The New Retirement Plan: Starting a Business

The New Retirement Plan: Starting a Business

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As most adults enter their 50s and 60s, their thoughts turn towards retirement. Though a majority of individuals are content spending the last third of their lives relaxing and traveling, others, for a variety of reasons, choose to enter the workforce once more. Some particularly ambitious members of the baby boomer generation even choose to start businesses of their own.


Is there a business opportunity that you’ve always wanted to take advantage of? Do you have a hobby that you want to turn into a career? With motivation and dedication, you just might succeed at starting your own business!


Starting a Business: Things to Consider


Before starting a business of your own, it’s important to step back and evaluate your personal wants and needs. Are you looking to make a little pocket change by pursuing a creative hobby, or are you hoping to build a major enterprise? Studies show that 4 out of 5 businesses run by adults over the age of 50 are “lifestyle businesses” focused primarily on supplementing retirement income while fulfilling personal passions. In the United States, for instance, most boomers claim they’d be content with earnings of $75,000 or less. Most boomer entrepreneurs also prefer working solo or with small teams of employees; just 12% of U.S. senior businesses have six or more workers.


If you’re interested in starting a business of your own, consider how you’d like your business to work with your future lifestyle. If you’re looking to build a retirement home in a rural community, for instance, you might want to start an online business rather than a brick-and-mortar establishment. If you have caregiving responsibilities or want to travel regularly, consider how you’ll build a business that will also allow you to fulfill these desires and needs.


Practical considerations should also be addressed before beginning your entrepreneurial journey. Do you know who your customers will be? Can you turn a profit by selling your goods or offering your services? What are your competitors doing and how will your business set itself apart? Developing a solid business plan and having a general idea of potential marketing strategies will set you up for future success.


Even if you plan on running your business by yourself, you will likely need to rely on others for guidance and professional assistance. Consider researching business mentors and bookkeepers in your area. A little help from others can have a huge impact on the success of your entrepreneurial undertaking.


Financing Challenges


Most entrepreneurs over the age of 50 report that their biggest challenges include financing their businesses, securing capital, and maintaining reliable cash flow. In the United States, most senior entrepreneurs reported financing their startups with cash. One in four boomer-preneurs also used their retirement plans as a source of capital. Others relied on the support of family and friends, while a smaller number turned to bank loans to finances their enterprises.


Before starting up a business, consider how much you’ll be able to invest in your pursuits. Though tapping into your retirement savings may be worth it in the long run, you also want to ensure that you’ll still be financially secure if your business doesn’t succeed.


Boomer Business Opportunities


If you have a passion or see a great business opportunity, consider pursuing it! If you’re interested in becoming self-employed but have no idea where to start, consider starting a business that fulfills a practical need. Taxi-like services, such as Uber, have many senior employees. If you like driving and interacting with the general public, consider opening a car chauffeuring service of your own!


For those who love the written and spoken word, freelance writing, translating, and video captioning offer money-earning potential. If you enjoy working with children, research opportunities in childcare, teaching, and tutoring. For those with creative flair, interior design, home renovation, or crafting may be a good fit. Reselling goods online, walking pets, and landscaping are other popular small business opportunities pursued by many older adults. The possibilities are practically limitless!


In Conclusion:


Though starting a business is never easy, following your entrepreneurial dreams can be immensely fulfilling. Whether you’re looking to start a small “lifestyle business” to sell your arts and crafts or fantasize about becoming a “Colonel Sanders” and founding the next KFC, solid planning, good support, and hard work will go a long way towards helping you realize your entrepreneurial dreams.



Photo: © JLPfeifer /

Editor, 10/11/2018