Lifeline for struggling retirees

Research shows that one in 10 Australians is now taking advantage of the sharing economy, and little wonder. The same data reveals that those who do, can earn an average of $1100 a week for just five hours work.

These numbers are the reason many retirees are turning to the sharing economy to help boost or supplement their retirement income.

Many older Australians have been forced into early retirement, either through retrenchment or injury. Those who haven’t reached Age Pension age find themselves on Newstart, or a disability, carer or other pension, and most will struggle to make ends meet. Sharing services, such as Sharing Hub, allow unemployed people to become self-employed with no or very little outlay and low or no joining fees.

For those on the Age Pension, the Work Bonus makes the sharing economy an effective way for retirees to supplement their income without reducing their pensions.

The Work Bonus allows pensioners to earn no more than $250 per fortnight or up to a total annual balance of $6500.

John and Jo are just one example of how the sharing economy can work for retirees. John and Jo are a semi-retired couple in their 60s who run their own business, Far South Coast Camper Hire, using the Camplify platform.

The couple’s business is based by Wallaga Lake in New South Wales – a perfect location for campers of all abilities. Their home business now earns over $40,000 per year renting out their five vehicles and setting them up where requested. They use the income to assist in their retirement, allowing them to maintain a comfortable lifestyle whilst pursuing their passions.

After retiring from a career in tourism, Joanna, a single 71-year-old from Melbourne, looks after dogs through the Mad Paws website. After starting out slowly, she’s nearly watching canines full time and earning a pretty penny for her work.

“I didn’t plan for it to be so constant, but people have sought me from all parts of Melbourne and I have found it hard to say no!  I am blessed here with a great house with back and front yards, very spacious and fascinating for the dogs to explore,” said Joanna.

Other Sharing Hub platforms available to older Australians include Spacer, a platform that rents out any available space you may have for storage and car parking – almost like an Airbnb for storage space; Car Next Door, a peer-to-peer car sharing service; and ToolMates, a platform for tool and equipment sharing.

“The sharing economy is a flexible and effective way to help boost your income before and during retirement. By working with Age Pension Work Bonus rules, older Aussies can earn more without extra income affecting their pension payments. This is a great change by the government, allowing people to earn more money without being penalised,” Justin Hales, Co-founder of The Sharing Hub told YourLifeChoices.

“These platforms are ideal to fit for retirees because the financial flexibility allows you to increase and decrease your earnings to coincide with your changing needs.

“The sharing economy also fosters a positive sense of community because you are lending assets between your peers.”

With so many retirees worried about not having enough money to last their days, the sharing economy provides a way for them to earn money. Older Australians can offer something as simple as space, tools and clothes they aren’t using, or services that are well within their abilities, and the hours can be as flexible as you desire. Obviously, the more work you have, the less time you’ll have, but you’ll be nicely compensated with more money as a result!

Do you use or are you earning money from the sharing economy? Which platforms do you use? How has your experience been?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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