There’s more to life (and sharing) than money

3 min readJan 30, 2021

Money is often the initial motivation for seeking ‘paying guests’, but many mature homeowners go on to find that the experience of sharing their home rewarding in other ways too.

Take Sarah, a North London homeowner in her 50s. Back in 2014, when a business setback meant money was very tight, she and her husband, Rob, decided to use their spare bedroom to boost their income.

A toe in the water with Airbnb

When they decided upon paying guests as an income stream they approached it cautiously and became Airbnb hosts to test the water. Over 5 months they had five visitors stay with them, most for short stays, a couple for a few weeks.

The guests were interesting to meet and there were no bad experiences. However, it was not a total success. The bookings were sporadic and uncertain, so it was difficult to count on their Airbnb room as the source of a steady income and when a young Italian visitor asked if he could stay long term as a lodger, they jumped at the opportunity.

They enjoyed shared interests

That was in 2015 and Antonio stayed with them for two years. They became good friends, often enjoyed cooking and eating together, trips out, watching TV together and discussing shared interests like music and art. Sarah says Antonio told her he learned more about Italy from them than he had back home!

When Antonio moved on, Sarah placed an ad on a site for those seeking long term…




Co-founder of Startup School for Seniors & Nestful. Currently working remotely in the Gran Canaries to escape the UK winter.