According to recent statistics, prospects for Americans hoping to enjoy a leisurely and rewarding retirement are bleak. One in three have no retirement savings, the outcome of mounting student loan bills, credit card debt, the high cost of college tuition, underemployment, the lingering effects of the recession and other economic factors. Millenials and members of Gen X have saved nearly nothing, while just over 22 percent of baby boomers and senior citizens have ample retirement savings.
Those statistics would seem to indicate that an increasingly large number of Americans can plan on working well past retirement age of 65. But for many seniors it’s not just about accumulating retirement savings: a growing number of retirees and those nearing retirement would rather keep working than call it quits and get by on Social Security, retirement savings and whatever investment assets they may possess.
The image of grey-haired men and women working as store greeters and grocery clerks is so prevalent it’s cliche by now, but many seniors are finding they don’t have to settle for unfulfilling and boring minimum wage jobs. Today, the Internet has opened up an unprecedented number of opportunities for seniors who want to earn extra money working at home or who have something more ambitious in mind: starting their own business.
Being the boss
For many retirees, the idea of being the boss after decades of taking orders from younger people has tremendous appeal. Starting your own business is an opportunity to apply experience, personal values and beliefs into action. And it’s a creative outlet, a way to parlay personal interests and expertise into a whole new career, one that can ease the transition to a new lifestyle, generate income for children and grandchildren and challenge oneself by bringing a business model to life. According to retirement consultant Diane Eschenbach, it’s all about cashing in on something you really love to do. And technology makes it easy. You can store documents securely and easily in the “cloud,” and invoice clients and accept payments via Paypal.
One of the best ideas for starting an online business is to translate the skills acquired from a lifetime of working for others into a consultancy business. It’s a terrific option for seniors who like the idea of guiding and advising younger professionals rather than bearing the bottom-line responsibility of driving revenue. Life coaching is another good fit for seniors, an innovative form of consultancy that allows senior citizens to make money by sharing their personal and professional knowledge.
The Internet has also created countless service-based niche opportunities from dog-sitting to delivering groceries for elderly people who can’t get to the store on their own. Or, you could become a senior concierge, taking care of tasks that other elderly individuals can no longer do for themselves such as paying bills or preparing meals.
Freelance writers have never had such easy access to so many opportunities. The Internet puts you in immediate contact with potential clients through freelance listings, social media and job sites such as Monster and Indeed. Academic writers and editors, bloggers and contributors to Web-based publications are increasingly able to make a living doing what they love. Other related opportunities include content marketing, copy editing and proofreading material others have written.
A golden opportunity
Tools such as accounting/record keeping software and do-it-yourself website creation kits have made it easier than ever to launch your own online business. For seniors, it’s a golden opportunity to maximize an extensive knowledge base that would otherwise go to waste. And if you’re worried that you’ll never find enough clients, bear in mind one thing: the Internet is the one place where clients find you.
This is a guest post by Karen who created ElderWellness.net as a resource for seniors who wish to keep their minds, bodies, and spirits well.