DENVER (KDVR) — As people get closer to retirement, more workers are turning away from traditional 9 to 5 jobs and are doing gig work instead.
A new study by AARP says 27%, or one in four workers over age 40, are doing independent, freelance or gig work.
‘Social security is not gonna cut it’
“It doesn’t surprise me in the least,” Lisa Sonshine said. “I’m 61, so I’m close to retirement age and I feel like this is truly the perfect thing to do for retirement. Because let’s face it, social security is not gonna cut it.”
Sonshine recently began driving for Uber seven days a week after quitting her career as a caregiver.
“The reason I started driving for Uber was because, unfortunately, caregivers don’t get paid appropriately, so I couldn’t support myself on that,” she said.
According to AARP, 89% of gig workers choose the style of work because of the opportunity to make money.
“I’m doing this full-time because honestly, it’s the only way I can support myself,” Sonshine said. “I decided to give it a try and I just love it.”
Flexible work while pursuing a new career
The study said the second motivating factor pushing workers toward gig jobs is flexibility.
“I like the flexibility. I like meeting people. I like seeing the city,” Mac Whitney said.
Whitney is in his late 30s but has just gone back to school after 10 years in website project management. He said he needs income while he is a student but did not want to juggle school and a traditional full-time career.
“I know about Uber. I’ve ridden in Ubers and I thought, I’ll do that,” he said.
He plans to drive temporarily while he finishes his program and then will consider driving on a case-by-case basis for extra income for wants or needs going forward.
“It’s easy to make $200 a day or whatever on Uber and that could be somebody’s way to fill that gap,” Whitney said.
Sonshine, however, said Uber is her retirement plan.
“It’s really what I plan on doing until I stop working,” she said. “As long as I can, until they take away my driver’s license!”
Uber said it believes more workers over age 40 are turning to its platform for work due to the ease of obtaining a job. As long as potential drivers pass a background check and have an eligible vehicle, they can work.