More Than 9 in 10 Working Americans Have a Side Hustle in 2022 — But Is It the Best Way To Boost Income?

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Side hustles are no longer just a way to earn a little extra income to finance some big purchase or dream vacation — for many Americans, they have become a financial lifeline.

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Nearly all working Americans (93%) have some kind of side hustle in 2022, according to a new survey of 1,000 adults from Insuranks, a small-business insurance marketplace. Nearly half of respondents (44%) said they need a side hustle to make ends meet and cover bills. Twenty-eight percent said surging inflation has pushed them into a side hustle, while 26% said they need an extra job to pay down debt faster. Around one-third (32%) said they just enjoy working side gigs.

Nearly four in 10 respondents (38%) work one side job, and an equal percentage work two. One-fifth work three or more.

In the case of side hustles, not all jobs involve a big investment of time or energy. The overwhelming majority of respondents, 95%, take part in online surveys to earn extra money, while 18% sell items on sites such as eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Only 13% do some kind of freelance work.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

The average monthly income from a side hustle is $483, or roughly $5,800 a year, the survey found. It appears that gender inequity exists even when it comes to side gigs. Men earn an average of $596 a month, while women earn an average of $378. Working Americans spend an extra 13 hours a week on average to their side hustle.

POLL: Do You Have a Side Gig or Other Hustle?

Despite their popularity, side hustles might not be the best way to boost your income — especially if your main job is in a high-paying profession. In this case, you are probably better off asking for a raise or promotion, Paula Pant, host of the “Afford Anything” podcast, said during a recent financial seminar hosted by CNBC.

You could also devote your time to consulting within your area of expertise rather than launching a side hustle in an entirely different field.

“Choose whatever is the most time-efficient and energy- and spirit-efficient way of earning more,” Pant said.

Your life circumstances should also weigh into your decision to start a side hustle, Anh Tran, a certified financial planner and managing partner at SageMint Wealth, told CNBC. If you’re just starting a family, for example, you need to consider how much time you have to pursue a side gig vs. the potential payoff.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

“What are you going to have to put into it to get a return, and does that make sense for you from a financial standpoint?” Tran said.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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