The gig economy, in which people make money on digital apps and work on their own schedules, is also sometimes referred to as the "new economy."
But not everyone wants to give up the trappings of the "old," especially when it comes to saving for retirement.
In a Senate hearing in early February on "Exploring the 'Gig Economy' and the Future of Retirement Savings," economists and business leaders proposed ways to fix the alarming reality that many people in this expanding labor market are not preparing for old age. Just 16 percent of independent workers have a retirement savings plan, compared to more than half of employees who have access to an employer-sponsored one.
There is a near-perfect storm of reasons for why retirement saving is difficult for independent contractors, said Camille Olson, a lawyer and partner at the law firm Seyfarth Shaw. (See chart below.)
Chief among them: Companies generally don't offer retirement savings accounts to non-employees.
"If you're an employee and you want to save in a 401(k), who does it?" said Olson, who spoke at the Senate hearing on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "Your employer does it, and that's why so many people contribute to it. Gig economy workers don't have that option."