More than half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, many forced to hold side job – report

by Seth Udinski

Seth Udinski, FISM News

More than half of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and almost half have been forced to pick up a “side hustle,” according to a recent report from LendingClub Corporation.

The study, released earlier this week, revealed that as of February 62% of American adults live paycheck to paycheck with considerable struggles to pay their monthly bills, up slightly from 60% in January.

Of those who struggle to pay their monthly bills, 35% answered that they also have picked up side work in addition to their full-time job. 32% of those who live paycheck to paycheck with relative ease answered that they also have side work.

Anuj Nayar, LendingClub’s Financial Health Officer, commented on the trend, saying,

While consumers have adjusted to inflationary pressures by budgeting and spending less, many have turned to supplemental income with a side job or alternative income sources to improve their financial standing. A vast majority of consumers became used to working from home during the pandemic, and after returning to work, many kept flexible hours and turned to alternative income streams to expand their earning potential beyond a 9-to-5 job.

With the growth of transportation businesses, as well as the rise in social media influencing, side jobs are becoming more popular. This is especially true among younger generations who are eager to have the capability to be their own boss and work flexible hours.

Nayar went on to praise the supplemental income trend, saying,

What is clear: no matter your income bracket, having supplemental income greatly impacts financial stability and can often mean the difference between living without difficulty and living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to pay monthly bills.

Author’s Biblical Analysis

At first glance, this report may seem devoid of any substantive biblical encouragement. But let us dig a little deeper, where we will find profound biblical truth for the Christian.

The first is this: Work is hard.

Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.  – Genesis 3:17-18

Because of the Fall, work is toilsome, frustrating, and difficult. Lots of work yields little reward. It is tiring and stressful. This is simply the way of it.

If you are expecting provision to be easy, change your expectations. Work is good, but because we live in a sinful world, work is also hard. Be ready to put your best effort into the work that God has given you because it will not be easy.

Not to leave this first point on a sour note, work is in itself also a product of redemption. Because of the perfect work of our Lord Jesus Christ, who saved us in His life, death, and resurrection, there is a redemptive quality to work as well. We see glimpses of the joy of working in a world without sin, and we can be confident we will enjoy this reality in the New Heavens and the New Earth.

The second is this, and I find it extraordinarily fascinating: Live within your means.

Let me say right away: I have no problem with holding a second job, so long as it does not become an idol or take the place of things that are more important, such as your sanctification, or your involvement with your family.

However, I do have to wonder how many people who choose to hold a second job to pay their bills are simply fighting a symptom of the disease and not the source. Very often, when we look at our finances, we find numerous things that we pay for consistently that are not actual necessities, but merely pleasures.

Many people, especially those in the Millennial and Gen. Z age groups, believe that they just need to make more money to pay for all the things they want. The reality is, for many of us, the problem is not a lack of means but rather an unhealthy desire to have more than we should.

Instead of “keeping up with Joneses” or jumping at every opportunity to have the next cool toy, be grateful for what God has given to you and learn how to live within the means he has provided. Cut things out of your life that may be unnecessary and may take a hit on your budget.

Work hard to bring glory to God and to provide for your family, and trust in Him that He will provide all that you need.

Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?  – Luke 12:22-24