Retirees are getting in on the Sharing Economy!
A recent study from JP Morgan Chase shows that roughly 1% of seniors over 65 are making money from online gigs. Since more and more people are working at least part-time in retirement, it shows that the days of idle retirement as we traditionally know it are pretty much over.
The American Association of Retired Persons partnered with Uber in 2015 to get more senior drivers onto the Uber platform (24% of Uber drivers are at least 50 years old, and 3% were retired at one point,according to Uber). In January, the New York Times reported that Uber was able to recruit 600 new drivers through the program alone. This clearly points to a new demographic that has been overlooked in the past as active participants in the economy.
The report indicates the trend is likely to pick up steam, as more and more Baby Boomers continue to work later into their lives. “In 2016, 26% of surveyed Baby Boomers said they now plan to retire at age 70 or older, up from only 17% five years earlier.” This tells you alot about the new economy and the new realities of our ever evolving world. pHlatbed is no exception.
Likewise, other platforms are finding seniors to be great providers. Over at AirBnB, people aged 60+ are the fastest-growing and best-reviewed age group on the platform. At labor platform DogVacay, which connects pet sitters with owners, people over the age of 50 constitute 25 percent of sitters and are the fastest growing segment. Over here at pHlatbed, we see the older folks getting a piece of the pie….got a truck? Make a buck!
Going forward, policymakers should pay close attention to this phenomenon and consider how to protect and promote the welfare of all platform workers, including seniors. Social safety net programs like unemployment insurance, workplace benefits, and other protections available to most workers under the law are often inaccessible to platform workers, who are commonly classified as independent contractors. Additionally, platform employment opportunities do not typically withhold taxes from take-home pay. As a result, more low- to middle-income seniors might find that they have to make tax payments and might even owe tax underpayment penalties. Innovations to predict and automatically withhold or save taxes owed could help these workers avoid owing significant payments at tax time.
In the same token, seniors comprise the active electorate. So when politicians and their lobbyists try to muscle in on the Sharing Economy with their bureaucratic inclinations…well…they may lose a segment of their electorate in the process.