The rise of the ‘olderpreneur’

By Michelle Roberts, Deputy Editor, Creating Wealth

At Creating Wealth, we are all firm believers that it’s never too late to make big changes in your life.
 
And the story of Colonel Sanders — of KFC fame and fortune — that I shared with you before proves our theory.
 
He was in his forties when he finally found a job he could actually stick at, and was in his 60s when he decided to go for it and turn his small business in to the global brand it is today.
 
Sanders isn’t the only late bloomer though…
 
No, there are many more extremely successful entrepreneurs who achieved their success later in life. Here’s just a few examples: 
 
- World renowned cook Julia Child didn’t write her first cookbook until she was 50 and was in her 60s before she became world famous for her cooking.
 
- Takichiro Mori was an economics professor until the age of 55, when he decided to become a property investor instead. When he died in 1993, he had a net worth of $13 billion.
 
- And KFC’s arch-rival McDonalds was also founded by a late bloomer — Ray Croc was 52 when he took on the McDonalds franchise.
 
It turns out I’m not the only one that believes success can be achieved in any field, at any age.
 
And that the examples I’ve given are becoming the norm and not the exception…

The rise of the ‘olderpreneur’

The past decade has seen a sharp increase in the amount of entrepreneurs taking the plunge and starting up their own business.
 
And in no age group is this increase more prominent that in the over-50’s. A trend that leading charity AgeUK has dubbed The rise of the ‘olderpreneur’”
 
According to the research group Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, entrepreneurial activity for the over-50s is at its highest in over ten years. In fact they found that entrepreneurial activity for the over-50s is the same as the 18–29 age bracket.
 
The upward trend shows no signs of stopping and the old adage “life begins at 40” is starting to look pretty out of date.
 
So why has there been such an upsurge in people over the age of 50 starting their own businesses?
 
The main reason is purely financial. We are living longer than ever before and as a result the amount of time we have to support ourselves after retirement is increasing.
 
And most people don’t have the means to stop working when they are entitled to and to support themselves through a longer retirement.
 
With a pensions crisis looming on the horizon, it seems many of us will have no choice but to work for longer than ever before.
 
Not only that but, on the whole, we are remaining healthy and active for a lot longer and many people who are nearing the retirement age simply don’t want to stop working.

The flip side to this however, is that even though people want to or need to work for longer, staying in work or getting new work is becoming increasingly difficult.
 
According to a Government report published in 2013, only 67% of the over-50s are in employment, compared to 81 percent of 25–49 year-olds.
 
Older people who are unemployed are also more likely to be in long-term unemployment as they compete with their much younger counterparts for jobs.
 
When these two factors are combined it’s easy to see why there is a rise in older workers “doing it for themselves”.
 
In fact, according to that same report older workers are more likely to be in self-employment than other age groups, particularly those still in work after 65.
 
And it seems that the rise of the ‘olderpreneur’ is doing a good job of boosting our economy…

Success of the “Silver Generation”

According to Age UK, those over the age of 50 are more likely to succeed with their start-up businesses — with over 70% lasting more than 5 years, compared with 28% of businesses set up by younger entrepreneurs.
 
The economic value of the “Silver generation” cannot be underestimated either. According to the government over 50’s are set to bring in £127bn a year within the next 20 years.
 
So why are older people better suited (and seemingly more successful) at starting their own businesses?
 
Well, the most obvious reason is that older entrepreneurs have a vast wealth of knowledge and experience.
 
And they have many business skills that young entrepreneurs lack and often have a wide network of contacts already built up.
 
Retired people also have much more time to dedicate to starting new careers or businesses. Many no longer have dependents to take care of, unlike their 30-somthing counterparts.
 
There is also the mentality that they have something to prove, that they can do just as well or better than someone half their age, and if the stats are to be believed they can do it.
 
Another aspect that is contributing to the success of the older generation in business is the changing attitudes of society in general to age and the increasing government support for older entrepreneurs.
 
Organisations like Prime, set up by the Prince of Wales are set up specifically to help support older people get their businesses off the ground.
 
There has never been so much support available to older people to take up new challenges, start new careers and run their own businesses.
 
And to build a wealthier, more secure, and happier life for themselves and their families.

Are you worried about being “past it”?

As all of this proves — it really doesn’t matter how old you are. You can still achieve success if you want it badly enough.
 
Even if you are entering or nearing retirement age and are worried that you are “past it” — you can still start a new business, learn new skills or begin making clever, calculated investments, that can enable you to live a much wealthier life.
 
As Glenn said in his essay here
 
“…success couldn’t give a damn how old you actually are. But it does care how old you are ‘mentally’.
 
“You see, for me, the common ground that unites successful people is not natural talent, special skills or overly large helpings of luck… It’s a young and hopeful mentality.”
 
It’s all about your mindset — something we’ve talked a lot about recently — and whether you have a ‘loser’ (I’m too old, it’s too late, I don’t have enough money to start with etc.) or a ‘winner’ (There’s plenty of life in the old dog yet, I can do this) mindset.
 
In order to replicate the success that people like Colonel Sanders and our own Mark Ford have achieved — it doesn’t matter whether you are in your thirties (like Mark) or sixties (Sanders).
 
It’s all about having a winner’s mindset: a positive and hopeful approach to life, a thirst for knowledge and a deep desire to improve and challenge yourself on a constant basis.
 
Ever heard the term “young at heart” — that’s exactly what I’m talking about.
 
It’s never too late to start building wealth. And there are many wealth-building strategies that don’t involve huge start-up costs either, so you can’t use that as a reason to give up either.
 
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