The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01053

Submission Number:
01053
Commenter:
Thompson
State:
Massachusetts
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
Hello- Just this past year my husband and I sat down to figure out what we could do about college bills. We have two sons in private colleges. They are bright and talented but there isn't a lot of financial aid for middle class families. We both are teachers, (I have two part time positions and my husband works full time), and we have found it hard to make ends meet and support them while in school. Even though both our sons had work-study last year and the colleges gave them some financial aid, they still have taken out loans each year. Meanwhile, there is still a $40,000plus balance each year that we are paying out of pocket for them. This represents my WHOLE paycheck (from both of my jobs)! I am in my late 50s and my husband is in his early 60s. We should be saving for retirement but I have had to forgo this to pay the college bills. We have a two family house and live on the second floor and rent the first. When a tenant moved out last May, we decided to furnish the apartment and try AIRBNB instead. The money that we have made this past year allowed us to pay for our sons' education rather than remortgage our home! Midyear, one of our sons graduated and was underemployed locally. He moved back in with us and we were able to partially employ him to work for us with our AIRBN unit, cleaning, etc. It helped him pay some of his school loans, build a resume in his other job, and helped support his other brother who is still in school. He has just been offered a full time job! Heck, I was even able to put money into my Roth for retirement again last year. Something I hadn't been able to do since my eldest started school! We have one more year before our second son graduates. We then hope to help both of them pay their collective $50,000 of debt! We don't think that our children should start their working careers with debt that kind of debt! This past year we paid taxes, supported our children in school, and partially employed one of them. Meanwhile, we invested in our property, replanted our yard, repainted, updated the electrical. Our yard and house have never looked better. During a recent neighbor's son's graduation we were able to put her parents up for free in our home (we usually have no space in our apartment for guest!). This past year we have met people from all over the world and country who come to visit family, apply for jobs, look at area colleges, or just come as tourists to the Boston area. We recently put a family up who was attending a funeral and didn't have enough money for area hotels and a couple who was staying for the birth of a new grandchild and wanted a place where they could also cook a meal and bring it to the new family. Our home is cleaned from top to bottom eight or so times a month and we are reviewed and review the people who come so everyone is on their best behavior! AIRBN has allowed us to get a handle on our finances and our sons' futures without going further into debt. It has improved our property and, subsequently, the property values around us. It has provided a service to folks from grandparents to young people traveling on a shoestring, and it has helped us take control of our financial life. Has it been hard work? Yes! Would we do it again? Yes! Please allow folks to continue to find creative solutions to family finances, debt, lack of employment and underemployment! Respectfully, a baby boomer mom