By Chip Munn
Most of us think about retirement as a relaxing life of endless leisure that begins right at age 65. But that’s an out-of-date “old school” way to retire, which brings on unwanted consequences – from unbearable boredom to a shorter lifespan.
There’s a new way to retire that leads to healthier, happier, and longer lives. First, let’s look at what’s wrong with the old approach to retirement.
Why “Old School” Retirement Hurts
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law eighty-five years ago, retiring at 65 was an acceptable, even joyful age to retire for most workers – if you lived that long! The problem at the time was the average worker only lived until around sixty years old.
We now lead longer, more active lives. The average American worker today has an average life span of 78 years. So if someone retires at 65 and leaves the workforce, they basically become just an idle consumer of goods and services for the rest of their life. Sound good? It’s actually not. Researchers have found that quitting the workforce and embarking on a routine of leisurely activities shortens one’s life.
Some retirees underestimate how long it takes to adjust to what may be a radically different lifestyle with too much free time. A recent report found that only 53% of Americans were happy in retirement.Retirees may miss their friends from work or feel adrift from a lack of order and meaning. Strange as it may seem, “failing” retirement is a real possibility. That’s when a worker quits their job, doesn’t like retirement and goes back into the workforce.
What’s one way to avoid retirement failure? The Retirement Remix.
The Retirement Remix: Go Start a New Business
What I like to call the “Retirement Remix” is a concept based on the idea that retirement is a journey, rather than a destination. It’s a way of rethinking retirement for our modern age and lifestyles—being active and purposeful after one’s career.
There are numerous ways that the Retirement Remix provides an opportunity for a healthier, longer life. One way is by starting a new business in retirement. It may seem unusual, but new business creation grew faster for 55 to 64-year-olds than the national average in 2019.
There are plenty of advantages of starting a new business in retirement:
· Delivers meaningful work
· Fits retirees’ interests
· Provides an active lifestyle
· Fulfills the need for purpose
· Produces a sense of freedom
· Transfers business skills and wisdom to the next generation
And perhaps most importantly for retirees, starting a new business offers the flexibility they seek in an active retirement.
With such valuable benefits, it’s important to know how to succeed as a new business owner in retirement, and I have some tips to offer.
3 Keys to Success for Starting a New Business in Retirement
KEY #1: Do Something Enjoyable
A retiree probably doesn’t want another job in the daily grind, so finding a business that’s fun and built around their retirement life is essential. The best starting place for new business ideas is to look at their interests and what they love doing outside of work.
From crafting to consulting, tutoring to tour guide, pet care to painting portraits, classic car restorations to classical pianist, every retiree must make their own decision to find the right business. Preparation and discovery pay off in the long run.
KEY #2: Don’t Rush It
The biggest mistake people make is feeling like they need to rush into their “next thing.” Retirees can use their newly found time to think about the business that makes the most sense (Key #1), and the time and money they have to invest. Starting any business takes motivation and planning. Some businesses to consider are those that are easier to start, can be run from home, and take less capital than others. Visit the for helpful information and resources.
KEY #3: Manage Risk
The opportunity to earn extra income is attractive for a retiree starting a new business. The income may supplement, or even replace pulling cash from retirement accounts for living expenses. But retirees should avoid taking unnecessary business risks that may be too exhaustive on their time or are too capital intensive. That could jeopardize their retirement and send them back to a job.
Envisioning Retirement Success
Starting a business in retirement is an opportunity to engage in enjoyable, purposeful activities, and a chance to live a longer and healthier life. Being a business owner, however, is not for everyone. It’s wise to consult with a financial professional for help starting a new business and with managing retirement assets.
There is a way out of the old school retirement approach and into retirement success by remixing retirement. All a retiree needs is an open mind, the desire to make their dreams come true, and the financial and life skills to get there.
About the author: Chip Munn
Chip Munn is a senior financial advisor and CEO of Signature Wealth Strategies. He is the author of The Retirement Remix: A Modern Solution to an Old School Problem, and host of The Retirement Remix podcast. For more information visit and connect with Chip on Twitter @chip_munn.