Retirement Age Entrepreneurs

A growing number of workers at retirement age are choosing to become entrepreneurs to beat poor pension rates and the rising cost of living.

Data from the Office for National Statistics released last week showed that, in the five years to 2011, the average life expectancy at birth in England and Wales rose from 77.5 to 78.8 for males, and 81.7 to 82.8 years for females.

As people live for longer in retirement, many are choosing to carry on work by setting up their own business. The most common reason for older people to take on business is to boost their retirement income, but not at the expense of giving up their hobbies as many retirees turn them into careers.

Research by the Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (Prime) found that the number of self employed people over the age of 65 rose from 223,000 to 345,000 for the period 2008 to 2012; an increase just short of 60%.

Popular choices of start-ups among people past retirement age include floristry and gardening, tuition or coaching services, running a bed and breakfast and trading on auction sites. However, the threat of failure is still very real and the importance of business fundamentals should not be ignored. One in five new businesses shut in the first year, and 50% go under within three, according to Inside Startups, the website.

Finding customers is one of the most difficult parts of running a business. So it is crucial to research markets, identify potential clients, and work out how to attract them before investing your time and money.

Having a partner with overlapping skills can be a great help when starting up, but partnerships involve more planning than setting out as a sole trader.

To find out more about running your own business, contact the Prime (, which offers a range of workshops and courses as well as networking and mentoring opportunities. Age UK, the charity, runs computer training courses at locations around the country, while the National Careers Service (NCS) is another good place to find courses aimed at entrepreneurs of all ages.

To read the full article, please visit: Sunday Times, Money Section, Pg. 6.

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