Business terminology isn’t exactly kind to the older generation. For example, post-recession Britain, aware of its need to make the most of a comparatively financially stable demographic, has begun championing the ‘grey pound’ with a gusto, seemingly without a hint of embarrassment. Well another new term to add to your vocabulary is ‘grandtrepreneurs’ – a phrase snapping at the heels of mumtrepreneur in their contest to see which can patronise a larger swathe of the populace – referring, of course, to the new wave of over 60s looking to start their own businesses.
However, behind the rather clumsy phrase-coining, lies a very positive trend indeed. Retirement Assured, an online annuity comparison site, has conducted research revealing that almost 1 million people have started a business or pursued their dream job since their 60th birthday. It seems that, far from looking forward to getting their hands on their state pension and booking some time on the golf course, more over-60s are looking to keep developing and trying to realise their goals. Over a quarter of those spoken to are choosing to continue to work later in life to realise life ambitions and finally do what they want to do.
Quite fairly, one might wonder what motivates this, given the fact many of these individuals will be trading certainty and relaxation for hard work and heightened risk. Whilst a small proportion – around a fifth – of individuals admitted they had to continue working to supplement their income, the evidence seems to suggest that money was less of a motivator than subtler rewards. Well over a quarter of respondents stated that pursuing their dream job was about mental stimulation and personal reward over securing income.
But if these ambitions are ones the individuals involved didn’t feel able to fulfil earlier in life, what has changed to give them the impetus now? First of all, 21% of the over-60s entrepreneurs say they are now in a better position financially than they were in their earlier lives. Additionally, 22% and 23% of respondents respectively feel they have built up more confidence and a wider portfolio of skills as they’ve aged.
“As people are living longer, many are choosing to carry on working by setting up their own businesses or pursuing that dream job they’ve always wanted,” said Peter Quinton, managing director of Retirement Assured. “In our younger years, things like family responsibilities or perhaps lack of confidence might have prevented some of us from taking the plunge and starting our own business, but more and more people are now seizing the opportunity later in life.”
The financial climate of the last five years has encouraged a lot of entrepreneurs to finally throw caution to the wind. And, gladly, it seems this is something upon which age has no bearing.