Retirees turn to sharing economy to boost their income

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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?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 8
  1. 0

    And of that $250 you lose $94 in tax. So makes it $78 a week – wonderful! How damn generous!

  2. 0

    All well and good but you haven’t even mentioned the fact that there are consequences to this ‘sharing economy” that many disregard. Apart from the tax bill and possible loss of age pension, there are insurance issues which may violate your policy rendering it invalid should you need to make a claim, strata liabilities, council regulations about running a business from units, and the list goes on. The ATO combs the share websites for registrants and will follow up on leads they get.

    It’s one thing having the occasional house guest for a few days now and then, it’s quite another to be working full-time and saying you are retired! You may be a retired tourism operator but you may be a full-time dog walker! It doesn’t make it less of a job.

    • 0

      If you are not on a government pension it is quite legal to change your mind after retiring and accepting Superannuation and returning to work again. As long as you sort your income out with the ATO there is no law against returning to work after retirement and many self funded retirees actually do so.

      Sensible people would sort the insurance issues out as well.

  3. 0

    I thought you had to be an employee to be eligible for the work bonus (i.e. not your own business or subcontracting). Did I get that wrong????

  4. 0

    The people who use air bnb are usually cheapskate travellers from low socio-economic backgrounds
    Do you really want these kind of people in your house and have to clean up after them ?

    • 0

      Might be so in this country, olbaid. I only use the service for overseas stays and what I found there that most owners are of a better class and would never qualify for the age pension here. Use airBNB in Switzerland, Ireland, Austria and Hungary – if you pay cash at the end of stay you get a nice discount. Even there they do not like the taxman too much.

    • 0

      What a lot of garbage. What do you base that assumption on, what facts have you got to share.
      I know the answer – none. We’ve used AirBnb extensively and know numerous others who do the same, including many of the AirBnb hosts themselves and none of these people I speak of are from “low socio-economic” backgrounds.

      More of the absolute BS from you.

  5. 0

    Better than stuffing around with extra income: mates of mine told C/Link that they no longer have anything in common with each other or have conjugal relations. Been husband and wife for 35 years, have no pot to p+ss in or a window to throw it out of and are now on 2 single pensions. 2 bedroom apartment at $200 a week with rent assistance. $42000 per year income and rent about $11000. No problem. First C/Link was not happy but they went to appeal and now they are left alone. Paying their rent seperately from different bank accounts – problem solved. Without any assets I’d be tempted to do the same; how much sex do you guys have at 75?



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