According to a study from the Kauffman Foundation, the majority of U.S. entrepreneurs are retirees. During the past ten years, 55 to 64-year-olds have shown the most entrepreneurial activity. While 20 to 34 year-olds have shown the least. Further, the AARP Public Policy Institute said that in 2008, 21 percent of self-employed individuals were between 55 and 64, and 10 percent were 65 or older. The numbers in the technology industry are even more dramatic: A 2008 Kauffman Foundation study shows that twice as many companies in this sector have been founded by individuals over age 50 than by those that are under age 25.
There could be many reasons people are starting their own companies during retirement: The first of the baby-boomers reach 65 this year and may not be ready to retire yet, perhaps because they are still excited by what they currently do or want to pursue a long-held dream. Given the economic landscape, some may need to work longer out of financial necessity, especially considering that life expectancy in the United States has increased dramatically.
- If you are not in a position to take on a major financial risk, keeping upfront expenses to a minimum may be the way to start out.
- Don’t forget that, as an older entrepreneur, you may have broader job skills, more contacts and better access to capital, either from your own savings or through your work and personal networks, compared to younger entrepreneurs.
- You can create a business that builds on your prior career by identifying a market gap in your industry.
Older entrepreneurs have plenty of company. So if you are considering taking the plunge into small business ownership, remember you are not alone, and it’s never too late. In fact, you can use SBOC to network with other entrepreneurs.