Best Businesses for Retirees to Start

Many retirees are turning to business ownership as a way to stay busy and active as well as supplement their retirement income. Here are several ideas for good businesses to start in retirement.

Starting a retirement business is an increasingly popular way to bring in extra cash and keep active in your senior years.  In fact, a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that seniors are more likely to be working for themselves than any other age group. In fact, 15.5 percent of people over 65 are currently self-employed. And there are good reasons behind this trend. Today’s older Americans have to pay off mortgages and auto loans and deal with increasingly high medical bills. Additionally, studies show that 67 percent of people neglect to budget for travel when saving for retirement. By starting a business in retirement, you can afford some of these expenses (and luxuries) without having to dig into your savings.

Moreover, an increasing number of seniors are starting businesses as a way to stay busy in retirement. With Americans living longer than ever, retirees are seeking ways to keep their minds and bodies active while earning a little extra income. By starting a business in retirement, you can utilize your skills and talents or pursue a hobby about which you’re passionate.

Considerations for Senior Entrepreneurs

When it comes to working in retirement, it’s worth noting that not all businesses are created equal. Some industries require higher startup costs in the form of supplies, staff, and rent on brick-and-mortar shops. If you’re a senior thinking about how to start a business, consider your financial limitations. In particular, retirees should be wary of taking on debt during their golden years or depleting their retirement savings to start a business.

Your health is another thing to consider. In deciding on a business to start, honestly evaluate your physical ability to do the work. For instance, a business that would require you to stand for long periods of time or do a lot of bending or lifting, might not be suitable for you.

Additionally, older entrepreneurs should consider how much time will be required for a particular venture. When selecting a business to operate, be cognizant of the number of hours you want to spend working versus spending time with grandchildren, on leisure activities, or traveling the world.

Retirement Business Ideas

In addition to considering your finances and health, before you settle on a business to start consider how big a business you’ll want to start. Although some seniors might be interested in starting a business with employees and office space, if you’re retired or near retirement a lifestyle business may be more to your liking. A lifestyle business is one that provides enough income and free time to let you enjoy a desired type of living. Lifestyle businesses can also work best in certain states, for example a vacation business in Florida or a sightseeing business in California Is a senior with social security, pension, and savings, that might mean just working part time in a business that evolves around your personal skills or hobbies. 

Here are some of the best retirement business ideas: 

Taxes and Bookkeeping

Many entrepreneurs need a little help managing the books. If your day job involved accounting or tax prep, then you might want to consider providing financial consulting services in retirement. Not only can you start this small business with little to no capital, but you can perform your services from home or anywhere else with a Wi-Fi connection.

Tutoring

Retired teachers and librarians are uniquely suited to start tutoring businesses. With competition becoming increasingly fierce at top colleges, a growing number of parents are paying big bucks for private tutoring. Seniors can capitalize on this trend by offering subject matter tutoring, SAT prep, college essay writing support, and more. As a bonus, you can set your own rates and hours and tutor only as many students as you desire. According to a recent Angie’s List article, the average tutor takes in between $45 and $60 per hour.

If you’d rather freelance than form your own business, consider signing up with a service like Wyzant. You can create a profile conveying your knowledge and experience and find clients in your local area.

Writing and Editing

If you have good communications skills, you may be able to make extra cash helping businesses -especially small businesses – with their communications needs.  Businesses may need copy for the company website or blog, publicity releases, sales materials or manuals written or proofread.  Upwork, Freelancer.com and Fiverr can help you find assignments.

Online Courses

The online learning/training market is expected to exceed $200 billion by 2024. If you have a skill that other people would pay to learn and you’re good at explaining things, you could tap into that market by turning what you know into one or more courses to teach online. You can sell your courses through online marketplaces such as Udemy, or through your own website or other platforms for course delivery. Once the courses are created you primary time investment will be marketing them to attrace a steady stream of new customers.

Pet Care

Many seniors already provide childcare for family and neighbors. However, it might not occur to them to offer these services for animals in need. With the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters estimating that Americans spend $47 billion a year on their fluffy, feathered, or finned friends, the opportunities for earning money in this field are virtually endless. You could sit for pets when their owners are out of town, walk dogs during the day, or even offer grooming or dog training services. Many people will pay a premium for the knowledge that their pets are safe and loved when they can’t be there to offer care.

Consulting

Retirees often boast extensive industry knowledge thanks to decades on the job. If you want to earn extra cash in retirement, consider providing consulting services based on your previous career. For example, individuals with computer expertise might provide tech support for a local business. Similarly, seniors who worked in finance could advise individuals and businesses on their investment choices. Whatever your area of expertise, the possibility exists to earn a solid paycheck. In fact, many companies are able to pay consultants more than they can full-time employees since they don’t have to swallow the cost of their benefits. 

Franchises

Did a new Dunkin Donuts or McDonald’s recently open up in your neighborhood? Many of these popular shops are actually owned by franchisees, or individuals granted licenses to do business under the trademark of a larger company. If you are a relatively young “senior” and have some money to invest, you may want to consider buying a franchise rather than launching a business from scratch. Better franchises provide training and name recognition that you won’t have if you start your own business. As a result, some franchisees have higher success rates than independent startups like retail stores and restaurants. For best results, choose a franchise in an industry with which you’re comfortable and research your franchise choice very carefully before signing a contract.

Related: The Franchise Buyer’s Manual

Creative Products

Do you have a talent for crafting? Maybe you’re a skilled quilter or an exceptional artist. If so, you may be able to earn extra cash by selling your creative wares. While some seniors opt to do the majority of their business in person at flea markets and fairs, others prefer to sell online. Sites like Etsy provide a digital marketplace through which craftspeople can sell everything from makeshift jewelry to homemade house decor. Additionally, some sellers list antiques and vintage items they collected from estate sales.

It’s worth noting that sellers pay a fee for access to Etsy’s client base. Expect to pay 20 cents per listed item. You’ll also pay a 5 percent transaction fee on the sale of any item you unload, so keep this in mind when setting rates.

Use your imagination

These are just a few of the many types of businesses that are suitable for seniors to start. To find the best business for you to start as a senior, consider you can use what you know how to do to solve someone else’s problem for fill a need. 

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