Gen Z and Millennials are always looking for ways to increase their income—whether through job hopping for better salaries or picking up a side hustle. In fact, social media has helped normalize having multiple streams of income as creators share all their tips and tricks for having a side hustle. And of course, these gens also aren’t afraid to admit they need the money. This year especially YPulse data shows young consumers have been hit hard with the impacts of inflation and the ambiguous “recession” threat (45% say it’s already underway). So, with so many bills to balance, and still a hope to treat themselves where they can, multiple streams of income and side hustles are even more popular than in years past. Our Finance / Spending Monitor report shows how many 13-39-year-olds currently say they have multiple streams of income:
One third of young consumers have multiple streams of income
Overall, one third of young people (34%) are earning money from multiple streams of income, more than the number who said so last year (29%). And when it comes to how many jobs and side hustles they’re working, nearly a quarter (23%) of young people have two streams of income, but 7% have three, and 4% have four or more. Millennials are significantly more likely to say they have multiple income streams than Gen Z (38% vs 26%), whether that means they have a side hustle(s) to their full-time job, multiple part-time roles, or any combination of positions. YPulse data shows that, of course, Millennials are much more likely to be financially independent than Gen Z, with a significant portion of the gen taking care of families as well as themselves. In fact, Millennial parents are by far more likely to say they have multiple streams of income than non-parents, with 46% saying so compared to 27% of non-parents.
But still, more than a quarter (26%) of Gen Z say they have multiple streams of income—up from 18% who said so last year, meaning they heavily contributed to the overall rise. Our data shows that currently, 16% of Gen Z hold full-time jobs and 26% have part-time jobs (and 7% are self-employed), meaning more of the young gen than ever are working paying jobs. But having side hustles or several part-time, at-home income streams can be an accessible way for teenage Gen Z to make some pocket money—which is one of the leading reasons they tell YPulse they’re creating multiple streams of income:
Gen Z and Millennials have different reasons to make multiple incomes
The number one reason young consumers have multiple streams of income is just what you’d assume: they need the money. This year especially, YPulse data shows inflation has seriously affected their budgets and their spending habits, so having some extra cash is necessary for some. But in that same vein, nearly as many Gen Z (39%) say they have multiple streams of income in order to have some “fun money.” Just over three in 10 Millennials say the same though, showing their side incomes could be a way for them to buy more than just necessities right now.
However, a big difference between the gens is that Millennials are +12pts more likely than Gen Z to say they have multiple incomes because they want to save for the long-term future. YPulse data shows 35% of Millennials do not currently have savings, which has been especially hard to set aside funds for since prices for essentials have been rising.
There are a wide variety of side hustles they’re working
Young people are finding different ways to bring in extra money than their parents did: YPulse trend reports have explored their endeavors into the worlds of cryptocurrency and content creation, two ways to make money that older gens might still find hard to understand. But this year, these are the things young people with multiple streams of income say they are doing for money, selected from a list of 20 options, not including traditional full- and part-time jobs:
As it was a popular option for previous generations, investing in stocks is still the most common side hustle for young consumers looking to make extra money. Last year, YPulse data showed buying cryptocurrency was as popular a side income as traditional stock market investments—but it now falls behind in the wake of the crypto-crash. And the NFT market that once looked to be the future of passive income (and the metaverse) is now last on the list of things young consumers with multiple streams of income are doing for money. Instead, buying and selling secondhand items is the second most popular response; thanks to the popularity of resale platforms (which young consumers are familiar with as shoppers), being a reseller is a more accessible gig than ever. It’s a trendy one, as well, as young people have shown they’re fans of resurfacing aesthetics from their younger years or generations before them, and our data shows they enjoy shopping secondhand for both the style advantage and the environmental benefits.
Content creation—especially for video games—is a top way they earn extra money
The third most common response for what young consumers with multiple streams of income make money from is playing and streaming video games (17%) and creating content for an online audience (12%) also lands in the top 10. YPulse data has shown that Gen Z and Millennials view content creation as a viable way to make money and even a career, seeing as so many aspirational figures of their generation are doing just that—or getting their start from it and then moving onto bigger business ventures. We also know that lots of young people would like to be self-employed if they could be: YPulse’s Employment and Career Goals report shows 17% of young people say if they could have a career in any industry, they would be self-employed. These digital routes for earning extra income (or even a full-time income, because that is definitely possible now) allow young people to make their own schedules while engaging with the online communities they love so much. And though older generations may not see these as long-term career options, Gen Z and Millennials know they’re side hustles that can pay off, both short- and long-term.