Is this you?
- Worked hard to build enough financial security to retire
- Possess a valuable skill and not ready to put it on a shelf to get dusty
- Have an idea for a business but not interested in committing the time and effort necessary to start it and maintain it alone
These are just a few of the typical characteristics used to describe members of a new business trend called “Retirement Entrepreneurship”, and it’s a trend that could be financially advantageous to Wilmingtonians and the community as a whole.
A word about entrepreneurship
I am a huge advocate for entrepreneurship. I greatly appreciate inspiring accounts of people that fuel great ideas or particular skills with the energy of their passion and entrepreneurial spirit to create successful businesses. And while this article is predominantly about harnessing entrepreneurial opportunities, I would like to issue this quick disclaimer that I often share with certain clients…
Not everyone is cut out for entrepreneurship. If your motivation for attempting to start your own business is that you’re fed up with an unpleasant boss—don’t try to start up a business. If you’re motivated by the fact that you’re bored with your current job and you just want out—think of something besides entrepreneurship. For people looking to turn a hobby into a business, I typically recommend maintaining hobbies as pleasurable pastime activities (there are some exceptions). Also, if you’re closing in on retirement age, and giving up your steady salary and benefits could ruin your chances of retiring securely and within your desired timeframe, then save the business start up for later when it won’t affect your future as much if the business doesn’t work out.
Who should be an entrepreneur?
Starting and maintaining a business isn’t easy. Potential entrepreneurs should not only have vision and passion, but also be willing to put themselves in the most advantageous position for maximizing the odds of success. I’d bet on those who are willing to put more money away before retirement so they’re in a stable financial position to pursue their business upstarts. These are the people that have a strong, clear vision about manifesting a new career identity. They typically get proactively involved in the local business community and are determined to overcome all obstacles to succeed.
A high percentage of entrepreneurs are young professionals, and that’s good because usually younger people can afford to take on more risk because at their age, they have time to recover from a mistake without a major impact on their financial futures. Before the mortgages, kids, and college payments, young professionals are in a position to thrive because they don’t have the financial demands and obligations of a more established lifestyle. However, young people often lack the financial resources needed start up a new business. Stereotypically, we often imagine entrepreneurs as young go-getters looking to retirees as potential investors (aka silent partners).
A paradigm shift—retirement entrepreneurship
There is an exciting new business trend that involves retirees that have entrepreneurial ideas, teaming up with young professionals that possess entrepreneurial spirit, to launch successful businesses. Imagine retirees who have already completed their careers. They aren’t looking for 60, or even 40 hours of work per week, but they are interested in developing a business idea during free time away from the golf course or tennis courts. They have a secure retirement income and are in a position to take some risk. They have a solid financial plan and some extra income or assets that can be used to fund business ventures.
Now imagine, in a kind of mentoring role, the retiree teams up with a young professional that is full of energy and is anxious to put in the hours of work and effort to become a successful entrepreneur. The retiree brings the business plan, experience, wisdom, financial resources and possibly some solid business connections to the table, while the young professional brings the desire, the drive and the commitment to get the job done. If the business fails, the retiree really loses nothing and the young professional learns some valuable business lessons and makes some important contacts for future endeavors. If the business succeeds, both parties are winners and eventually, full ownership will likely be passed on to the younger partner.
A great place to start
Wilmington is a fantastic environment to support this new business trend. Entrepreneurship is already a popular topic of conversations between members of the local business community and local politicians. And the influx of business acumen and intellectual capital that has moved to our area in the last 10 years is remarkable. I would like to continue to see our community support entrepreneurship and innovation while expanding our vision to include the skills, resources and dreams of our robust retiree community. Let’s set the intention and take action to make Wilmington a hot bed of start-ups and innovation. Let’s implement tactics to inspire retirees following this new trend to call Wilmington home. Let’s create a path to retirement entrepreneurship in our own backyard.
A great place to start is the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This valuable organization is associated with UNCW and you can learn more at their website: http://uncw.edu/cie/about.html
Jason Wheeler is currently the CEO and a Wealth Consultant at Pathfinder Wealth Consulting. Pathfinder specializes in comprehensive financial, estate and tax planning services, investment management, and risk management (insurance) for business owners and successful executives. Jason Wheeler offers securities and advisory services through Commonwealth Financial Network®. Member FINRA, SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. To learn more about Pathfinder Wealth Consulting, visit www.pathfinderwc.com. Jason can be reached at [email protected] or 910-793-0616.