The Entrepreneurial Senior

Retirement used to be about a time when we look forward to enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle after decades of slogging away in the workforce. It was envisioned by many retirees as a time to enjoy a life of independence, to spend more time with family and friends, travelling and engaging in activities that gave them enjoyment and satisfaction.

Alas, this is a time of great malaise and financial instability in most world economies. That vulnerability has had a negative impact on retirement savings of those looking forward to enjoying their golden years.  Many retirees, to their dismay, have to come to terms with the fact that their retirement dreams either have to be set aside or abandoned. These retirees are mostly baby boomers. They either have to remain in the work place longer than planned or be creative in generating additional income to replenish their retirement savings, often depleted by poor investment advice. They have become The Old and The Restless” ….. restless to strike out on their own and become entrepreneurs and address anxieties that they might outlive their pension.  This scenario appears to be the catalyst that is giving birth to the surge of entrepreneurial seniors’.

The entrepreneurial surge is a remarkable development occurring in the baby boomer generation. This rapidly expanding demographic is frequently described as being more healthy and wealthy, and much better educated than the previous generation of seniors. Sadly, not all baby boomers have accumulated considerable wealth and many are burdened by debt. A significant number carry heavy debt loads such as mortgages and other debts into their retirement years. Some also have to support unemployed offspring in the ongoing recession. This situation has led to the growth in ‘seniors entrepreneurship’.

Becoming an entrepreneur is an attractive option to supplement inadequate pension savings and also to satisfy a desire to becoming an independent business person. Some seniors tend to be drawn more towards  service-oriented projects such as care-giving, home-help services, or beautician services that don’t require a huge financial investment to get started. Other retirees establish a start-up business that requires more capital investment for selling a high-end product or service. It  is important to ensure the business venture is viable and is not in a ‘dying industry’ or the business will have a short life cycle. The digital age, with computers and information technology, has created numerous business opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs. To their credit, a  significant number of boomers are well-versed in the technology and can take advantage of the opportunities it spawns.

Establishing a business is a major undertaking at any stage of life from both a financial and personal perspective. There are daunting’ challenges’ but also great ‘rewards’. In setting up a business most entrepreneurs have to make ‘sacrifices’, especially in the initial phase.  Budding entrepreneurs should take note that many start-ups fail within the first two years of a business. Some entrepreneurs have great enthusiasm but lack  business acumen. It is essential to be disciplined and make sacrifices by working harder than you ever have to achieve success.

Aspiring entrepreneurs must become well-versed in accounting, income tax laws, various government regulations for small business, and very important, satisfying and maintaining your customer base. Other challenges include developing a good business plan, solidifying access to additional capital, improving financial literacy to make sense of financial statements, dealing with suppliers, maintaining relationships with other entrepreneurs, hiring good staff and, also crucial, finding and keeping customers to ensure the long-term success of the business.

Apart from financial considerations, there are other reasons why seniors choose to become entrepreneurs …  they can finally make their own business decisions!  The idea of entrepreneurship takes shape in their mind and the desire to set up a business becomes an attractive option to ensure a stable source of income and create a needed product or service. Whatever the reasons behind the decision to become entrepreneurs, it seems that the fragile economy and ‘longevity’ of seniors have become a driving force fuelling this remarkable development. They are following their ‘passion’ but in order to be successful that passion must be tempered by focussing on the bottom line.

Clearly, establishing your own business can have multiple rewards. Setting up a business is not only about money which is the primary goal.  In fact, successful entrepreneurs get personal satisfaction by fulfilling the needs of other people through the services and products they offer. One of the best rewards aside from the success of the business is the ‘feeling of pride’ that the new entrepreneur enjoys with all that they have achieved. So to those who are “The Old and Restless” and considering entrepreneurship the message is …. it is never too late to re-invent yourself in order to make a contribution to your community and fulfill dreams of running your own business.

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Below are helpful links on setting up a business:

Starting Your Business
http://www.canadabusiness.ca/eng/page/2856

Starting a Business in Canada – Make sure you are ready for entrepreneurship
http://www.canadaone.com/tools/startingabusiness.html

Guide for Canadian Small Business – Guide for Starting a Business
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/rc4070/

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About Golden Wave Movement Canada

The Golden Wave Movement is a made up of engaged individuals who have serious concerns about the increasing challenges retirees surviving on modest pension incomes face nowadays. While our main purpose is to raise awareness of the financial difficulties faced by this vulnerable group of citizens, we also intend to raise awareness regarding challenges related to their physical, emotional and psychological well-being.
This entry was posted in Baby boomers, Business start ups, Entrepreneurial Seniors, Entrepreneurs, Retirement, Seniors demographic, Small business and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to The Entrepreneurial Senior

  1. Areila says:

    Whether you are young or old these days you have to work extremely hard for your business to succeed. I was in my late 50s when I was given a package from the govt. that by no stretch of the imagination was generous. I was not ready to walk quietly into the sunset and had to find a way to survive better. The economy was tanking and I still had debts that made me uncomfortable. I was now unemployed in a time of high unemployment. I had a lot of energy and wanted to continue working to maintain my lifestyle. I tried to look at whatever options were out there for me. I had a good background in accounting and used to help friends and relatives with tax preparation so it seemed a natural choice to set up a home-based income tax business. There wasn’t too much of a learning curve for me except when dealing with complicated business returns. The experience has been an education in every sense of the word. The business is doing well as it is based on referrals from my clients. The downside is that at tax deadline time I get very little sleep. Thankfully after the crazy tax season is over I get some well-deserved rest. To those who are baby boomers looking for ways to generate income to survive this economy you should consider setting up you own business in whatever area you feel you have a calling. Be prepared to work very hard.

