Entrepreneurship is more popular than ever. It’s a great way to take control of your work life, accomplish something new and potentially set yourself up for the future. Launching a business is also becoming increasingly popular with a specific group – baby boomer business owners.
Makes sense: some need the work, as they’ve been laid off or no longer are finding success in their current profession. For stay at home parents, perhaps starting a new business is the only way to reintegrate into the workforce after so many years at home.
Many simply want to try something new for their final working years. Others may be realizing that retirement is something they’re just not all that interested in; why not find a second career they can dig into for a few more decades?
The Benefits Of Business Later in Life
Boomers are at a great stage in life to start a new business. They have years of experience — both in life and at work — giving them an advantage when making shrewd business decisions. Many have paid off their homes and are able to take some financial risks.
Lenders, suppliers and partners like the look of all of the above: they want to take a chance on someone who’s stable, has a great track record and little baggage.
Pensions Put At Risk
It’s not all ideal. Boomers are nearing retirement age and need to be sure that their personal finances are being cared for during start-up. That means saving for retirement while simultaneously investing time and money into a business. As well, while someone who has had a great job or raised a family for decades has great life skills, not all of those are transferable over to entrepreneurship. In fact, a longtime successful person might overestimate how great their business idea is.
Tips for Startup Success
• Consult a financial planner to make sure your retirement savings stay on track.
• Protect your assets. Remortgaging your home or putting in too much of your own personal money could put you and your family at risk.
• Consider having your spouse stay in the traditional workforce while you take the risk — to keep the family finances stable.
• Put together a comprehensive business plan and use your lawyer, accountant and lender to help you assess the viability of your business.
• Build some flexibility into your new work arrangement — make sure someone can cover you if there are issues with aging parents, children or other family responsibilities.
• Look ahead to succession planning. It seems odd to think about selling or passing on the business when you’re just starting, but you need to plot out retirement as soon as possible, even if the plan doesn’t go into effect for another decade.
• If you are losing insurance — life, health and disability — from your workplace, be sure to get yourself properly covered as you move forward.
If you’ve put all the proper checks and balances in place, why not go for it? It might be a great age to start something new and cash in on all you know.