The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01606

Submission Number:
Katherine Connell
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I'm a retired school teacher, but most of my teaching career was in owning and operating a preschool/child care business. Saving for retirement was difficult in this business, as I put so much into the business, which was small and in rented spaces. I paid my teachers better than many, and included health benefits and vacation pay. When I realized time was passing and I had no retirement plan, I went back to public school teaching. I retired 7 years later at the age of 65. My retirement benefits, including social security (my public school teaching did not give me ss benefits) stands now at $1500/month, not a livable amount. Thankfully, I own a house, bought with a small inheritance in 1987. There is an inlaw apartment downstairs, a converted garage, which I had made livable while I was working. Renting it out helped supplement my rather low income. When I retired, I moved downstairs and rented my main house, as I needed the income to supplement my benefits. When I heard of Airbnb, I realized I could move back upstairs, as the income would be better due to shorter term rental. I was not very happy living in the darker downstairs. It would also allow me to have my family visit and stay in the apartment, as my house is small, even the upstairs, and I'd have more control over having free times with no guests. As soon as I signed up with Airbnb, I began getting guests. Airbnb took care of everything, for which I am so grateful, as business - paperwork, keeping track of things, including money, is such a headache for me. I'm not good at it. I would be very stressed if I had to manage it all. Now my extra cash goes to improving the space bit by bit, having a cleaning person come in between guests (I'm 76, and cleaning takes me 3 times longer than it used to, plus puts stress on my body and mind) and I can work in the garden, my favorite pastime, with the added benefit of making a lovely setting for my guests. Airbnb has been a godsend for me. I have met so many lovely people from all over the world. I can afford to go visit my family - my daughter and grandchild and son in law - in NYC twice a year now. I feel better about myself because I'm happy with what I do and what I can provide my guests. I can employ people - my cleaning person, and occasional carpenters and painters. I can afford more plants for my garden! I just bought a beautiful new birdbath. And guests are delighted by the hummingbirds that come to the feeder. I appreciate that Airbnb even takes care of the taxes from that income. Oh - and I have been able to save, for those inevitable rainy days. Thank you for hearing my story. I certainly do hope I can continue this great relationship with Airbnb. It has made a world of difference in my life. Sincerely, Katherine Connell