Entrepreneurs over 55: it just makes sense

Entrepreneurs over 55: it just makes sense

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With maturity comes experience, networks and wisdom. These are the right ingredients for kicking off a successful business idea. Seniors are increasingly turning to entrepreneurship as a fulfilling alternative to earning a living. It makes sense for seniors, and for Australia’s economic future.

Ageing (well) is an asset

The blended term or ‘portmanteau’ Seniorpreneur has been used in popular media for a few years now, and refers to budding entrepreneurs over the age of 55, kicking off new business ventures. The concept has evolved due to a growing trend in OECD countries, motivated by changing demographics, longer, healthier lives and the associated economic conditions ahead.

Consider the following quote:

Longer lives are the most positive development in the last century of human history. They represent the product of greater prosperity, better diet, disease eradication and healthier lifestyles. They offer each of us, on average, 25 extra years of high quality living with new opportunities for productive work, unprecedented leisure, teaching and learning, and fulfilling relationships with family and friends” from the Blueprint For An Ageing Australia, a paper that came about as part of a comprehensive policy review on ageing in Australia.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Australian Treasury’s 2010 Intergenerational Report, by the year 2041 close to one in four of us will be aged over 65! If this trend continues, it is in Australia’s best interest to support and encourage older Australians to actively participate in our economy. Our future depends on it.

A significant cultural shift of upholding our elders and their wisdom in high regard as leaders and mentors, may very well be on its way back.

Why are seniorpreneurs on the rise?

Apart from living longer, healthier lives, there are a number of other key drivers motivating seniors to consider moving away from being employees ready to retire, to continuing working as entrepreneurs, including:

  • Employment insecurity and redundancies
  • Policy barriers such as rising costs associated with income protection insurances
  • Demands of caring for frail parents and helping out with grandchildren
  • Less debt, more accrued capital and less reliance on a 40 hour week salary
  • Negative economic impacts on superannuation funds over the past decade or more
  • A desire to transition from full time hours
  • A desire not to retire but continue working and ‘career proof’ their future
  • Rising costs associated with health and ageing.

The benefits delivered by maturity and experience

Supporting and encouraging our over 65s to actively participate in the economy delivers many benefits to our communities, both to the seniorpreneurs and our broader economy. Here are just a handful of benefits that Australia could experience as the volume of seniorpreneurs grow:

  • Respected mentors for younger generations of workers, passing on knowledge and experience
  • Hindsight and lessons learned bringing improved risk management to the business community
  • Positive economic contribution in line with consumers experiencing longer, healthier active lifestyles
  • Growing superannuation funds, increasing the likelihood of more self-funded retirees at a later age.

Interested in finding out more?

Here are some interesting online research papers and articles about the needs and benefits of increasing senior participation in Australia’s economy:

Swinburne University research to support Australia’s senior entrepreneurs

The Age blog – What’s the next entrepreneur wave?

Australian Human Rights Commission – Working Past our 60s

Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts – Australia’s Demographic Challenges

 

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