The Importance of Side Hustles
For many years, I have been writing about monetizing a hobby as part of a retirement plan. Where I live, I see a lot of people with various types of side gigs, side hustles, post retirement work, hobby monetization or anything else you want to call it. I started blogging about this almost at the start back in 2004, talking about my (now former) neighbor with a backhoe. He bought a backhoe for some work he needed to do on his property and fast forwarding a little, he had more work than he could do at $60-$65/hour and he did that up into his late 70's. This was essentially playing on a life sized Tonka Toy, a monetized hobby. Anytime I mentioned him I would ask, how many hours a week would you need at $60/per to relieve some of the burden off of your portfolio.
While I doubt I coined the term monetize a hobby, it is not impossible that I did and I see that phrase now quite frequently including this post from MarketWatch about side hustles. It lists several stories of people making quite a bit of money with their side hustles. I have two side hustles, my work with the ETF provider as well as blogging here at TheMaven, and I am cultivating two other potential sides hustles; photography (I've sold a few pictures) and firefighting (this is something I could do right now if I wanted/needed).
Aside from the financial opportunities, I've said many times how much fun blogging is (should be evident as I have been at it since 2004) but that by doing it has led to meeting people I would have never met and doing things I would have never done (I stood on the podium at the NYSE the other day to ring the closing bell). It is my belief that when you truly love doing something you continually put your best effort into it which leads to very productive results.
I would encourage everyone to explore these ideas, to read as much as you can including the above linked article, not so much to do what someone else is doing but to get inspiration for something you could do. There was one anecdote in there about a guy who learned search engine optimization in 60 days, watching You Tube videos and he has turned it into a lucrative gig. If there's something that interests you, that you know at least a little bit about then maybe investing some time into You Tube videos could be the difference maker for creating a financially rewarding, monetized hobby.
The other day I posted a link to seasonal job listings at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The jobs listed pay north of $20/hour, last a few months and would be a great fit for some folks, this is something my wife and I could enjoy down the road, depending on how other things play out. Seasonal park work is something I have touched on a few times over the years, I think it has a broad appeal.
The retirement implication for an under-saved population is obvious, making money from a hobby or other side hustle can replace a portfolio up to a point if there isn't one or can delay taking from a portfolio if it is small, giving it more time to grow untouched. Additionally it becomes a way to stay engaged in terms of problem solving and/or being active which both make for successful aging.