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Late-in-life entrepreneurs find second acts rewarding

by Emily Koelsch | Contributor
November 5, 2020


It’s becoming increasingly popular for older Americans to have a “second-act career” or to find some way to continue working even after retirement. As people choose to or need to stay in the workforce longer, many are finding ways to work for themselves or to become late-in-life entrepreneurs. At the same time, the longevity economy has grown and promises to continue to grow in coming years, providing ideal opportunities for older entrepreneurs.

Why does the longevity market offer older entrepreneurs so many opportunities?

The longevity market is simply economic activities that serve the needs of people over 50. As baby boomers hit retirement age and life expectancy rises, there are more older adults impacting the economy, which is increasing the size of the longevity market. In fact, AARP data indicate that the economic activity of adults over 50 is the equivalent of the third largest economy in the world and that by 2040, one out of every five Americans will be over 65.

Senior businesswoman speaking on the phone

This means that there is a continuing rise in need for services in this sector of the economy. And while historically the longevity economy has been focused on health care and caregiving services, as more retirees continue to be healthy and active, there are increased opportunities in this sector beyond the traditional services.

For late-in-life entrepreneurs, the longevity market is particularly appealing. Research indicates that older adults are more willing and likely to take advice from their peers on most issues, including nutrition, fall prevention, financial management and management of chronic health issues. This gives older entrepreneurs some automatic credibility and a competitive edge.

Not only is the longevity market increasing in size, but it’s also broadening in the types of services wanted and needed. Add to this a desire for older adults to get these services from their peers, and the longevity market becomes particularly appealing for older entrepreneurs.

What are some examples of late-in-life entrepreneurs in the longevity market?

For those wanting to stay in the workforce longer, finding ways to use skills and expertise in the longevity market can mean increased opportunities, increased flexibility and a rewarding second career. When considering how to enter this market, Mary Furlong, a consultant in the longevity market, advises older entrepreneurs to “think of how you take your skills and passions and shift them to a new area.”

One of the best ways to think through how you can make this shift is by looking at examples of how other late-in-life entrepreneurs have done this. Here are a few examples of creative ways older adults have used their skills and experience to meet a need in the longevity market:

  • Sharon Emek was an insurance executive in New York. At 64, she “retired” and started Work at Home Vintage Experts, a business that pairs insurance companies with professionals over 50 who will work as individual contractors. Emek used her knowledge of the industry and her contacts to partner with companies across the country. Her model is also based on her realization that many professionals over 50 need or want to work, but they want to do so with flexibility and more control over their schedule.
  • Norman Miosi started a Chefs for Seniors franchise in Nashville, where he goes into people’s homes and prepares food for the week. Miosi’s background is not in the food industry, but in software sales. However, he’d long had a passion for cooking, and when he moved to Nashville to be closer to family, he took advantage of this opportunity.
  • Eloise Stiglitz worked as a psychologist, but at 67 when she moved to Florida, she decided she was ready for a change and started a business, Embrace Your Aging. Through this company, Stiglitz uses her training and background to offer retirement coaching to other seniors.

What are the best types of business for entrepreneurs in the longevity market?

While the services and goods catered toward people over 50 once were focused on health care and caregiving, there is now a demand for a much broader range of services. As more people look to age in place, there is an increased need for services that make this easier. For example, there are aging in place specialists, who help to ensure that spaces are safe; senior concierge services, which can help with errands, referrals and transportation; businesses offering new technology to monitor health and safety; meal prep businesses; handyman services; fall prevention specialists; and financial management services.

In addition to services focused on aging in place, other opportunities in the longevity market include:

  • Personal historians, who write memoirs or capture family history
  • Senior move managers, who offer help with organization and downsizing
  • Personal assistants
  • Photo organizers
  • Fitness coaches or fitness programs geared toward seniors
  • Drivers and transportation assistance

What tips should second-act entrepreneurs keep in mind?

Many older entrepreneurs use skills from their previous careers to help drive their businesses. However, there are opportunities for short-term training and certifications that can help with starting a business. This can be particularly helpful if you’re interested in starting a business that provides nonmedical services, for example nutritional counseling or wellness coaching.

If you’re interested in starting in a new field or need some training in a particular area, start by looking at community colleges and professional organizations in your area. There are professional associations for most fields that not only offer training and certifications but also help connect entrepreneurs with others in the industry. Many times, these associations also have referral directories, so it’s worth connecting with any applicable associations to ensure that you’re taking advantage of all available resources and marketing tools.

Beyond taking advantage of training and professional associations, experts provide this basic advice to entrepreneurs wanting to enter the longevity market: Take your expertise and find a way to customize it for the market.

Becoming a late-in-life entrepreneur can be a good way to continue working, have flexibility, and to pursue a field you’re passionate about. And starting a business in the longevity market will mean increased opportunities for older entrepreneurs and can be a rewarding way to meet the needs of seniors in your community. As the longevity economy continues to grow, now is a great time to get creative and to find your niche.

Alliance America can help

Alliance America is an insurance and financial services company. Our financial professionals can assist you in maximizing your retirement resources and achieving your future goals. We have access to an array of products and services, all focused on helping you enjoy the retirement lifestyle you want and deserve. You can request a no-cost, no-obligation consultation by calling (833) 219-6884 today.

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