The uncertainty of freelance and contract work makes the generation uneasy.

Millennials work freelance jobs to have more time to focus on what’s important to them. Meanwhile, Gen Xers get into them to make ends meet.

That’s according to a study from Prudential. Sixty-three percent of Gen X gig workers struggle financially, compared to 49 percent of millennials, and 32 percent of baby boomers.

“Gen X gig workers seem to face the most financial wellness challenges, but do not have as much time to shift their career paths and improve their financial lives,” says Jamie Kalamarides, president of Prudential Group Insurance. “These findings are a call to action for advisors, employers and policymakers, who collectively have the ability to help gig workers set up retirement savings plans, acquire adequate insurance coverage, and develop budgets.”

Why Gen Xers are having such a hard time with gig work

First off, “gig work” is any kind of freelance or contract work. The jobs range from your friendly Uber driver to a freelance graphic designer. It’s not uncommon to hear of someone from all different age groups working some kind of gig. But there are some major differences when looking at the reasons why members of each generation decided to work a gig.

For instance, when millennials choose to take on a gig. They view it as providing the flexibility to pursue their long-term goals. On the other hand, Gen X contract workers and boomers tend to start a gig due to circumstances beyond their control like losing a job or corporate downsizing at work.

Gen X seems to be most interested in working a traditional job. Out of all generations in the study, they were also the least satisfied with their current situation with their gig. Here are some other financial problems Gen X is most likely to run into with the gig economy…

  • Inconsistent cash flows, freelance work made it difficult to stick to a budget: 40 percent
  • And to make ends meet: 37 percent
  • They’re most likely to live in a single, low-income household. They’re typically mid-career and doing mostly nonprofessional work.
  • Gen X gig workers earn less than boomers per year on average ($36,300 compared to $43,600) even though the average Gen Xer works more hours.

The downsides to gig work

Income, benefits, and retirement plans are three of the hurdles gig workers site running into. And are a few reasons why Gen Xers are the least financially secure gig workers.

Gig workers typically earn 58 percent as much as full-time employees. On average they bring home $36,500 annually compared to those at a traditional job who earn $62,500, according to the study.

One reason for the pay gap is gig workers put in fewer hours than traditional full-time workers. Gigs are more part-time. Those workers put in 25 hours per week on average, versus the standard 40 for full-time employees. Gen X gig workers earn $36,300 compared to boomers who earn $43,600.

Not only do Gen X gig workers earn less than boomers on average, they’re also more likely to be the sole provider in their home. Forty-nine percent say their gig is their only source of income. That’s compared to 36 percent of millennials and 32 percent of boomers.

Fifty-four percent of gig workers lack access to employer-sponsored benefits. This leaves them vulnerable to key financial risks: disability, critical illness, a premature death in the family. Only 40 percent of gig workers are able to receive employer-based medical insurance. Meanwhile, 82 percent of full-time workers have access to health insurance through work.

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Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of Debt.com.

Career and Business, News

employment, Gen X, income

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Article last modified on September 11, 2018 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Generation X Can’t Keep up With the Gig Economy - AMP.