The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
WE REQUEST THAT ALL OF OUR COMMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN REMAIN ANONYMOUS. OUR PERSONAL IDENTITY IS NOT TO BE COMPROMISED BY BECOMING PART OF PUBLIC RECORD. WE REQUEST FULL PROTECTION UNDER ALL LAW THAT PROTECTS OUR CONFIDENTIALITY. My husband and I are in our late 70s. We are retired and living comfortably (basics covered) but during the 17 years of our retirement we have seen our fixed income lose ground against the rising prices of this economy. Also, we lost most of our home equity when the economy fell so drastically a few years ago. We have regained a small amount of our home's previous value, but no longer have assets that we counted as most of our net worth. We didn't expect that becoming Airbnb hosts would be significant as income AND we had reservations about opening our home to people that we had never met. WE WERE WRONG ON BOTH ISSUES! We now host Airbnb guests (in our spare, guest bedroom/bath) on an average or 2-3 weekends each month. We use the wonderful screening tools of Airbnb and have had wonderful experiences with our guests. We have never had an unpleasant or threatening situation! We are meticulous about using the assistance and support that Air bnb provides. We are not inconvenienced, we have total freedom to set our own time priorities by choosing availability dates that suit our personal schedule. OUR AMAZING EXPERIENCE AND BENEFITS: 1. We feel amazing financial relief. Airbnb is not our livelihood but we now enjoy the spontaneity we once had (during our middle-class working years) to travel a bit, buy gifts for kids and grandkids, make small contributions favorite charities, treat ourselves to reasonable little luxuries, and boost the quality of maintenance for our home and property. We no longer feel financially helpless and handicapped by our fixed income. We know we have an earning potential that is a delight, not a physical or emotional demand that we can't sustain at our age. 2. The most unexpected gift of our Airbnb adventure - we feel back in the mainstream of life! Perhaps even more significant than the nice financial boost, we are meeting a huge cross section of interesting people who come through our own door! It feels as though an old familiar portal has reopened and we are again part of a larger life, a larger community of souls. In retirement, we had the luxury of making easy choices - enjoying our solitude, cutting back on commitments, avoiding demanding situations. Now we realize that the price for that lifestyle can easily become isolation, discontent or even depression (the usual complaints of elders). We fervently hope that Airbnb is NOT restricted in operation. It is a rare opportunity for us to regain hope that as individual citizens we can exercise freedom to offer personal resources and skills to improve our lives and touch the lives of others. We feel that this is a "grass roots" movement that includes us - one that is not hampered or driven by mega money, institutions, corporations, politicians or other entities beyond our control. We understand that "sharing" businesses are competition for more traditional establishments. We value their rights as well as ours. However, bartering and sharing is as old as humanity. When the ability to provide necessities (including pleasures and the right to happiness) is totally dominated by money, and overshadowed by those who value, hoard and control wealth - history predicts collapse. Please consider how our behavior will affect our legacy to the next seven generations.