Women, Wisdom, & Wealth: Retirees rejoin the workforce

DARCIE GUERIN

While reviewing her father’s finances, a friend of mine only half jokingly said, “Hey Dad, you may want to think about going back to work.”

As a member of the “sandwich generation,” she finds herself in the middle of being concerned for the financial well-being of her parents, herself, and her children. In this particular case, dad won’t be going back to work. He’s comfortably nestled into an assisted living facility, but my friend is genuinely anxious as to whether dad’s resources will adequately provide for his lifetime.

Expenses are paid with income — either earned or passive. When investment income (passive) doesn’t cover expenses, it may be time to consider alternative ways to generate additional income. For this reason and others retirees are exploring new ways to utilize their vast experience, turn brain power into earning power, and are starting their own businesses.

Approximately 17 percent of American retirees — most of them baby boomers — decide to start their own business each year. Reasons for this include the freedom to make money doing what they like, having the ability to control their futures, and to celebrate the end of a 9-to-5 work schedule. However, running your own business isn’t the snap some envision, so before plunging into entrepreneurship, take some time to think about who you are and what you want out of life.

‘Get a Job’

The Silhouettes hit the charts with this oldie about a reluctant job seeker back in 1958, but the song’s theme still applies. Starting a business is one big job.

Research shows that successful entrepreneurs are risk takers, persistent, willing to put up with long hours, and deferred income, and are not easily discouraged.

A realistic self-analysis will tell you whether you have the psychological makeup and stamina to be an entrepreneur.

Before you leap

Consider your longterm goals. Is this business an escape from boredom or the realization of a long-held dream? Are you expecting to build a company and then sell it to cash in on expected profits? Or do you want to build a longterm income producer? Do you want a full-time job with never-ending responsibilities, or are you looking for part-time work?

Assess your skills

Do you have what is needed, or is training necessary? Is there a market for what you will provide? Do enough people want what you have to sell? How big is your market and how will you reach and supply your customers? Who is your competition and what does your business offer that is better, less expensive, or more efficient?

Researchers currently say these types of businesses have market potential:

1. Fast food, organic food, and health food restaurants.

2. Medical computerized record-keeping, medical technical services, and specialty medical professional careers.

3. Transportation — especially for the disabled and elderly.

4. Repair for automobiles, clothing, shoes, technology and machinery.

5. Construction for roads, bridges, storm protection, and energy conservation.

6. Alternative energy, such as solar, wind, and water industries.

Time to get real

If your business idea includes interacting with the public, as well as employees and vendors, ask yourself if you enjoy people and have the managerial temperament to deal with others. Would you be better off with a small, one-person business, a store-front shop, or a large firm with employees? Should you begin a start-up or buy into a franchise?

Apply logic, and don’t try to handle everything yourself. Use the appropriate professionals to help create a business plan, handle taxes, investments, regulatory reporting, record keeping, and paperwork.

Do you need financing? Most start-up businesses take about three years to become profitable. How will you finance your business, both in the beginning and as it grows? Experts advise against using your retirement nest egg, but there are other options. Help is available through the Small Business Administration, sba.gov; SCORE (Service Corporation of Retired Executives), score.org; the Department of Veterans Affairs, va.gov; U.S. Chamber of Commerce, uschamber.com, and your local chamber of commerce. Many counties, cities, and universities offer classes in business start-ups. There is help for people with disabilities (disabilityinfo.gov), and minorities can get advice through local and federal agencies and professional organizations.

You’ll want a longterm plan, knowing that nothing lasts forever. How long will you keep your business? Do you have a succession plan or will you sell your enterprise after a period of time? Once you’ve done your homework, you’re ready to decide whether business ownership is for you. After that, the sky’s the limit because of good old American ingenuity and capitalism.

Darcie Guerin, Financial Advisor & Branch Manager, Raymond James & Associates, Inc. located at 606 Bald Eagle Drive, Suite 401, Marco Island, and FL 34145 provides this article. If you have questions please contact Darcie Guerin via e-mail at Darcie.Guerin@RaymondJames.com. Phone (239) 389-1041, toll free (866)-343-0882 or at RaymondJames.com/Darcie. Past performance may not be indicative of future results.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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