Shared Economy, Unshared Wealth

There is a lot of buzz going on about the shared economy right now. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, the shared economy represents the use or rental of a product owned by another person. The perfect example of this would be Lyft, where people who own cars are hailed for a ride. Or Airbnb, where someone rents out their home to someone else.

At a time when the societal mantra seems to be own less, the shared economy seems to be on an ever upward trend. People are renting apartments at record numbers, we don't own books, we download them, we don't own movies or music, we stream them. Most consumers prefer not to own, for convenience and for price.

I recently read an article about Generation X that worries me. It seems that investment in the stock market is being avoided, due to a mistrust of the system. I can understand this because the markets took a huge hit during the recent recession and people lost everything, if they cashed out. When you lose money, you lose trust.

I'd ask those avoiding investing in the market to take another look. The market has come roaring back. It's a huge driver of wealth and I would ask the younger Gen X and Y not to ignore their future, financial well being.

In my opinion, the stock market is a variation of the shared economy. It's an opportunity for everyone to own a piece of a company, and benefit from its growth. Companies that take advantage of the shared economy are doing incredibly well. There is no reason the users of these companies should not also benefit from their growth, and not just their services.

When the shared economy saves a few dollars for the users but makes millions for a few founders and investors, I see an unsustainable problem. Of course, no one can force you to invest your money but perhaps there should be better outreach efforts made.

I would ask people to step back into the stock market, believe in the economy and support the life changing companies being created every day.

These companies should find ways to include their user base in the generational wealth being created today. I'll probably get some flack for this suggestion but, in an era when services are sold and products shared, it is the users who create the demand and deliver the service. Let's thank them. Let's include them. Let's reward them.

Share the product, share the service, but also share the wealth. Believe in yourself and invest for your future. Users should invest in their favorite companies and the companies should invest in their users. That's a true shared economy.