Startup Business Considerations for Retirees

by Lois Leonard

4 min read

Retirement is the perfect time to relax, vacation with loved ones and pursue neglected hobbies. Or not.

These days, not all seniors are eager to kick back and enjoy their twilight years in peace and quiet. On the contrary, many retired individuals are jumping at the opportunity to start businesses. A lifetime’s worth of work experience, paired with great business connections, combine to make older professionals uniquely suited to entrepreneurship. In fact, a 2012 report by CIBC revealed that businesses started by a professional aged 50 and older accounted close to 30% of total start-ups.

Still, not every retiree is in a position to start a business. Before launching a startup, it’s important to evaluate the various factors that can impact your success as well as your financial stability in the years to come. To get us started, here are three of the top startup business considerations for retirees:

1. Financial Circumstances

Financial factors are an essential consideration for entrepreneurs of any age; however, they are especially important for retired individuals. For many retirees, the ideal business is one with low startup costs that can be run from home, such as a transportation company, a consulting business or even an event-planning service.

While seniors may be able to risk some portion of their savings to launch a business, older entrepreneurs should take care not to use their Registered Retirement Savings Plan savings or—worse—their homes to fund new ventures. Additionally, older business owners should make sure they have medical insurance before going out on their own, as they are more likely to require expensive treatments that can drain their savings.

2. Qualifications

Of course, money isn’t the only important consideration when launching a business in your golden years. Retirees should also assess their ability to pursue a particular startup field. To put it another way, simply having interest in a given industry doesn’t necessarily translate to finding fiscal success in it. For example, the fact that you love jewelry may not qualify you to make your own earrings to sell online. Before investing your resources in a startup, make sure you have both the desire and expertise to achieve your goals.

3. Connections

One of the many advantages of launching a startup later in life is that you can take advantage of a lifetime’s worth of work experience and contacts. After years of employment, often in various jobs and industries, individuals can boast an impressive network of connections, including former colleagues, business partners, friends and even competitors. Before starting a new business venture, take some time to consider your network of connections, and determine any areas where you may have a leg-up on the competition. Not only can seniors utilize professional and personal connections as startup consultants and advisors, but they can also mine these resources to find potential clients and vendors as well.

Great Startup Ideas for Retirees

Thinking of launching a startup after retirement? You’re not alone.  A struggling economy means that aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages should select their business ventures carefully.  Here are a few of the best startup businesses for individuals to launch later in life.

4. Consulting Services

Professional consultants serve as advisors for businesses or other individuals in various industries. After a career’s worth of experience, many seniors are uniquely suited to launch their own consulting businesses in retirement. Not only do seniors possess a great deal of expertise, but they also offer a network of connections that can prove invaluable. Some of the most popular consulting industries among seniors include accounting, computer services and business development.

5. Tutoring

Are you a former schoolteacher looking for a lucrative startup idea? These days, many seniors are starting tutoring businesses to earn money after retirement. Not only can you launch a tutoring company with little to no startup costs, but as a former certified teacher, you can earn $50 an hour or more for your services. As an added bonus, these businesses can be run easily from the comfort of your own home or via the internet. Seniors can pad their retirement savings while sharing their hard-earned knowledge with future generations.

6. Elder Care

These days, people are living longer than ever before, and many of them require assistance from professional caregivers. As a healthy and active senior, you may want to consider launching an elder care business. Not only are older individuals more likely to understand the needs and desires of other seniors, but they often have prior experience caring for their own children or even adult parents. And because senior care services are typically performed in the client’s own home, you won’t have to worry about purchasing office space or turning your own house into a workspace.

Launch Your Dream Startup After Retirement

Despite popular perception, the truth is that entrepreneurs can achieve success at any age, provided they have a strong entrepreneurial spirit, industry expertise and the required financial resources. In fact, Henry Kaiser founded Kaiser Permanente, one of the country’s leading healthcare providers, when he was 63 years old.

Do your research, and consider all the positives and negatives before deciding if forming a “late-in-life” business venture is the right choice for you.

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