The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I am 72 and in 2008 I was getting ready to retire, sell the big country house and buy a small city place. We bought the small city place at a decent price and borrowed a bit to get the country place up to par for sale. I quit my job. Then the crash! The global financial crisis. We tried for 3 years to sell the house in NJ and went into so much debt just fixing it up and waiting that we were about to be in crisis so I started homestaying English language students and then learned about AIRBNB and did a little of that when there were no students available. The obligation of preparing 14 meals a week for each student became untenable with the rise in food prices and also utilities have become higher. So I dropped the expensive students and am now just doing AIRBNB. I don't know what I would have done without it. Although we will not get rich on it It does allows us to pay our bills and the mortgages on time thereby not causing damage to our credit rating. We are slowly paying down the debt we accumulated during the crash but we are paying our bills. We have not had a vacation in 6 years! I shop in thrift stores for almost everything including my clothes and furniture and even gifts. My husband works as a consulting psychologist in NJ and is self employed. Fed taxes are outrageous. So we are squeaking by with the help of AIRBNB guests. (we pay taxes on that too) Please don't begrudge our squeaking by. Our grandson is graduating high school in June. We have to go see him graduate. He is our last grandson. Our only other grandson was murdered last year and we are not quite healed from that. But to travel means we lose money as well as spend money because my husband loses work time and we do not have paying guests. But we will stay at an AIRBNB residence we can afford across the street from my daughter in Seattle instead of a hotel. It won't be a vacation but it will be a chance to see three of my daughters and my west coast grandchildren and cook for them and make sure they have a taste of their east coast nana! Sharing my little space with people from all over the world in similar circumstances has also been wonderful. AIRBNB facilitates this by providing the technology and security I could never do if I attempted such a business. I don't have enough space to be able to support a business. Sharing my community as well has been very rewarding. My guests enjoy the restaurants and coffee shops and galleries and even the beautiful churches we have here as well as going into town to visit the sites of the birth of this nation. I do love showing off Philadelphia and in my little way I love sharing my country.