With greater longevity, many older adults are creating their own second-act career later in life by starting their own business. And according to research by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, older adults between the ages of 55 to 64 accounted for 26 percent of new entrepreneurs in 2017 and had the highest rate of business startup activity worldwide over the past 10 years.
Older adults starting new businesses are increasingly partnering with younger entrepreneurs in a relationship that balances experience with creativity and diversity. The balanced approach of older adults with a background in finance or project management and a strong network of contacts teaming up with younger, ambitious partners who are more literate in a digital age can be a winning combination.
Adults in the early years of their careers may not have the resources, credibility or connections of older entrepreneurs, the GEM report explains. And they may also be challenged financially with student debt, mortgages and the expenses of raising a family that older entrepreneurs are freed from later in life. A partnership between younger and older generations makes sense for many new ventures.
As older adults retire from the traditional workforce, many miss the social and cognitive engagement and are looking for ways to use their knowledge to create new opportunities. Many of these intergenerational partnerships develop between adult children and a parent. And with technology that allows work to be carried out from home or at a great distance, there are fewer obstacles and more flexibility for entrepreneurship.
For seniors who want to stay in the workforce but are ready to give up the daily grind and have more of a life/work balance and flexibility, starting a business with a younger adult can be a mutually beneficial arrangement. Older adults with corporate experience may be able to target specific areas that could improve consumer experience; instead of reinventing the wheel, many new startups focus on making an existing product or service better. A new study by JPMorgan Chase Institute found that firms with older owners are more likely to succeed; the report also indicates that older entrepreneurs are better at managing cash flow than their younger counterparts.
For more information about starting a business in mid-life or later, following this link to a recent AARP Life Reimagined report.