Not ready to throw in the towel? You don’t have to—join the millions of retirees who are redefining retirement by starting their own businesses.
These days, retirement presents a unique opportunity. You can start over, explore new career paths, or become self-employed. In fact, according to Challenger, Gray, and Christmas, as reported in U.S. News and World Report, people age 55 and older represent one of the fastest growing groups of self-employed workers in America. It makes perfect sense. After spending 30 or so years developing valuable business skills and gaining practical experience, it can be quite rewarding to put your knowledge and expertise to work—for you.
Is starting a business right for you?
Make no mistake: starting your own business takes a lot of time and energy. But the perks may be worth it! You’ll enjoy additional income, have a flexible schedule, and work from home. You may even enjoy additional tax deductions. Plus, you get to work for your favorite boss: you! If starting a business sounds intriguing, here are some first steps that can help:
- Think about what you would like to do—When you retire, you’ll have a clean slate. You can do whatever you want to do, so choose something you care about. Be creative and stretch your imagination. If you love business, maybe you would like to become a business broker. If you love travel, maybe you would like leading tours to favorite areas. Do you love cars and driving? Start a transportation business. You’re retired now—the world is your oyster.
- Understand the differences between business entities—Deciding on the right structure for your business is important. In fact, the mechanics of setting up your business can be one of the most challenging parts of getting started. Make sure you understand the difference between a sole proprietorship, a limited partnership, a corporation, and a limited liability corporation, before you officially open the doors of your business. It is a good idea to get some legal and accounting advice about which option would best fit your needs. Your lawyer or accountant can also help you identify and complete any required paperwork.
- Marshal your resources—Free advice is available for prospective business owners. You can check out the Service Core of Retired Executives (Score) at score.org. Score is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the formation, growth, and success of small businesses across the country. With the help of 10,500 volunteers, the organization offers online assistance, face-to-face business counseling, and low-cost workshops.
There is a wealth of information in books, such as Retiring as a Career: Make the Most of Your Retirement, by Betsy Kyte Newman; Turn Your Talents into Profits, by Darcie Sanders; or 101 Ways to Make Money At Home, by Gwen Ellis.
Often, the best advice comes from people you know and trust. So, if you are serious about starting business, talk to friends or family members who have done it. Hearing about their experiences may be just what you need to help make a final decision.