Let me ask a personal question. How old are you? 40? 50? 60? If you are in that age range, then you've probably given retirement and what you'll be doing afterward some thought and consideration.
So, what will you do? Will you simply quit working? Or will you also quit being productive? Will you live on less, and are you prepared to do so? Have you considered becoming a midlife entrepreneur?
Perhaps you think that entrepreneurship is just for the young, That anyone past 50 is simply too old to start up a business. That midlife is the time when you should be thinking about retiring and winding things down.
If you do, then midlife entrepreneurship isn’t for you.
However, if you …
- like to call the shots and live life on your own terms,
- have a strong desire for autonomy and independence,
- know how to evaluate and take calculated risks,
- and are highly self-motivated,
… then midlife entrepreneurship could be right for you.
I come from a long line of entrepreneurs. Both of my grandfathers owned their own businesses, as did my father and, at one time, my brother.
At the age of eight, I began my entrepreneurial career as the Baby Buggy Grocer selling fresh produce from my little brother's baby carriage. In 2004 I became a midlife entrepreneur and started up Alkamae to help women entrepreneurs start up businesses of their own.
What about you? Could becoming a midlife entrepreneur be the right step for you to take?
The Changing Face of Retirement
Retirement, and how we view it, has changed dramatically since the beginning of the 20th century. Before pension plans became standard offerings to U.S. workers during World War II, most people continued working until death, relying on personal savings and family support to sustain them. While 65 is considered the normal retirement age in the U.S., many of today’s midlife entrepreneurs eschew that age, preferring to remain actively involved in their businesses well into their 80s. With Baby Boomers comprising nearly half the country’s self-employed workers (7.4 million), entrepreneurship among seniors is growing (so say reports from AARP and the U.S. Department of Labor). People turning 50 today still have lots of life ahead of them, and each year more than four million men and women join their ranks.
So, what is retirement, then? Is it the time when you stop work completely or is it the time when you retire from one job and begin another? Does it start at a certain age or depend on the number of years you have served in a specific capacity? Is it based on your physical condition or your personal choice?
10 Reasons for Becoming a Midlife Entrepreneur
- You’re healthy with many years ahead of you.
- You want to stay involved and engaged.
- You enjoy generating extra income.
- You get to build a business around something you enjoy and are passionate about.
- You have a full Rolodex and 20-30 years of experience to back you.
- You want the independence and flexibility that come from working for yourself.
- You have confidence and experience and know what you’re good at.
- You may already have a pool of money saved to help finance your business.
- You can do business from home, using the Internet as your storefront.
- As an entrepreneur, you aren’t discriminated against because of your age.
So what does retirement mean to entrepreneurial women who have successfully woven passion into what they do as small business owners? Do they plan on retiring when they reach the age of 65? Do they even want to?
If you are happy making money, know you are contributing meaningfully to society, and enjoy waking up every day to work you love, it's hard to think about stopping, isn't it? Oh, sure, you could use some time away, an extended vacation, or even a more relaxed pace. But do you actually want to retire?
These days retirement is what you make it. Take control of your retirement by staying involved, continuing to contribute, and following your passion. Consider the above 10 reasons for becoming a midlife entrepreneur. Who knows? Perhaps like me, you, too, might find that there are some very compelling reasons to either become or continue being an entrepreneur. You might also find that midlife, contrary to popular belief, is just the beginning.