Tips for Starting a Business as a Senior

As many senior citizens hit retirement age, they realize that while they may be ready to leave their present job, they’re not quite ready to embrace the term retiree. With average lifespans increasing and the average age of retirement being 65, many senior citizens can still fit in many more years of valuable work experience.

If you’re considering starting your own business post-retirement, you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reportSelf-Employment in the U.S., the self-employment rate among workers 65 and older is the highest of any age group in America: 15.5%. It’s only 4.1% for ages 25 to 34.

Starting a business after retirement can bring about many positive results. In addition to boosting your retirement income, it can provide health benefits, providing a sense of purpose and excitement. “Acting on our passions and setting future goals can really do great things for a person – for their mind, body, and soul,” says Derek Sall with

If you’re finding yourself in this situation and considering what to do next, we’ve got some guidelines on starting a business in the golden years.

Find something you love and are passionate about

At this point in your life, if you’re going to start something like your own business, make sure it’s something that you truly love doing and have a passion for. What do you tend to do in your free time? Are you someone who loves to help others? Maybe a business providing a service to the elderly would fulfill you, financially and emotionally. Do you love pets? Maybe a pet-sitting business is right up your alley. Look at the things you already do and love and find a way to parlay that passion into a business idea.

Be realistic about the costs

Some businesses will cost more than others right from the beginning. How much money do you have to invest in a business venture? This should not be money that you take away from your retirement savings, but other money you have saved or have available. A simple consulting business, for example, may not require much out-of-pocket to get up and running, but if you’re considering something along the lines of a franchise, then you’ll have significantly higher costs. Expenses need to be strongly considered before you embark on your new venture.

Keep healthcare costs at the top of the list

As you look at the expenses involved in starting a business one of the most important costs that you should take into consideration is the cost of healthcare. Retirees have higher health care costs than other demographics and need to factor in how much they will spend on Medicare, any supplemental insurance, prescription medications, and out-of-pocket expenses that will not be covered by an insurance or Medicare plan.  

Medicare eligibility can be determined easily online. As you sit down and prepare your budget, use the online tool to figure out what your approximate cost can be and factor in any other healthcare expenses that you know you will have. This is an area you do not want to skimp on. Costs of healthcare continue to rise and are considered one of the main reasons that people now file for bankruptcy.

Talk to others

A great resource when starting any business is to talk to those that have been there. Seek out business owners that are close in age and talk to them about their experience. Find out what they wished they knew before starting their business. You can learn from their mistakes and challenges. You can also use the services of SCORE, an organization that helps small businesses in a variety of ways.

Starting a business at any age can be a challenge, but it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.