More than Half of Americans Are Using Shared Services Like Uber, Lyft

WHY IT RATES: Travel agents have been forced to learn the ins and outs of shared services when helping clients book vacations.—Donald Wood, Breaking News Senior Writer.

The sharing economy continues to provide ways for Americans to save and earn money, but most are using shared services as customers, not to earn income.

The latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index revealed that over half of Americans (54 percent) are using some type of streaming, ride-hailing, home sharing or maintenance service often. Of Americans using these services, more than half (59 percent) are using them at least once a week and one quarter (25 percent) are using them every single day.

When it comes to spending, three-in-four (72 percent) are spending less than $50 a month on things like Uber rides, Netflix and Airbnb. However, only a handful of Americans (3 percent) are actually using these services to earn money despite the fact that nearly half (42 percent) rank their financial security as fair or poor.

“It is clear that the sharing economy has profoundly impacted Americans and their consumption habits, however, few are leveraging the rise and popularity of these services to improve their finances,” says Doyle Williams, an executive vice president at COUNTRY Financial. “Similar to a part time job, services like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb can be a great way to pay down debt and build up retirement accounts, but marginal expenses associated with sharing can add up fast. Take Simple Steps to evaluate your budget and insurance plans to make sure you are covered and have the financial resources to get a substantial return on your investment and time.”

Earning Money from the Sharing Economy

The COUNTRY Financial survey revealed that of those using services to earn money, the more (2 in 5 respondents) are using ride-hailing – Uber and Lyft – followed by home sharing – Airbnb – (1 in 5) and home maintenance – TaskRabbit – (1 in 7).

Americans who are using services like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb to earn money tend to earn between $501 – $1,000 a month. They are also using this income to primarily pay down debt and afford every day expenses (1 in 5); however, nearly 1 in 4 (1 in 5) would instead like to drop that money into a retirement or savings account.

“Individuals who are considering earning income through the sharing economy should keep their goals in mind, whether it’s paying down debt, saving for retirement or just paying the bills. Working in the sharing economy can mean drastic shifts in income, so creating a budget is vital,” said Williams.

Understanding Coverage, Insurance & Risks

Of Americans who are using services like Uber and Lyft to earn money, more than half (3 in 5) have not purchased insurance to cover themselves or their customers. In fact, more than a third (nearly 2 in 5) don’t think they will be completely covered by their insurance in the event of an accident or incident.

“Be sure to get a clear understanding of the marginal costs associated with these services,” continued Williams. “Research the maintenance costs for your property or car, the taxes that have to be paid and most importantly, talk with your insurance representative about proper insurance coverages to protect you and your customers.”

For more information, reach out to your local travel agent.

SOURCE: COUNTRY Financial press release.

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