These are tough times for many individuals and families trying to make ends meet financially. It’s especially hard on older folks in their sixties and up, who are either retired or out of work due to the Covid-19 Pandemic shutdowns which have made millions of Americans dependent on Unemployment Insurance just to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. Financial writer, Lisa Laporte, states that with rampant federal quantitative easing, the cost-of-living along with the price of basic necessities like milk, bread, and gasoline, are on the rise.

Those older persons and families who undergo a sudden emergency like an unexpected car or home repair find themselves going into debt to pay for them.

Busy senior businessman

What can you do when you are past your prime but badly in need of extra cash? One idea is to go back to work. But then, America is presently in the midst of an economic depression that is said to rival the Great Depression of the 1930s.

There are very few good paying jobs out there. Another idea is to tap into the cash you’ve built up in your home. According to Michal Branson, CEO of All Reverse Mortgage, folks 62 and older who have been in their home for many years and making their mortgage payments like clockwork can apply for a reverse mortgage loan. This kind of loan allows borrowers to access a large portion of their equity and do so, tax free, without ever having to make another mortgage payment again. In fact, no payment is due until the homeowner moves out, dies, or sells decides to sell the home.

But if you don’t have equity in a home or you live in an apartment, Discover.com has another solution for aging Americans (and young Americans) who badly need extra cash. It’s called the “side hustle.”

Said to be a way of life for close to 45 million people in the U.S. alone, many of them past retirement age, the side hustle started out as a way of making extra money on the side to supplement the income from your day job. But nowadays, when many workers and/or formerly employed persons are forced to stay home and not work by government mandate, side hustles such as freelance writing, social media influencing, selling products on Amazon, driving for Uber or Dash, or renting out a room in your home or apartment on Airbnb has become a popular way to make that all important extra cash you so badly need to keep your head above water.

Busy senior doing side gigs

If you’re getting on in years, but still physically able and willing to work, here are some long term benefits you might want to consider about getting yourself a side hustle:

Multiple Sources of Income are Crucial

Says Discover.com, having multiple sources of income at your disposal is not only important in an age where full-time employment is hard to come by, it can be downright empowering, especially for older folks who believe life has passed them by. The founder of the Side Hustle Nation podcast, Nick Loper, who interviews thousands of people who make their living by working outside the traditional nine-to-five day job, is always touting the positive attributes of side hustling.

Making extra money is something that never goes out of style, he states, and that’s what makes side hustling so interesting. It’s a great way for older folks to learn new skills, or to show off skills they learned back in their younger days, like giving music lessons or teaching foreigners how to speak English. In a word, a side hustle can make an older person not only cash, but it can make them feel young and relevant again.

Side Hustling isn’t just about making a few extra bucks here and there either. Lopez touts one man who went from making $30,000 per year to making $30,000 in a single day. Some folks find themselves making more money than ever before as a photographer, a blogger, or even a Youtuber. Not only are these people enjoying themselves and making more money than they ever thought possible right from the comfort of their own home (or while traveling the world), they’ve become self-reliant, and no longer dependent on the government for meager unemployment or social security payments.

Paying off Your Debt

If you find yourself drowning in debt, a side hustle just might be the answer you’re looking for when it comes to paying it down. If you’re strapped with loans and credit card debt in your later years, and your present income isn’t putting a dent in your balances, a side hustle (or two or three) can provide the extra money your need to finally pay your debts off.

Discovery.com points out one person who enjoyed a lucrative job in the technology sector, but was still badly in debt. He decided to start two e-commerce sites he ran from out of his home and even a third subscription box service company. With all the extra funds coming in, he was able to be debt free within three years.

Senior businesswoman working on a side hustle

Turn Your Life-Long Passion into a New Career

Years ago, you might have been discouraged from following your true passion in order to get a job that provided not only a weekly paycheck, but long-term job security. But now, in the digital age, you can rekindle your passion and turn it into a lucrative side hustle.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to write a novel and be a published author. Now you can publish as many novels as you can write on digital platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing and Draft2Digital and, at the same time, make considerable money in the form of royalties. You don’t have to go on book tours. You simply build a website for advertising your books. You can also push your novels on social media websites like Facebook and Instagram.

Or maybe you’ve always wanted to be a freelance writer/journalist. Now you can join online sites like Upwork.com and bid for as many jobs as you can handle. Perhaps you’ve always fancied yourself an artist. You no longer need to beg galleries to show your work to a limited amount of people. Instead, you can build a dynamic website that will show your work to thousands of people all over the globe.

The point is that you’re not only using your side hustle to make the money you need to survive in your later years, you are using it as a way to explore your lifelong passion. That alone should make you happy to get out of bed in the morning.