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The new economic reality: How passive income is helping individuals weather the storm

Ab Alharbi Research Analyst in Research, Insight and Consulting 11/04/2023

With concerns about job security and economic instability, many individuals are looking for ways to supplement their income and create financial stability for themselves and their families.

45% of respondents would continue working their current jobs even if they made as much money via passive income as they did at their jobs

‘Side hustles and initiatives by individuals looking to make a little extra cash was evident during the past couple of years, when Covid had provided a landscape for extra time to be utilized. But as the economy continues to fluctuate, it’s likely that more and more people will turn to these alternative sources of income to help weather the storm and build a more resilient financial future.

A third (35%) of those who have participated in ways to make money through passive income had a ‘side-hustle’ during Covid, such as online fitness coaching or freelance writing. This trend is particularly evident among younger generations drawn to the flexibility and entrepreneurial spirit of side hustles and passive income projects. Gen-Zs and Millennials taking the lead at 48% and 46%, respectfully who have participated in ways to make money during Covid.

From starting an Etsy shop to investing in the stock market, there are a variety of options available for those looking to diversify their income streams. About half of American respondents (48%) are likely to consider making money through passive income (e.g., crypto investments, renting out belongings or property, etc.), with Millennials (58%), those with kids (60%), and high-income earners (63%) taking the lead. When asked whether passive income streams require too much initial investment to be worthwhile, respondents were split; one half being indifferent and two polarizing thirds: 30% agree and 26% disagree.  While some passive income projects may involve minimal time and effort, such as participating in paid surveys or renting out a spare room on Airbnb, others can be more demanding, such as starting a small business or freelancing.

With diversified avenues to attain some extra cash crow in popularity, many look to more lucrative means with little effort to ensure stability. But many deem certain projects as lazy or too passive, as the rise of influencers has gained tremendous traction. Additionally, there is often a perception that truly successful passive income streams require hard work, dedication, and investment of time and resources. Slightly below two thirds (63%) believe that there are ethical concerns with some of the ways people are making passive income, such as promoting products or services on social media or creating and selling online courses. Particularly, males (70%), Boomers (73%), and high-income earners (71%) have strong beliefs about it.

But, with many seeing success of projects that ensure a kind of safety net for their lifestyle, the majority of people are not willing to leave their current job. Slightly under half (45%) of respondents would continue working their current jobs even if they made as much money via passive income as they did at their jobs, with high-income earners (58%) and Millennials (55%) showing more dedication for work.

With that being said, the vast majority of American respondents (83%) believe that to keep up with the rising costs, there will be a lot more people shifting towards passive income in 2023. By diversifying your income streams and building a resilient financial foundation, you can weather the storm and emerge stronger and more financially secure in the long run.

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