Amid a surge in retirement rates during the pandemic, some retirees have veered from the traditional path, joining the gig economy. Recent research suggests that around seven million gig workers, over half aged 60 or older, went unaccounted for in official employment figures. While many retired Americans seemingly stepped back from the workforce, a considerable number, describing themselves as “retired,” engaged in gig work, viewing it as a supplement to their income or a fulfilling hobby.
Gig employment encompasses various roles like ride-hailing, delivery services, online sales, and freelance work, attracting retirees seeking financial support or pursuing new interests. Ride-hailing and delivery driving rank among the top choices for these semi-retired individuals. Despite this trend, industry experts predict a potential shift from structured gig jobs towards tech-driven roles, away from traditional ridesharing.
Through personal accounts, retirees detailed their gig experiences, citing reasons for joining and tactics to maximize earnings. Their stories range from Jeff Hoenig, a part-time Uber and Lyft driver in his mid-60s, supplementing his income in Myrtle Beach, to Rich, an Arizona-based Uber driver in his early 70s, earning substantially from gig work while enjoying retirement comforts.
These retirees navigate gig work with distinct approaches, from managing expenses to driving less amid increased competition. Germaine, 77, revealed her struggle to break even as a rideshare driver, prompting her to explore alternative gig avenues. Meanwhile, others, like Bill and Rich, strategically choose rides and hours to maintain profitability, leveraging their flexibility and independence in the gig economy.
The gig economy’s allure for retirees extends beyond finances, providing opportunities for interaction, personal fulfillment, and control over their work schedule. These retirees defy conventional retirement, finding purpose and supplementary income through the gig economy’s diverse landscape.
If you’re someone that’s interested in driving for a local ride sharing service, please listen to the Tifton Talks podcast here.
Below is the same podcast on YouTube.