The Economics Of The Sharing Economy (Infographic)

A decade following the Great Recession, the U.S. economy finally appears to be booming. The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in fifty years, the nominal wage growth has risen to be the highest it’s been in ten years, and the economy continues to grow. But underneath the surface of these seemingly promising statistics, the cost of living continues to rise. Some places have recovered better than others, and stronger than before, but many people remain participants of the growing economy without feeling as if they participate in much of their lives.

The cost of living has increased 14% in the last three years - far outpacing the wage growth. In fact, real wages haven’t seen much change. There’s only been a two dollar and thirty-eight cent increase from 1964 to 2018, putting the current average wage at $22.65 per hour. This minimal increase along with the continuously increasing cost of living is causing Americans to struggle to live a great lifestyle. Especially in places such as Colorado Springs, Fresno, Columbus, Arlington, and Austin where they have had to endure a 30% increase. People are surviving, but there’s more to life than merely getting by. In America, 58% of people have less than $1000 in savings, in addition to the 32% having no savings at all. This year, two out of every three Americans couldn’t afford to take a vacation. Some of those that rent their housing are having to spend more than half of their income on necessities. As it is costing more to live and fulfill our basic needs, lifestyle luxuries are disappearing and the general happiness of American adults continues to decline.

We’ve all heard the idea that ‘money can’t buy happiness.’ While having money may not specifically equate to happiness, money can directly and scientifically influence your mood. With stagnant wages and rising cost of living, the key to happiness isn’t just having money, but how we spend it. With our currency, we are able to fulfill our needs and desires and also reduce stress in the face of hardships. As our salaries rise, it is proven that our emotional wellbeing increases along next it. Our self-reflections also become more positive with a higher income. Again, having money does not guarantee that you will have happiness, but there remains a science to ‘buying happiness.’

On average, the human mind wanders 47% of the time, often to a negative place. But anticipation and good memories give the mind a happier alternative. In a 2003 study, participants said they felt happier when they had an experience to anticipate or participate in, as well as when they were recalling memories of an experience. In another study conducted in 2012, participants were likely to mention experiences in their conversations, feel that their values and identify were reflected through their experiences, and connect with others when hearing about them. Our lives are filled with experiences, those we paid for and those we didn’t. Eleanor Roosevelt once said “the purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Things and items are expensive, especially in this economy. Experiences can be created and leave you feeling richer than before.

Most people hate hearing others talk about their stuff. But talking about experiences are less likely to leave people feeling like they can’t measure up. In addition to the negative comparisons made when discussing owned items, purchases, especially big ones, can bring up anxiety over upkeep, damage, or theft. As it becomes increasingly pricey to purchase items or luxury services, the sharing economy can take away those worries so you can focus on the good.

There’s a solution to financial stress and the overbearing cost of living while also wanting to live your life to the fullest. Experiencing the sharing economy can save your lifestyle by doing exactly what it sounds like: sharing. Whether you’re looking to turn your dormant assets into cash, or planning time to relax - the sharing economy has something for you. It brings on-demand access, no burdens of ownership, and is also better for the environment. Learn more about how to embrace the sharing economy and save money from the infographic below.

Read next: 150 Apps That Are Empowering The Gig Economy [Infographic]
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