Yes, you read that correctly—the retirement of the future could mean an endless series of gig jobs, according to “Gig Economy Workers and the Future of Retirement,” a new report from Betterment.
Presently, one out of every three workers is a gig worker, and by 2020 that’s expected to grow to 40 percent of workers. And even though more and more people are joining the gig economy—some by choice, some out of necessity—it’s also expected that they’re going to have a hard time preparing for retirement.
Seventy percent of full-time gig workers already acknowledge that they won’t be able to sustain their current lifestyles in retirement, and 40 percent of gig workers also own up to feeling unprepared to sock away enough money to keep them in their current lifestyle once they get to retirement.
As a result, the report says, lots of them—whether full-time gig workers (who rely solely on gigs for income) or side-hustlers (those with full-time jobs who gig to bring in extra cash)—are planning on gigs to keep them going financially during retirement.
And the need to do so is no doubt there; According to Betterment, the gig economy “is a debt economy,” with more than half of gig economy workers resorting to gigging for financial reasons, not just for freedom and flexibility.
In fact, retirement catch-up is only part of their motivation to gig: 81 percent of gig economy workers say debt is a major reason they can’t afford to save for retirement.
With 16 percent of gig economy workers planning on having gig economy jobs to supplement their retirement, 12 percent of side-hustlers intending to hang on to a side-gig job as their main source of income after retiring from their traditional career, and 20 percent of full-time giggers planning on incremental gigs to provide their main source of income once they’ve “retired,” that means an awful lot of people aren’t going to be retired at all—and of course that doesn’t even count those holding conventional jobs who plan to delay or abandon any plans to retire.
In fact, a third of side-hustlers have a second job specifically to save money for retirement. And 49 percent of people aged 55 or older are saving for retirement with their side gig.
Surprisingly, although gig workers can be pretty tech-savvy, they’re not translating that knowledge into the ways in which they manage their personal finances.
According to the report, while 59 percent of respondents use a digital platform for their job, just 19 percent use a digital platform for saving and 28 percent use one for online investing.