No longer just a fun buzz word to throw around, the side hustle is rapidly gaining traction as a growing number of Americans recognize the benefits of getting one. It's estimated that 37% of U.S. adults have a side hustle, according to a new Bankrate study, but what's even more impressive is what those secondary gigs are paying. The average side hustler earns $686 per month, which is clearly not a small amount of money. Given that 23% of Americans have no emergency savings, taking in that much extra cash could spell the difference between buying yourself a degree of financial stability and walking around perpetually vulnerable.

But the means to build an emergency fund isn't the only reason to consider getting a side hustle. Here are a few more benefits you might reap.

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1. Income security

It's an unfortunate fact that none of us are immune to layoffs. You never know when your company might choose to downsize, or when a new boss might come in and decide that your skills are no longer relevant. Having a side hustle is a great way to avoid losing sleep when things start to go south at your place of business, as it means having a backup income stream in the event your first one goes away.

Many people who lose their jobs find themselves financially stressed during that period between getting laid off and finding new work, and rightfully so. But having that additional source of income might allow you to relax a little and take the time to find the right replacement role, as opposed to accepting the first offer that comes your way because you're desperate for cash.

2. Personal and professional growth

Balancing a full-time role and a side gig takes work, but that effort might translate into more than just additional money. In a separate survey from Simple, 44% of younger workers with side hustles claimed that those second jobs made them more valuable employees at their primary jobs. Meanwhile, 45% said that their side hustles helped them become more organized. Not only might working a side hustle give you a chance to develop key skills, but it might help you evolve professionally and personally. And that's something that could have a lifelong impact, even if you only end up working that side gig temporarily.

3. The ability to enjoy your life to the fullest

We're all supposed to save money, whether it's for emergencies, retirement, or other milestones. But saving money generally means making some sort of sacrifice, whether it's driving a beat-up car instead of a comfortable new vehicle or living in a cramped one-bedroom apartment that's cheaper than the spacious two-bedroom next door.

The beauty of working a side hustle is that the money you earn often isn't cash you're depending upon to pay your basic bills. Rather, it's bonus cash that comes from that extra effort. Therefore, as long as you're saving a portion of your primary income, you can, and should, feel free to use your side hustle earnings to enjoy the luxuries you may have previously forgone, whether it's frequent meals at your favorite dining spots or the exotic vacations that are highest on your bucket list.

There are plenty of good reasons to work a side hustle, and clearly, the payout can be quite substantial. Remember, that $686 per month is just an average, and if you manage to score a well-paying gig and are willing to put in the time, your personal earnings might well exceed that figure.

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