started a side hustle after 50? What kind of side job most interests you? Writing? Consulting? Event management? Something else? Let’s have a chat!