Americans delay retirement, looking to gig work to make ends meet
AARP data shows freelancing is on the rise among older workers
Rising prices are taking a bite out of Americans' budgets and market volatility is hammering their portfolios, leading many to reassess their plans for retirement.
A majority now plan to remain in the workforce longer than they originally planned or have abandoned the idea of leaving it altogether. But with the added threat of further layoffs, older Americans are increasingly looking to gig work to make ends meet, according to new data from AARP.
"With inflation and the cost of living weighing on people’s minds, many older adults are choosing to delay retirement," says Carly Roszkowski, vice president of financial resilience programming at AARP. A recent survey the organization conducted shows that of adults who are still working, more than half expect either to work in retirement or to never retire.
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The organization's latest study of workers age 40 and older found more than a quarter (27%) are now doing freelance or gig work. Of those, 89% said their primary motivation for taking on independent work was to make extra money. But nearly as many, 87%, said flexible work hours were another major driver for their decision.
"For those that retired during the pandemic and have returned or are considering returning to the workforce, gig or freelance jobs are often appealing because they provide people the opportunity to set their own hours and be their own boss," Roszkowski explained.
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Gig work is also viewed as a backup plan in an unstable labor market. In the same survey, older workers expressed worries about job security. Thirty percent of respondents said they think it is likely they could lose their job within a year, primarily because of a weak economy.
"The world of work changed with the pandemic," Roszkowski told FOX Business. "Many older workers were laid off or had to quit their jobs to take care of family members, and as they return they want more work-life balance."
That makes gig work an attractive option.
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"While gig and freelance work give older workers the opportunity to earn extra money, it’s also a way to make ends meet while having flexibility to care for parents, a partner, or children," Roszkowski added.