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June 2016

Ideas for Starting a Business After Age 50

Entrepreneurship is alive and well in America -- and not just among the young 'uns. More and more Boomers are striking out on their own for the first time, many after successful careers working for someone else. In fact, the 55 to 64 age group actually has a higher percentage of people starting businesses than the 20 to 34 age group.

A recent article by Benjamin Pimentel of NerdWallet in USA Today offers some good ideas for starting a service business after the age of 50. Consulting is an option that could make sense if you have a special expertise and depth of knowledge in a field that is something people or businesses need. Another option you may not have thought of is taking advantage of an aging population and starting a business that serves the needs of people who are older than you. One example, writes Pimentel: "Patient advocacy services for seniors who need assistance with health care-related issues, such as tackling billing mistakes or sorting out insurance coverage. There’s also a need for home-modification professionals, fitness trainers for seniors and personal finance planners."

Pimentel has other good suggestions; check them out in his article.

I can tell you from personal experience that creating a service business after 50 can be very rewarding. My wife and I started a business together in our 50s, ran it successfully for seven years, and got an unexpected bonus -- we were able to sell it. You can read about how we did it in our book, Let's Make Money, Honey: The Couple's Guide to Starting a Service Business.

Resources for Boomers Looking for Work

It's no surprise that Boomers want to or need to work -- but as I've written in this blog before, finding work at 50-plus can be a challenge.

The following is a good list of a variety of resources that could be just what you need to point you in the right direction, as well as understand the implications of work over 50. This list is provided courtesy of Lisa Gonzalez at Eldercorps (

Re-Entering the Workforce - Marketable Skills After 50

An Aging Workforce: New Opportunities for Older Executives

5 Part-Time Jobs for Retirees

The Senior's Guide to Becoming a Real Estate Agent in Their Golden Years

Recruitment and Retention of Older Workers: Considerations for Employers

Aging and Mental Health: Workplace Considerations

Spotlight on Seniors: 10 Ways Employers Can Encourage a Healthy Work-Life Balance for Senior Employees

And here's one more idea. If you think you might want to start your own business with your spouse, check this out:

Working After 65 is a Must for Many

A more frequent story in the media these days is about people age 65 and older who are in the workforce. A recent example is an article on that begins this way: "Almost 20 percent of Americans 65 and older are now working, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s the most older people with a job since the early 1960s, before the U.S. enacted Medicare."

In the story, Ben Steverman cites five reasons for people putting off retirement:

  1. "They need the money"
  2. "They like their jobs"
  3. "Employers want (some) older workers to stick around"
  4. "Older Americans are healthier and living longer"
  5. "Or maybe retirement just isn't as much fun"

Steverman quotes an economist who says it "has become increasingly normal to be over 65 and working." I noticed just the other day how many seniors seem to be working at such retailers as Lowe's and The Home Depot. As a frequent visitor to the Biltmore in my home town of Asheville, I see many seniors there greeting guests, driving vans, taking tickets, leading tours, and serving in restaurants. Still, a big challenge for silver-hairs (of which I am one) is finding employment that is stimulating, rewarding, and allows the flexibility most older workers want.