Q: I'm thinking about starting a business after I retire next month. I'll be 65. Am I too old to start a business? -- Milton A.
A: Milton, congratulations on your pending retirement. I find it admirable that after many years of hard work you are thinking about starting a business. While most men your age would be content to sit on the porch and watch the world go by, you are considering a ride on the entrepreneurial roller coaster. You're certainly tall enough to ride this ride, but are you too old?
Here's my standard answer: It depends. It depends on your health, your energy, your drive, your goals, and of course, your finances. If all those are in good shape and you have your spouse's approval (that's a biggie), then there is absolutely no reason why you should not start a business at your age.
In fact, the numbers are actually in your favor. According to recent studies 22 percent of men and 14 percent of women over 65 are self-employed. That's compared to just 7 percent for other age groups.
According to a Vanderbilt University study the number of entrepreneurs age 45 to 64 will grow by 15 million by 2006.
That's compared to a 4 million decline for entrepreneurs age 25 to 44.
A 1998 survey of baby boomers conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) revealed that 80 percent of respondants planned to work beyond retirement age, and 17 percent of those planned to launch new businesses.
The study noted, "Self-employment among American workers increases with age, with the most dramatic jump occurring at age 65."
Older entrepreneurs may also find starting a business easier than their younger counterparts because older entrepreneurs tend to have more experience to draw from and more assets with which to finance a business.
Further evidence comes from a report released by Barclays Bank entitled Third Age Entrepreneurs - Profiting From Experience. The report shows that older entrepreneurs are responsible for 50 percent more business start-ups than 10 years ago. This amounts to around 60,000 business start-ups last year alone.
The survey also showed that today's third age entrepreneurs (as the report calls entrepreneurs over the age of 50) don't mind putting in the hours required to build their business. Nearly 49 percent work an average of 36 hours or more a week.
Third agers also rated holidays, lack of stress and a balance between work and home life more important than their younger counterparts.
The report further showed that only 27 percent run the business as the only source of household income, with 51 percent supplementing their pension.
Other key findings showed that third age start-ups account for 15 percent of all new businesses, and third age entrepreneurs are three times more likely to be male than female. There is a downside (isn't there always?). Many businesses fail within the first few years and older entrepreneurs may be less able to handle the financial loss than younger entrepreneurs.
It's one thing to lose everything at 25, but it's a much bigger deal to be financially ruined at 65.
So my advice, Milton, is that if your health and finances allow (and the Mrs. gives the green light) by all means start your business.
Climb on the entrepreneurial roller coaster and hang on tight.
You get the senior discount, by the way.
Just try not to lose your lunch when things get bumpy and you'll probably do just fine.
Here's to your success.
Small Business Q&A is written by veteran entrepreneur and syndicated columnist, Tim Knox. Tim serves as the president and CEO of three successful technology companies. Tim is also the founder of http://www.OnlineProfits4U.com, an ebusiness dedicated to the success of online entrepreneurs. Tim is also the Ebusiness Startup and Design Expert for Entrepreneur.com.
Career Planning 101 Has the Information You Need to Get Your Career Headed in the Right Direction
Every Second Counts: Time Management And The Retiree
Retiree activity for senior citizen
If you are already retired then I am sure you will remember the sense of heightened anticipation that began as soon as you realized that you were on the final countdown when it came to working for a living.
If you are still working but coming up to retirement then I am certain that you will know what I mean! You cannot wait to have all the time in the world to kick back and enjoy life without being tied into a contract or having to work every day for no personal reward whatsoever. Retirement is something that we all look forward to immensely, but some seniors are mightily disappointed when they find out just how far away from the dream the reality actually is.
The honest truth about retirement is that it can be so boring that many lose the will to live, quite literally. With nothing to do but sit and stare out of the window, some seniors just give up. They do not appreciate the freedom of time they have because they no longer feel the sense of achievement that they felt during their working lives.
