Side hustles for the Over-50s
In some ways, it’s the ultimate Generation Z expression: the "side hustle", which promises extra money for any number of gig economy, freelance or other labours.
The term goes back to the 1950s as long before COVID, unemployment and uncertainty, there were imaginative, energetic and needy people who found ways to earn a buck on the side.
There are long lists of available side hustles; one website has 51 suggestions just for Australians alone. But given many rely on labours such riding a bike or confidence in the digital economy how suitable are they for FiftyUp Club members?
For my money, competing with any number of much younger and faster food delivery cyclists or going up against digital natives with seductive Instagram posts is a non-starter.
Driving with a platform like Uber or delivering food with Uber Eats might be possible, but I wonder if the returns could compensate for the costs and hassles.
There’s also blogging and freelance work such as editing, graphic design, book-keeping, transcribing etc - again, if you have the skills and the time and the patience to develop your market.
If all this sounds a little negative, my excuse is that the older generations have generally enjoyed the benefits of more secure employment with all the extras and didn’t need side hustles.
In my case in journalism, it was called "freelance work" which included all kinds of little earners your principal employer didn’t need to know about.
One euphemism was "foreign orders" which involved writing stories for another publisher usually disguised with a nom de plume and, if lucky, on a cash basis.
And there were always part-time jobs the fully employed took on to raise funds to buy a house, have a holiday or clear their debts.
But going to the local RSL asking if they had any ‘side hustles’ going in the bar perhaps didn’t cut the mustard. It just didn’t sound very loyal.
Times have changed, and the young do not necessarily expect work to look after them. They have to look after their work first, which is where side hustles comes into their own.
Without getting into the lengthy debate on the ups and downs of the gig economy, if this is your future, you probably need side hustles to protect your income and spread the risk of losing work.
And older workers, who have faced their share of job losses and age discrimination, may need them to earn money for any number of good reasons such as topping up their super.
One point to remember is that an honourable side hustle is just that and not a full-time job. It could perhaps grow into your dream career or make you into a millionaire, but it’s not very likely.
Renting out your car, your garage and even your driveway might be a handy earner, although the taxman is getting very wise to these activities, it’s at best a supplement only.
Teaching, looking after lawns or pets, cleaning and even turning a hobby such a yoga into a paying job can all qualify. As can ‘flipping’ or buying items for one price, i.e. the Rembrandt you pick up for $10 at a garage sale and sell to a collector at another (dream on).
The idea for this blog came about as I have just become an authorised marriage celebrant which I refer to as a side hustle. I don’t expect or plan to earn very much for joining couples in matrimony, but I value the joy and surprises of the experience.
There are endless opportunities only dependent on how much you may need the money, or want to spend your time and what kind of return or satisfaction the side hustles may offer.
So what are you going to do?
Here's Finder’s list of 51 side hustles...
Any information is general advice, it does not take into account your individual circumstances, objectives, financial situation or needs.