Starting a Business in Retirement

March 11, 2013 · Print This Article

You’ve worked long and hard to reach retirement, but that doesn’t mean you want to give up being productive. Many retirees are turning to the idea of starting their own business as a way to stay engaged and keep money flowing, while still enjoying more flexibility and freedom from a 9-to-5 job. Of course, most small businesses require an outlay of cash to get off the ground, and it’s here that retirees can make use of a reverse mortgage to turn their home’s equity into seed money for a new venture.

Finding Your Niche
One of the best parts of being an entrepreneurial retiree is the many years of experience you can bring to your prospective business. Inc. magazine has some start-up business suggestions for retirees. Alternatively, you can build on your work history and become a consultant or public speaker. If your experience doesn’t translate directly, you can still take what you’ve learned working for others and turn it into your own online business or franchise outlet. If you’re stuck, try thinking about what you love doing, whether it’s helping people, building things, addressing a crowd or sharing a passion; then think about ways to turn that inner desire into something for which you can be paid.

As with any venture that requires you to front your own money, you’ll need to be careful. Avoid multi-level marketing schemes where you’ll end up buying more than you’re selling, or paying for expensive motivational materials to “grow your business”. If you’re interested in a franchise or turnkey operation, talk to others who have gone down that path before you, to make sure there aren’t any nasty snares lying in wait; don’t trust in the glowing testimonials that pepper the chain’s website or brochures.

Doing Your Homework
Keep in mind that starting a new business is a gamble. You don’t want to jump into anything blind, especially with your hard-earned home equity on the line. Before putting forward any money, you should be sure to thoroughly do your research and draw up a comprehensive business plan. Once you’ve decided on a business, you’ll need to figure out how much it would cost to get and keep it running. Look at everything from equipment costs, real estate, travel expenses, and even factors like the price of having a website built. Then you can get in contact with potential customers to find out if they are interested in such a service and, if so, how much they would be willing to pay. You’ll then begin to get an idea as if the income is going to be enough to offset the costs of doing business, with enough left over to make it worth your while.

As with many things worth doing, starting your own business doesn’t come without some risk. But if you find a path you love and take the time to do your homework, you may find that being an entrepreneur not only brings in some extra money while keeping you engaged, but can also provide the satisfaction of knowing you’re carving out your own niche in the world.

If you’d like to find out how to tap your home equity to turn it into start-up capital for your retirement business, contact Horizon Equity.