LAST night 40,000 people rented accommodation from a service that offers 250,000 rooms in 30,000 cities in 192 countries. They chose their rooms and paid for everything online. But their beds were provided by private individuals, rather than a hotel chain. Hosts and guests were matched up by Airbnb, a firm based in San Francisco. Since its launch in 2008 more than 4m people have used it`2.5m of them in 2012 alone. It is the most prominent example of a huge new `sharing economy`, in which people rent beds, cars, boats and other assets directly from each other, co-ordinated via the internet.
10 questions to ask before family members and friends become business partners
Bringing a family member or friend on board as a business partner may seem like a fine idea, but the relationship can prove tricky to navigate--or to end, if things don't go well. "It's easy to get into business, but it's hard to get out," says Wayne Rivers, president of the Family Business Institute, a consulting firm based in Raleigh, N.C.
Q: I'm thinking of using our stronger dollar to purchase some vacation property in the United States. What do you think of this strategy? Also, can I use RRSP funds through the Home Buyers' Plan to do so?
A: As the RRSP Home Buyers' Plan will not allow you to withdraw funds for vacation property, your only option to use RRSP funds would be through a regular withdrawal that is fully taxable. In this case, factor in up to 30 per cent in taxes being withheld when you withdraw, with any outstanding tax balance due when you file your 2013 tax return in April 2014.