Retired Baby Boomers now have the best of both worlds. They have freed themselves from the confines of an organizational life after putting in 25-30 years with a company or companies. Pension, IRA and savings in hand, they can now move to a different chapter in their life of travel, grandchildren, gardening or just plain doing nothing. However, if boredom sets in, if financial constraints require them to seek another job, or if they just want some play dough – cheer up, we live in a gig economy.
Boomers Can Get Paid for Each Gig
A gig economy is where organizations contract with independent contractors for short term “gigs” or temporary positions. A study by Intuit shows that 40 percent of American workers will be independent workers by 2020. For some, independent contracting can be more of a choice, going from project to project. They have the freedom to take on several different ventures and they are their own boss. They give up health care and other benefits a larger company would provide them, but they work on their own terms. This is a different environment than Baby Boomers experienced, where staying at the same company for an entire career was more of a feather in one’s cap because of the generous retirement benefits that came at the end of that career.
In 2016, the McKinsey Global Institute published a report showing that independent workers fell into four categories: free agents, who actively choose independent work and it is their primary income; casual earners, who use independent work for supplemental income and do so by choice; reluctants, who make their primary living from independent work but would prefer traditional jobs; and the financially strapped, who do supplemental independent work out of necessity.
Upsides of Going from Gig to Gig
For retired Baby Boomers, being a casual earner and cashing in on the gig economy only has upsides. Typically, benefits and all the trappings of the corporate life are behind them. They are living on their own terms now as age and retirement have set in. If they feel like taking on part-time work for a few months, the gig economy provides them numerous opportunities for short-term or project style work. If they want a steady part-time job at one business, the owners are usually happy to have them on contract, since the employer does not have to pay health care or taxes. If Baby Boomers want to work for one day – yes, one day – the Washington Post just published an article where retailers are now beginning to hire for one day jobs. Imagine. If you are a Baby Boomer that splits time between the north and south depending on the season, you can literally make some extra cash going from retailer to retailer picking up open shifts. Or, if you are retired and bored and want something to do, you can pick up some project work in one of your skilled areas, which in today’s high-tech world, can probably be completed on your computer from either your winter or summer house. There really is no losing in a gig economy for Baby Boomers who want to make money after retirement.