However, retirement is what you make of it. It is possible to enjoy every minute, to revel in the freedom that effectively being our own boss brings. You just have to manage your time effectively. There are many ways to actually do that, but you need to come to terms with being retired and not having any obligations before you can fully appreciate just how wonderful a thing time management actually is.
The first step towards managing your time effectively is compiling lists, believe it or not. Make lists of what you enjoy doing, how you want to make the most of your time, what you want to do or achieve before you die, what activities your ideal day would involve and any other similar lists that come into your head.
To do lists are wonderful things because they are designed to remind the person who wrote them exactly what they need to do. They manage your time, which is exactly what seniors need to do in order to enjoy their retired lives. If you write down exactly what you want to achieve on paper then it will not fall out of your head at a moments notice. The piece of paper that you use to list all of the above will act as a reminder of how you can enjoy life to the fullest in retirement, and you can refer back to it when you are bored!
Designating certain days to specific events may be a tactic that some seniors choose to employ. This gives you some sort of routine so you have the time to make sure that you are taking care of your general health as well as your mental well being.
Establishing a routine will allow you to remain organized, visit your family, take care of your household chores and still leave time for social events and activities that put the fun into life. However, make sure that you do inject some sort of activity in there, because a staid and boring routine of household chores and family will only leave you wishing you were back at work. Retirees are not supposed to think like that at all so avoid it at all costs!
Planning your life according to a timetable takes all of the fun out of living, and spontaneity doesnt have to go out of the window just because you are a senior! You should take every opportunity that is given to you.
This could include anything, but especially refers to activities you have always wanted to do but never had the time for when you were working. Living every day as if it were your last is a good idea, regardless of age, so live every day by this philosophy and you wont go far wrong.
YOUR retirement CAN mean freedom, enjoyment and extra income!
The Joys Of Life As A Senior: Hobbies
Retiree activity for senior citizen
It is a sad fact that working in order to live your life the way that you want to leaves very little time for doing the very things that we work so hard for. The pace of modern day life dictates that the majority of people that do work have very little social time, regardless of how they choose to spend it.
Long and unsociable hours mean that very few people can enjoy themselves whilst they are still young, so logic dictates that seniors should make up for lost time and live every moment as if it were their last. Do the things you always wanted to do when you were younger and accept new hobbies into your life. Retirement provides the necessary time to spend the fruits of your labour, so choosing not o do so would defeat the object of all of those years spent in an office.
Most seniors do have hobbies and use them to pass the time wisely. Society perceives senior hobbies as traditional old people things to do, such as bowls, knitting, doing jigsaw puzzles and gardening. Whilst all of these pastimes are relaxing and constructively use your time, you should not be limited to participating in these kinds of hobbies. Making the most of time is all about doing something that you always wanted to, and age should not put you off that. Even if you only try something once, the experience can significantly enhance your life.
It is completely up to you as an individual as to whether you decide to pursue the traditional if stereotypical hobbies or begin to try new things in the hope that you will find a new hobby somewhere down the road. Whichever way you choose to go, as long as you are happy then it really doesnt matter what other people think. However, trying something out of the ordinary may give you an unparalleled sense of achievement and freedom.
For example, there has been a story running in local and national newspapers about the Granny Bikers. The youngest member of this particular club is in her early seventies, and the oldest in her early nineties, but all of them go out a couple of times a week on their motorbikes. The motorbikes they ride are not just any old bikes; they are Harley Davisons, Yamahas, Suzukis and Hondas.
They thoroughly enjoy riding out together, the wind in their hair, because it gives them a sense of freedom. They enjoy every aspect of their lives and, although they flaunt their mortality, they are living every moment to the full.
I am not saying that seniors should hop on the nearest motorbike, but I am saying that you should take a leaf out of their books! They are doing something that they fully enjoy a couple of times a week, and it is something that very few of them actually did before they retired.
If you wish to try a new activity then check out the groups and clubs in your area. There will usually be community listings that can inform you of the nature and meeting times of various activities. If you do a little research, you can often decide whether you like the sound of it or not.
You are under no obligation to any club or hobby so trying something new would not do any harm, but it may just give you a new lease of life!
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