How Gig Economy can help to fix financial challenges

Many of today’s Boomer women face financial challenges as they enter or are close to their retirement. Research from the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) finds that a relatively low percentage of Boomer women have confidence in their ability to have a financially secure retirement. Only 30 percent of Boomer women express confidence in their ability to amass enough savings to live comfortably after they leave the workforce. There are several reasons for this.

First of all the pay gap still has not been closed: In 2015, women earned just 80 percent of what men were paid. As a result many women will likely receive a lower level of future Social Security benefits. Analysis shows that in 2012, women over 65 received $12,520 in average Social Security income compared to $16,398 for men.

On top of that women also spend fewer years in the workforce because they are more likely to stay home to care of their children or older relatives. Consequently, they are less likely to qualify for company-sponsored plans and are less likely to receive the full benefits of those plans if they are still available. Of the 63 million wage-earning and salaried women age 21 to 64 working in the United States, only 45 percent participate in a retirement plan, and they have 50 percent less in their retirement savings accounts than men. Yet as their life expectancy rises, women need more retirement funds. Those who reached age 65 in 2012 are expected to live, on average, an additional 20.5 years, and widows accounted for 34 percent of all older women in 2015.

All of these factors are creating a situation where Boomer women are faced with uncertain retirement and not finding the right employment opportunities to fix their financial situation. Many of them would like to have flexible work arrangements and part time work to balance their family responsibilities while securing their own retirement. Growth of the Gig Economy may offer a solution to those willing to try. There are a few steps that Boomer women can take to take advantage of the new way of working.

Find Focus Area

The first question that comes to mind is if part-time or freelance work is only for younger, more creative types that provide technology, graphic design or related services. Truth of the matter is that pretty much anything can be done by a freelancer these days, offering plenty of exciting opportunities. Boomer women exploring freelance work should first identify their focus areas that will provide both income and enjoyment.

In selecting a focus area, it is natural to fall back on what your core area of expertise is. This is great if you are able to think of your skills as something to be packaged as a service. But you may have to dig deep and think outside of the box to identify your "secondary" skills can also offer up freelancing opportunities. Perhaps these are areas that you feel passionate about or wanted to pursue but never got a chance. Don't be hindered by a notion that you do not have the necessary skills or experience to find a freelancing opportunity.

Maintain and Enhance Skills

If you feel that you need to update or upgrade your skills, there are plenty of free of low cost on-line educational resources that provide access to useful training materials;

http://oedb.org/open/ - provides over 10,000 of free online courses, focusing on business, arts and other areas;

https://alison.com/- one of the world’s largest free online learning platforms, providing 750 free courses at diploma and certificate level

http://www.gcflearning.org - offer a range of free basic tutorials on topics such as computers, work and career.

Women Boomers are not utilizing Internet resources as much as other segments of the population. However, continuous education must be a part of everyone’s retirement plans. With classes available on-line and mobile devices, there is no excuse not to be learning.

Join On-Line Platforms

Many companies want freelancers who can work outside of the office and online doing jobs that require just basic computer skills like sending emails and filling in forms. They are also open for freelancers to perform administrative tasks, doing accounting, managing customer relations and many other tasks. Many of these jobs are popping up every day on freelance web-sites such as Almarelo. As online talent marketplace platforms grow in importance and size, they can become an invaluable tool for the Baby Boomers wanting to stay active while in retirement.

Explore Entrepreneurship

Finally, starting a small business may be a suitable opportunity for many Boomer women. According to a Gallup study, Baby Boomers are twice as likely to want to start a business as Millennials. People over 50 represent one of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs in the United States. Many types of business do not require significant investments and can be started if you have relevant skills and desire. Boomers turn to starting a business as a way to self-employment due to the tough job market over the past years. They start a business after a successful career, because they’ve been laid off and worry about the chances of being rehired.


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