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As costs rise, are you considering a side hustle?

Raging inflation: the soaring cost of living is forcing many around the world to consider taking a second job (Photograph by Mario Proenca/Bloomberg)

Recent grocery advertisements, along with comments on social media, continue to expose the now staggering cost of basic foodstuffs, shipping, fuel and utilities.

How are you coping, readers? How is anyone coping?

Blame for the current state of economic conditions continues to be attributed to just about everything and everyone, while general frustration and negativity are contributing to these current financial challenges.

People in general populations, you know – us, the ordinary people who pay taxes and support government spending – are struggling financially everywhere it seems.

Our household current budget disruption is not just happening in Bermuda – take a quick skip to the links to the US, Canada, and the UK at the bottom of this article.

What is the immediate recourse?

Use credit cards as cash? A temporary fix with a horrific long-term negative impact. Those balances compounding the debt upwards every single day, to the day of reckoning when balances must be repaid.

Eat less? A great idea! Lose weight, become fitter physically, medically, and financially, plus the after effect of looking terrific is psychologically inspiring.

Shop less. Cut every household consumption to the bone: fans, instead of air-conditioning; bus, walk, bike instead of car; basic internet; sell all excess items including expensive car, replace with used car with no car payments instead; clothing, designer bags, you never wear or use; adopt a minimalist lifestyle – you know what to do.

All these suggestions are espoused ad infinitum in audio, video, social media, books, etc.

Fixed costs, however, cannot be as easily controlled: fuel, electricity, internet, rent, mortgage, repairs, taxes, medical/other insurance are all necessary at some level.

All sounds good, yet, it is a truism if everyone cut all their spending to conserve, the results would be very detrimental to the community and economy.

Why? Think of it in economic terms under the paradox (contradiction) of thrift.

Every product/service a household cuts costs on, affects those businesses and employees on the other side trying to earn an income. They (the businesses) cut costs, use fewer employees, etc, leading to more people cutting costs, then even fewer people shop, businesses cut even more expenses and on in a repeat cycle that simply heads the economy downward.

Second recourse

Taking on another job or two, another source of income, to stay ahead even though, personally and physically, it can be a case of burning the candle at both ends.

How did we manage before, even though prices were high then, too? Many, many worked second jobs.

Growing up in the late 1950s and 1960s in Bermuda, the visitors – in multitudes – would pour off the cruise ships docked right in Hamilton Harbour, heading directly for the shops. The crowds were so dense at times, that locals in a hurry walked in the adjoining streets to get errands accomplished, occasionally feeling a bit put out by all those “Merican” tourists.

China, Glassware, Shetland sweaters, local clothing designs, the proverbial T-shirts, duty-free liquor, souvenirs galore, coffee stops, rent mobylettes and scooters, restaurants, hotels, charter trips. I know, I waited on them.

One could even book a gorgeous evening sail from Albuoy’s Point around the harbour on one of the traditional international one-design yachts, each skippered by a single experienced sailor, so skilled he could dock motor-less by coming into the wind, with one foot on the tiller while flipping a round turn and two half-hitches onto a dock cleat. These sailors were marvels of expertise. I know, I saw them.

Or, rent a small sailboat, where more than once, a couple dressed nautically, but unfamiliar with sailing procedures, was observed tipping over when a puff of wind flipped the mainsail. There they were floating with picnic basket, nice clothes, and wet shoes hoping for the Hamilton Harbour Rescue launch. I remember them, too.

Night-time shows featuring local artists were a constant draw. Nothing like sitting on a boat, sometimes not much larger than a punt, tied up at the Inverurie dock listening to the Talbot Brothers with their classic, unique sounds of our Bermudian culture.

The economy was booming. Jobs were plentiful. Quit job in the morning; new job in the afternoon.

Anyone who wanted extra cash only needed to ask for the job.

Many Bermuda islanders worked two, sometimes three jobs. Daytime from 9-5, quick change then to hotels or other ‘til 10pm, then a third job eventually getting home at 2pm – five hours sleep and repeat.

There was not only the need of extra income, but the driving incentive, the real long-term goal was buying a home of their home.

And they did. Amazing family narratives told of using budget surpluses each payday to buy building materials to build a home themselves, in Bermuda’s case, stone block by stone. I heard those stories and knew some family members, too.

It is a different economy now. Commerce, policies, and Covid restrictions have all changed the current economic landscape.

Right now, today, the cost of living in Bermuda has escalated dramatically. Is there an end in sight?

Dear readers, do you know if islanders are taking on second jobs to make ends meet?

Are you?

What do you think?

Please send your comments to me, at martha.myron@gmail.com

All replies are always confidential, and any information, if used, is always subject to your permission and anonymously formatted.

Bloomberg reports that more than half of Americans are considering taking a second job.

“As real wages fall and inflation remains red hot, employees across the income spectrum take on extra shifts, side hustles or second jobs to ease the pain,” Bloomberg states.

“Further, families with children affected by inflation the most, are the largest group looking for, or working second jobs.”

CBC in Canada reports that with inflation highest in a generation, that some Canadians are taking on second jobs and skipping meals to make ends meet.

In the UK, The Independent reports that millions are taking on second jobs as they are struggling with rising costs across all areas including food, fuel, and bills.

An interesting read: “What would happen to the economy if we all stopped spending money?” by Jessica Haynes, ABC Australia, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-07/what-happens-to-the-economy-when-we-stop-spending-money/8297724

Martha Harris Myron is a native Bermuda islander with US connections. Author of Bermuda’s First Financial Literacy Primer – the Dawn of New Beginnings, a Google News contributor, and the Bermuda – Bermy Island Finance Blog. Contact: martha.myron@gmail.com

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Published December 10, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated December 09, 2022 at 8:22 pm)

As costs rise, are you considering a side hustle?

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