Could Your Side Hustle Make You a Millionaire?

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Earning money on the side could be your ticket to big-time wealth.

Key points

  • Getting a side hustle could boost your income substantially.
  • If you then invest your extra earnings, you could become a millionaire in your lifetime.

These days, a lot of people are going out and getting side hustles. And if you have a need for extra cash, you may want to do the same.

A side hustle could make it possible for you to pad your savings, pay off a nagging balance on your credit cards, or even just have more money available for general living expenses and leisure. But if you play your cards right, your side hustle could actually make you wealthy over time -- so wealthy that you're able to call yourself a millionaire.

How to use your side hustle to grow wealth

There are two ways your side hustle could turn you into a millionaire -- either you launch an extremely lucrative venture, or you put your side hustle earnings to work by investing them. The latter, frankly, is a more likely scenario.

Sure, we all hear stories about people whose side hustles grew to multi-million dollar businesses, but much of the time, that doesn't happen. And that's okay. You don't need your side hustle to be the next great invention. You just need to open a brokerage account and invest the money your second gig makes you.

Let's imagine you get a side hustle that has you earning $500 a month. Let's also imagine that instead of spending that money, you decide to invest the entire sum in the stock market (an S&P 500 index).

Doing so can be a risky prospect. Any time you invest money, there's the potential to lose some. But the stock market also has a strong history of performing well over time.

The market may have years when investors see their portfolio values go down, but that's less common than years when portfolio values rise. While there is risk in buying stocks, if you hold your investments for a long time, that helps to mitigate that risk and increase your chances of coming out ahead financially.

So, getting back to that $500 a month in earnings. Let's say your side hustle is one that you're able to do for 10 years. If you invest your extra cash during that time and your portfolio delivers an average annual 8% return, which is a few percentage points below the stock market's average, you'll end up with about $87,000.

Now clearly, that's a far cry from $1 million. But let's then assume that you leave your $87,000 invested in stocks for another 32 years. At the end of that window, your balance will have grown to a little more than $1 million.

An easy way to become rich

People are often encouraged to start investing from a young age so they can put their money to work sooner and enjoy large gains in their portfolios. The problem, though, is that it's hard to carve out money for investing when living costs keep rising and keep eating up the bulk of your paycheck.

The beauty of a side hustle is that the money you earn is extra. If it's not money you need to pay your basic bills, you can invest it and let compounding returns work their magic.

Now, this isn't to say if you get a side hustle and invest your earnings, you're guaranteed to become a millionaire. But do you have a good chance with enough discipline and patience? Absolutely.

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