Share, Don’t Own!

Aug 11, 2015 by

Carsharing recruitment posterLoyal readers will know I’m a passionate proponent of carsharing. In the early and mid-2000s, I helped found and manage the nonprofit Hourcar in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, and I’m on the Board and take care of the fleet for a small carsharing cooperative I helped launch in 2011 in the community where I live now.

One of the main selling points of carsharing is that, depending on how much you need (truly need) to drive for mobility, carsharing can save loads of money compared to surprisingly costly car ownership. (See AAA’s “Your Driving Costs”, available through the Money Counselor Free Downloads page.) This simple concept has exploded over the past decade, and technology is making it easy to share all sorts of expensive assets. Airbnb is in large part a tool to allow property owners to share their home or investment property. Uber is sharing technology in the sense that it makes easy modern day hitchhiking—grabbing a ride in someone else’s car, but for a fee—thereby making car ownership less appealing. Tool lending libraries are a growing phenomenon.

Savvy Millennials in particular are asking themselves: why should I own stuff when I can buy the service or borrow the asset on an as-needed basis and save myself a ton of money and hassle while preserving my freedom (to relocate easily, for example)?

Why indeed?

The Sharing Explosion

Because of my keen interest in sharing generally and carsharing in particular, an article I ran across in the Times-Call caught my attention. Titled “Possessions so last year as new sharing economy grows in Boulder County“, the piece highlights a trend that just may be the biggest money saving opportunity we see in decades: sharing. Check out this graphic from the article:

sharing economy statistics

As you can see, sharing’s not only about saving money. It’s fun and tends to build community. When you share, you meet people! I love that 57% say “access is the new ownership.” Hey, owning something can make sense. But the more expensive an asset and the less regularly it’s needed, the more sharing makes better sense.

And I don’t mean just financial sense. Everything you own takes time, potentially a lot of time. And the more you own, the more you feel tied down. Mobility and flexibility is crucial in today’s work environment. Employers and entrepreneurs value nimble, flexible, and creative-thinking employees and partners.

Sharers Make Money Too!

Sharing isn’t only about saving money. The tools and technology available today are helping people earn income from the assets that they do own. In some areas, you can make your personally owned vehicle part of a carsharing network and get a portion of the fees when members of the carsharing organization drive your car. Sites like Airbnb make it easier for you to earn money from your home or property you own. And services like Fiverr help you “share” valuable skills, for a fee of course, while timebanking is about swapping skills (so a money saver).

Do You Share?

Are you taking advantage of sharing technology and opportunities? What’s your motivation?

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