When someone’s trying to solve the puzzle of their retirement savings gap, I always recommend becoming an entrepreneur. But most look at me like I’m crazy.
“I’m too old,” they all chant.
You may feel that way, but there’s a lot of evidence out there that shows older entrepreneurs are not too old at all.
If you’re in your 40’s or 50’s and still working, I’m sure this thought has occurred to you. Your retirement won’t be the same as your mom and dad’s. If you’re already retired, you may be in crisis mode. Healthcare expenses are on the rise and your nest egg just isn’t going to cut it.
So, how did we get here? The concept of retirement was born during the industrial age when the end of work nearly always coincided with the end of life. Those lucky to live beyond the end of work were assured a decent pension to live on for their remaining years. This no longer applies. Today, life will extend for decades beyond traditional work and so must your income.
But the truth is you’re not too old to create a good retirement for yourself.
Just take a look at this list of successful older entrepreneurs to inspire you.
Koff worked 30 years in recruitment communications for advertising agencies before retirement. Like many Baby Boomers, he didn’t want to stop there. At age 68 he launched RetiredBrains.com, a resource website for his generation to help plan for retirement.That was back in 2003. Now his business is going strong and he tops the older entrepreneurs list.
Harland David Sanders
After being fired from a series of jobs, Col. Sanders found himself serving chicken at a gas station. His recipe was all the rage, so in 1952 (at age 62), he franchised “Kentucky Fried Chicken.” Now it operates in 118 countries.
At 52, Gardner was facing divorce. She was unemployed, depressed and directionless. Her friends and family advised her to get a dog, which she named Zelda. On a whim, she submitted funny of photo of Zelda to a greeting card contest and won. That spurred the creation of Zelda Wisdom, a greeting card company that now sells clothing, books, jewelry and more.
Martin spent 40 years working in corporate marketing. She baked cookies as a hobby, and one day decided to launch her own bake-to-order cookie company. She was in her mid-50s when Cookies on Call took off. It started out in a local elementary school’s kitchen, but now she ships over 40 varieties of cookies and biscotti internationally.
Goodwin was a former accountant who founded GEICO insurance company at age 50 in 1936. Today the company has more than 27,000 employees and 14 million policyholders. I chose him for this list as an older example of how entrepreneurs can succeed at any age.
Dunn spent years working on cars, a rare skill for a woman in her youth. In 2007, at the age of 64, she decided to set up the Women’s Automotive Connection. The business was designed to help women by providing automotive advice and service. By teaching others how to manage their auto repair needs, Dunn started helping women and others gain their own expertise.
In a HuffPost interview, Dunn was asked about the challenges of being an older entrepreneur. She responded: “...I find that my age has actually been a help to me. At my age, people look at me and understand I have experience. I don’t know that someone much younger starting a business like this would have the same credibility. Sometimes this gray hair I have is a sign of experience and maybe a little wisdom. And that works in my favor.”
At age 59, Brooks was fed up with her job and decided to quit. She found new employment quickly, but was then laid off from her new job less than a year later. In 1992 at age 60, she decided to set up Big Apple Greeter, a non-profit business to serve as a Welcome Visitor program in New York.
Older Entrepreneurs Have the Business Experience and Life Experience to be successful
There is an enormous market for information and services that are delivered online and it’s also growing at a rapid rate. No one cares what your age is when you create your own business or make your money onine in retirement. It’s time to make your mark and be that person that did something different at age 59 or 63.
What did you think of this old entrepreneurs list? It’s just the tip of the iceberg of older entrepreneurs that have made it big. And now it’s easier than ever for old entrepreneurs to start their own businesses, thanks to the internet.
You might also enjoy our article on the healthy benefits of working in retirement.
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Ian Bond is a private banking senior executive with over three decades of experience in wealth and asset management with Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, and Citigroup. He has built major businesses on four continents.
Despite his professional responsibility for assets over $100B and revenues over $1B, after the 2008 crash Ian was personally going broke. Within five years he destroyed his debt, became an expat in 2014, and built multiple streams of income to fund his imminent retirement. Ian is also the founder of MyRetirementRehab.me created to help other executives and professionals rehabilitate their finances and make a prosperous, enduring retirement a reality.