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  2. Mike says:

    You have to do lots of research and find ways to promote your business…. also important to get legal advice. Setting up a business needs guidance from experienced and qualified professionals. It will cost but it will be worth it the end. It is a good idea to get advice from those already running successful small businesses. Lots of networking is needed and this can be facilitated by online social networking. This would be especially useful with home-based businesses that offer online services.

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  3. JDP says:

    Maybe the boomers have been looking at Dragons’ Den and that gave them the courage to become entrepreneurs. The problem is they retired too early having not done the math re. the cost of longevity to their retirement savings and see entrepreneurship as a financial cushion . They see an unsettling future ahead and that is the main reason so many are considering entrepreneurship. They are educated, in good health and have a lot of corporate experience under their belt. The increase in seniors entrepreneurs will help boost the economy.

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  4. Ken says:

    Good overview. Given the dire warnings of skill shortages and the shrinking workforce, there should be lots of opportunities opening up for us. The knowledge and experience we have gained over the years is too valuable to simply throw away when we reach that age.

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  5. Sam says:

    Very useful information provided here for entrepreneurs. I think it commendable that retirees are becoming entrepreneurs to continue contributing to society. We have to. Would we be in this tough situation but for those big corporations, especially the financial services sector? As someone recently said to me …. it is those ‘financial terrorists’ who have world economies in a mess. Very accurate description!

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  6. Jenny R says:

    So we are not only ‘old’ but also ‘restless’! Nice play on the title of that TV soap “Young and the Restless but without all the silly drama.. Being “restless” by venturing into entrepreneurship is great for us seniors and also for the economy. Those who do venture should pay close attention to how to run a business ….. you must have a good business plan, pay attention to accounting and finance, and keep customers satisfied. You had no mention of marketing which is critical to draw in customers especially when exploiting the power of the internet … a well-designed website with good content is a great tool to market your business services and products and draw customers. Great article !

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  7. Grumpy says:

    It is great that seniors are embracing entrepreneurship. Seniors, especially baby boomers, have a decades of business experience. That can certainly help the economy grow – governments don’t grow the economy – big corporations are sitting on so much money and don’t seem to care enough to create jobs even though they are beneficiaries of huge BAILOUTS. It is SMALL businesses that create jobs and they should be given more government incentives. Small business is the best way to get our stagnant economy out of the quicksand it is in.

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  8. MAB says:

    A business venture will be a great opportunity for retirees wiht entrepreneurial spirit. Many still have outstanding mortgages and can’t use their homes for retirement income. We have boomers, zoomers, Gen X etc. etc who will be around much longer than the previous generation of seniors — each in this group has different needs. If there is a focus on providing services or products speciically for seniors then these must be needed by seniors and the seniors must also have the means to purchase them. There are lots of great ideas on the internet for the types of small businesses seniors could could establish that cater to seniors. Such a successful business can be a boost to retirement income..

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  9. Cathy says:

    A good tip to senior entrepreneurs is to get into a business that you love and, as they say, the money will certainly follow — there is a lot of truth that old adage but it is crucial to keep focused on generating income for the success of your business. Even if there is the occasional disappointment there is reason to get up in the morning and start again to do what you love while earning $$$. As you make more contributions to society you become a better human being. It is doing nothing that is the enemy.

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  10. F.D. says:

    Begin planning your retirement business during your active working life. In order to make your passions work for you, expand your hobby into a business. The income should be looked at as what allows you to pursue your hobby once your career has ended. Think of the income as secondary. The social contacts you will develop through this business will be far more enriching. And yes, your customers are the most important element of this experience; without them you do not have a business. Word of mouth is the best marketing strategy. Go out of your way to keep your precious customers happy. And please forget the value of the time you put into this business. Start small, be attentive to your market and make public relations your greatest asset. You will have the great pleasure of seeing your business grow throughout the years.

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  11. Dolores Ianthe says:

    This article gives good advice to seniors about the challenges of starting and maintaining a business. I agree that one must not forget that a business’ overall success is ultimately measured by the bottom line. However, be sure to operate ethically as much as possible. If you want to run your own business but are short on good ideas, consider opening a franchise. The downside is that it costs thousands to purchase, the upside is that the trade name is already well established. The surge in entrepreneurial seniors can certainly help the economy and, more important, provide additional income that will supplement pensions for seniors who carry too much debt.

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  12. JL says:

    Aside from passion, hard work, business savvy, and so forth, a new entrepreneur must have adequate capital to establish a successful business. – many boomers are carrying too much debt. The decision to become entrepreneurs requires lots of creativity in securing the finances for a business venture. For some seniors the government’s decision to defer CPP and OAS to age 67 is likely one of the main factors in their decision to get into a business venture to generate additional income. The future is not only about challenges associated with the time bomb of the expanding seniors population – it is also about longevity as we are living longer and are more healthy than the previous generation. That has implications for society as a whole. Becoming a senior entrepreneur can be a sustainable way to deal with some of those challenges. .

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  13. Robbie says:

    Financial difficulties at any age have mostly to do with the problematic relationship between psychology and consumerism. External forces cleverly shape our purchasing choices and get so many us into a financial mess along the way. If you didn’t do the proper planning well before retirement then your golden years might become an experiment in a ‘financial catastrophe’. In order to lessen the ‘financial catastrophe’ those considering retirement need to seek out GOOD advice and guidance in managing their finances. Becoming an entrepreneurial senior can be an option for those concerned about ‘financial catastrophe’ ….. especially those who have a hobby or passion that can be turned into a viable business enterprise.

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