Last week I was interviewed for a South African woman’s magazine on the topic of starting your own business in retirement.  I was reminded during the interview of my frustration with the word retirement, for me it conjures up pictures of old people sitting around relaxing, their walking frames in front of them, literally waiting to die.  The departure lounge of life my father used to call it.

But we Baby Boomers have pushed the parameters throughout our lives.  As we get to what is formally termed retirement age – 60 or 65, we find that we still want to live, we still want to work, we are still capable of great activity, and we don’t want to stop.  The word retirement remains, but most of us have 20 to 30, even 40 years to live, and we certainly don’t want to sit whiling the hours away.

Many large corporations are sticking to the retirement age, I think it is a combination of youth unemployment, the experienced people who are expensive, blocking the youngsters coming up through the organization, and of course ageism.  Some corporations find a way to hold on to their highly valued staff by extending contracts or subcontracting, but for the vast majority of corporate and government employees retirement comes in their 60’s.

But why do people equate retirement with stopping work completely?  I have a fair amount of hobbies and could happily keep myself busy day in and day out.  Yet, it is more than that, isn’t it?  I am lucky, I have found something that I am good at, I love doing and I think the world needs.  I have yet to convince the world that they need it, but I am making a strong bid at educating them.  And lastly, I would like to be rewarded with money and not just a sense of satisfaction with having helped somebody, but I have yet to establish that steady income.  (If you are wondering what I am talking about, refer back to my blog on Ikigai)

For many of us, a return to formal employment is not possible.  They are simply not hiring our age group unless the specific empathy that comes with age is required.  Though I should add, a study put out by the American Association of Retirees and Pensioners (AARP) talks to the fact that the 55+ generation shows more commitment to their work, more motivation and less absenteeism, to quote a few of the advantages of hiring an older person! ( A  Business Case for workers 50+, A Look at the Value of Experience; 2015; A report prepared for AARP by Aon Hewitt)

That is why many of us look to starting our own businesses in retirement or, where the money is not an issue we volunteer in the Non-Profit sector.   But, if you have worked in corporate or government, the entrepreneurial mindset can be a stumbling block.  Venturing into business on your own, you need a mentor to help speed up the process and avoid the pitfalls.  Small business startup is very different from managing a section of a large company.

If you would like to discuss all these issues and many more around retirement as it applies to your life specifically, there is still time to register for my workshop this coming Wednesday.  I have called it “Make Retirement Work for You” as I feel very strongly that we have the Choice when it comes to what we make of our retirement!  Simply email me on hilary@nuhorizons.co.za and let me know you are coming and I will forward the details.  You can also read about it in my previous blog 

It would be lovely to see you there….