How the Sharing Economy Can Impact Retirement

John Diehl   |  Tue Mar 14 14:30:00 EDT 2017


It’s crucial for financial advisors to know what emerging trends are changing the industry and how those trends might affect their clients. The sharing economy phenomenon—the upsurge of community-based online services such as TaskRabbit, Airbnb, Yelp, Lyft, etc.—is a topic that could be particularly pertinent to retirees, even though you might expect the older generation to be a little more wary to embrace such innovations. The ability to participate, as both a consumer and a provider, in economy-sharing resources has the potential to change the face of retirement as we know and envision it today in three important ways:

1. Job Creation
After working every day for forty plus years, some retirees might find that having so much free time can be tedious, and they might seek out part-time work. This is where the sharing economy comes into play. A retiree could, for example, become a driver for Lyft so that they can get out of the house, socialize, and make some extra cash. Retirees could also reap these benefits by renting a room in their house on Airbnb or offering up help around the house to neighbors on TaskRabbit.


2. Aging in Place
Most people hope to live out their retirement years in their own home, and the sharing economy is making it easier for retirees to live independently. For example, several ride-sharing apps make mobility possible for those who no longer drive, while grocery delivery services such as Instacart and Peapod can help retirees keep their cupboards stocked. The sharing economy increases accessibility to just about anything, and can therefore be a valuable option for the elderly who aren’t ready to rely on others.

3. Budget Conservation
The sharing economy can be good for a person’s wallet, because it allows for easy and convenient comparison shopping. Using such services as Yelp, Angie’s List and Home Advisor gives retirees 24-hour, on-demand access to reviews and price trends for any service out there. There are also several sites that are made up of regular people who are simply willing to offer their skillset where it is needed, so it’s possible that they come out cheaper than calling the big-name company with the billboard. With more competition, more options, and easier access, the sharing economy resources could be helpful to retirees who are worried about making their money last.

Financial advisors are expected these days to deliver more than returns, and understanding the sharing economy and how it might benefit retirees is one way to bring more value to clients. Familiarize yourself with these different services, so you can bring them up with clients who are having trouble finding their way in retirement. It’s a good way to share with them an optimistic, informative perspective on one of life’s greatest mysteries, retirement.


Hartford Mutual Funds may or may not be invested in the companies referenced herein; however, no particular endorsement of any product or service is being made.


John Diehl

John Diehl  

Senior Vice President, Strategic Markets Hartford Funds

John Diehl is senior vice president of Strategic Markets for Hartford Funds. He and his team are responsible for engaging and educating financial advisors and their clients about current and emerging opportunities in the financial-services marketplace. These opportunities range from tactical strategies in areas such as retirement-income planning, investment planning, and charitable planning, to anticipating and preparing for long-term demographic and lifestyle changes. John also oversees Hartford Funds’ relationship with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab.

John joined the company in 1988 and was promoted to assistant vice president in 1991 and vice president in 1997. He was named senior vice president in 2007, while he led the Retirement and Wealth Consulting Group, which was responsible for building awareness and knowledge of retirement challenges and the latest planning strategies to address them. In 2012, John was named Senior Vice President, Strategic Markets; in this role, he devotes his efforts to serving the needs of financial advisors and their clients.

John has been widely quoted in consumer and trade publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Financial Planning, and On Wall Street. He has also appeared as a featured guest on CNBC and Bloomberg Television to discuss his views on retirement-related topics.

John attended Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. He has been a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) since 1991. In addition, he holds the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®) designations. He is also FINRA Series 6, 7, 63, and 26 registered and holds a life and variable insurance license.

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