Retirees are going back to work – as Airbnb hosts | CNBC Reports
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Retirees are going back to work – as Airbnb hosts | CNBC Reports


I am 62 years old. And Young, how young are you? Just a two year gap. Three, three years. Why? This is Sam, a retiree and Young, a homemaker.  I’ve
come to stay with the couple in Seoul, South Korea. Their one and only son has
grown up and moved out. That means they have a
lot of time on their hands. They’ve converted their home into a guesthouse,
and now host people from around the world, mostly through Airbnb, though they also get reservations
from their website and through word-of-mouth. Is this the Instagram spot? Instagram spot, yes. Sam and Young are some of the many retirees
in Korea turning their spare bedrooms into home-sharing opportunities, so they can
make some income, but more importantly meet new people and
find purpose through work. Over the next three days, I’m staying
with them to learn how hosting helps combat loneliness in a country
with a dramatically aging population. Uptin? Nice to meet you. Hi, nice to meet you. Just call me Sam. Sam? Yes. It’s my first time to Korea. Oh okay. I can get it. Oh, no problem.
I’m still strong. Welcome, hi, hi. Nice to meet you,
my name is Young. This is my son. I was immediately surprised
at the warmth of Sam & Young. It was certainly not like a business for them
at all, it was really much more than that. I took my wife to the top of the mountain and asked
her to marry me and I got permission from her. So that mountain,
that’s the magic spot. Yes. Sam and Young have invited me to go to lunch
with them at a restaurant just near their house. Sam spent his entire career
at Hyundai Merchant Marine, which is one of the world’s largest
container shipping companies. The older we get, the less we get
a chance to meet young people. He retired five years ago at 57. From the guest house operation, I can
listen to many foreigners’ life story. But he thinks retiring in your
50s or 60s is too early and that it should be done
when someone reaches their 70s. He says most of his friends who retire spend
their time worrying about their future. South Korea is facing an aging crisis, its population
is getting older and the birth rate is slowing. South Korea is currently aging faster
than any other developed country, and by 2050, more than a third of its
population will be over the age of 65. Many employers in South Korea are often
reluctant to retain their older employees. It’s not uncommon to set a mandatory
retirement age, sometimes as young as 55. Crimes committed by the elderly
in South Korea is also surging in part due to the rising elderly
poverty rates and social isolation. Meanwhile, countries like Japan and Singapore
are also grappling with aging populations. Come 2030, Singapore will
raise its retirement age to 65, while Japan is planning to raise its retirement
age from 65 to 70, or even 75. JongHee works for Airbnb in South Korea and
says the stereotype of a ‘senior’ is changing. The world is changing, and the senior is also
changing.  They are very open minded. They can become a very good
Airbnb host to share their life. Airbnb refers to people over 60 as ‘active seniors,’
it’s the fastest growing age group for Airbnb hosts. Active seniors receive the most 
five-star reviews by their guests when compared to
younger generation hosts. Globally, 85% of reviews for
senior hosts are five stars. And it’s a hot growing sector. In the past 12 months, senior hosts in South
Korea welcomed more than 350,000 guests, a whopping 75% increase
from the previous year. I see my father’s generation, my mother’s
generation, they devoted their whole life to develop this country but at the end of their
senior lives, they are not very active and happy. But if they have an opportunity for a second
life, you share your wisdom with others, you share your life story in
Korea with all foreigners. She says Airbnb does little marketing to seniors and they
often find out about hosting through word of mouth. I can communicate with the young people
from a foreign country.  I am happy. Sam tells me that 10 years ago there was
no concept of guest houses in South Korea, but now the idea is becoming
increasingly popular. It says ‘guest house’ here
so is this competition? No, no collaboration. Frenemy? Frenemy! A few years ago, their
son Andy moved out. The young generation all over the world, they
don’t want to get married and that’s a problem. Also they don’t want
to deliver their baby. And even though they have their differences, Andy and
his parents agree that hosting has been good for them. Keeping themselves busy after retiring.
I think that’s making them still young. Andy could be right. Researchers
have found that being social is linked to improved health
and even an extended life. People with strong social relationships
are 50% more likely to live longer. I can’t help but notice how social Sam & Young are,
not just with me, but nearly everyone they see. We just met the new neighbor! Yeah, we have to
welcome them. Think she’ll be a
good neighbour? Yes! So we just met a couple from
Indonesia during our walk. Sam told them about his guesthouse
and even gave them a business card. It’s really neat to be able to go through
a local neighbourhood like this. Even if I did discover something like
this on a Google or TripAdvisor, I wouldn’t have the local knowledge to actually
see and hear the stories behind the town. That wall is famous.
You see the wall? You can always tell when someone lights up
when they’re doing something they love and I really
got that sense. Even though it was a lot of work they took such pride in
everything they did, and it was kind of inspiring actually. Main purpose of our life is I would like to see my
family members happy, that’s my main purpose. So many times we think of retirement as this
big dream, that once we get to retirement we don’t have to work, but seeing how enriched
their life is because they now have a second chapter was really inspiring and it actually makes
me think that maybe we’re thinking of retirement in the wrong kind of way, of course, the idea
of it providing financial freedom is great, but at the end of the day work can provide
so much meaning and purpose to people, and I think it was really evident
in watching Sam and Young. Hey guys, it’s Uptin,
thanks for watching. Check out more videos on your right and
while you’re at it, subscribe to our channel. I’ll see you next time.

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