(Originally published on SixtyandMe.com)
Retirement has changed. A lot. Today it is more about transitions, rather than endings; more of a journey rather than a milestone.
Pensions and other traditional safety nets are mostly a thing of the past. As Baby Boomers, we have to rethink the way that we look at retirement and create our own financial, social and physical security. We need to think about how we are going to balance work with life, passions with commitments and the needs of others with our own.
We need to think about what we still want to do and achieve in life, and make plans to be able to realize those dreams. We need to think of retirement as a ‘re-balancing’ and a rebirth, rather than an ending. And, more often than not these days, we need to do all of these things on our own while planning for a retirement which could be 30 years long!
Become an Encore Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurship can be a good way to achieve all of these goals. When you become an encore entrepreneur (someone who starts a business later in life), you create a company and a job for yourself. Sometimes you create work opportunities for others.
If there was a lesson that came out of the 2008 recession (and we all know that there were many of them), it was that each of us is ultimately responsible for assuring our own careers, compensation and retirement. Owning your own business gives you more control over these outcomes.
Yes, there is more risk and more responsibility to manage, but there is also an opportunity for greater control, fulfillment and reward.
Entrepreneurship is a viable option for people who want to keep earning an income past the age of 60 on their terms. Age becomes irrelevant.
Are you one of the 63 percent of Americans who plan to work during their ‘retirement’? It’s a trend that is being seen worldwide. If so, small business ownership could be a good way for you to put decades of experience to use.
We accumulate a lot of expertise, skills and connections during our first careers. Entrepreneurship can put those assets to work in a new ‘encore’ business.
Enjoy the Flexibility and Financial Benefits of Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship can also be very flexible. Technology has made it much easier to get a business up and running, and to be able to work on the go, from anywhere in the world. Startup costs can be very low, especially if you choose to work from home.
You can sell and distribute products through online portals such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy – sometimes without ever touching the product or printing a shipping label. Or you can choose to create a website and become an affiliate who earns money from leading visitors to products or other sites. Your options are almost as limitless as your imagination!
In addition to starting new businesses, Baby Boomers are also providing a wealth of new business ideas for entrepreneurs that go far beyond healthcare and ageing-related sectors. Ideas include products and services that are needed by Boomers who are working longer, traveling more and are more active. They offer suggestions more focused on health, fitness and appearance than any generation that has come before them.
It’s a win-win all the way around. Encore entrepreneurs create new businesses and jobs by serving their fellow Boomers. Who could possibly know their wants and needs any better?
There is also a fast-growing market of solos who live, work and travel on their own. If you are a solo Baby Boomer and you have a business idea that serves both markets at the same time, you likely have a winner on your hands!
Become Independent in Your Sixties
Entrepreneurship is ideal for people who value independence. You are the captain of your own ship. You get to steer it whichever way you see fit. You call all of the shots and make all of the decisions. You decide how much to work, what markets to serve and when to chase a new opportunity. It’s also up to you to keep your business afloat. Your success will depend on your personal abilities, commitment and effort.
You will also reap all of the rewards of your efforts – and income is only one of them. Your new business will also help keep you active, mentally engaged and financially fit – key goals to creating a happy, healthy and independent future. Becoming an encore entrepreneur is a great way to reinvent retirement. Learn how to get started and other strategies for navigating today’s ‘retirement’ in my book, Retiring Solo.
Have you ever considered becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business? What advice would you give to someone who is considering becoming an entrepreneur? Do you have an idea for a small business you would like to start?