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Building a happy retirement

Viewing retirement as being a time of endless opportunity is the first step, says retirement expert David Kennedy. And if you're looking to start a business but think you're too old – think again: experience, networks and resilience are just three valuable qualities you can bring to the entrepreneurial world, writes Danielle McCarthy.

Let’s start a business!
Let’s start a business!
Andrew Rbalko / Getty Images

Experience, networks and resilience are just three valuable qualities you can bring to the entrepreneurial world, writes Danielle McCarthy.

Think you’re too old to start a business? Think again. The 55+ age bracket is the fastest growing demographic for launching new businesses and proves that age is no barrier to entrepreneurship. Retirement provides a wonderful opportunity to pursue your passion on your own terms and earn an income in the process.

According to Megan Giles, a retirement transition expert, establishing a new business can help realise a genuine sense of purpose in retirement. There are a number of motivators for starting a business after stepping away from a ‘real’ career. It might be that you developed a specific or highly desirable skill set during your career and don’t want your skills to lose currency. It might be that you have a hobby and are excited to pursue it with passion, or that you are an empty nester with more time on your hands and want to do something meaningful with your days. Whatever your motivation, why not give it a go? Remember that there is nothing wrong with making money by serving and delivering great value to others.

One of the strongest points of difference that retirees have to offer is the ability to identify with, and respond to, the needs of a fast-growing consumer demographic – the Baby Boomers themselves. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Stats NZ, at least 15 per cent of the Australia population were 65 or older in 2017, which accounts for 3.4 million people – and at least 14 per cent of the New Zealand population was 65 years or older in 2013, almost double what it was in 1981. Baby Boomers constitute a significant part of the consumer market and are inclined to do business with other Baby Boomers because they ‘get’ them. They think to themselves, you’ve been where I’ve been and you understand what I need.

Key actions to take when starting a business in retirement

  1. Do Market Research For the greatest chance of success it is important to ensure you are solving a problem in a marketplace. Who is your ideal client? Can you describe them – what they like doing, how they spend their time, and what is important to them? Do you know someone who fits this description? Chat to them and find out if what you want to offer will appeal to them. Test and refine. Find some more people to speak with. Test and refine again.
  2. Stop and Reflect Take a moment to stop and reflect on your strengths, your proudest moments, the challenges you have overcome and what you are truly passionate about. This will provide a positive foundation on which to build your business.
  3. Plan Identify the problem or opportunity and assess if you have the right skills to respond. If there are any gaps consider if you need to bring in some expertise, be that coaching, outsourcing or upskilling. Determine how much money you are willing to outlay, how many items/sessions you need to sell to break even (and better yet earn a profit) and then make that one of your goals.
  4. Set Ground Rules Make the distinction between work and personal time. Remember, retirement is about lifestyle – you don’t want your business to become all-consuming. Set these expectations early and hold yourself to account.

The Baby Boomers have always been the ones to break the rules and to challenge the social norms. Why should that be any different in retirement?

Want to download a FREE PDF version of this Retirement Supplement? You can! Australian residents: click here. New Zealand residents: click here.

This article first appeared on oversixty.com.au.
 



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