Starting a Business After Retirement

Starting a Business After Retirement

Starting a business after retirement is a growing trend. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, about 25% of workers between 50-59 are self-employed. Of those ages 65-69, 46% are self-employed. And 68% of those between 75-79 are too. All of these groups have higher rates of self-employment than those under 50, where just 20% are self-employed.

Those who started a business from scratch represent only one group breaking into the business world after retirement. Franchises offer proven business concepts to help some entrepreneurs make money more quickly. Those who have significant retirement savings can often buy into one of these programs quickly. In fact, there’s been about a 40% increase in people over 55 buying into franchises since 2007.

There are tons of options for those who want to re-enter the workforce or start a second career by launching a business.

Those considering starting a new business may first want to check out the resources below:

Whether you’re interested in starting a new business or earning a retirement income through franchising, here’s a guide to help you sort out the options.

Which Business is Best After Retiring?

Some business ideas are particularly well suited for older Americans. Check out this list of top businesses for retirees to consider.

1. Consulting

One obvious business for retirees is consulting. If you built a whole career around an industry, there’s a good chance you have years of experience and significant knowledge that could help others. Offer to help small business owners or individuals in your area on a contract basis. You can work as a general business consultant if you managed a team or worked at a high level in your previous job. You could also specialize in a particular industry like marketing or finance. Some people even offer consulting to individuals getting started on their entrepreneurial journey. For example, you could consult with job hunters on their resume, cover letter, and interview skills.

2. Child Care

Do you love caring for your grandkids? You can build a business to help new parents in your area as well. One idea is to create a small daycare business in your home to provide scheduled daily care to a handful of kids. You could also travel to your clients to provide in-home care. Those who retired from teaching or a related field can even specialize in tutoring. To choose the best option, think about your scheduling needs and the type of care services you’re equipped to provide with the skills you have.

3. Writing and Editing

Those with excellent written communication skills can easily put them to use in retirement as a business. There are plenty of freelance writing and editing jobs you can do from home to earn money. These are generally done on a contract basis. As a result, you can set your own schedule with multiple clients. You could also start your own blog and eventually earn an income from sponsored posts or brand partnerships. Some people even self-publish books on platforms like Amazon.

4. Handmade Business

Those who love making arts and crafts should consider starting a handmade business. You can sell knit scarves, sewn clothing, unique jewelry, wood carvings, and many more items you make with your hands. You can then sell those wares at local craft fairs or on eCommerce sites like Etsy.

5. Dog Walking

If you want to spend time outside and stay active, dog walking may be the perfect retirement business. To get started, advertise at local pet shops and dog parks to build a small base of clients in your neighborhood. Then you can create a regular schedule and go for several daily walks around your neighborhood, all while earning extra income. Over time, you could even offer additional services like dog or cat sitting or grooming and expand your business.

6. Property Management

Yet another option is to start a property management business. If you have a decent amount of retirement savings, you might invest in property. Then you can rent out homes or apartments to those in your area. You just need to be able to collect payments, manage contracts, and perform or arrange small repairs. Some property owners even offer short term rentals in areas that are popular with tourists.

7. Bookkeeping

Those who are skilled at managing finances can offer bookkeeping services to other businesses. You can serve with multiple clients which can generally be done from home. However, you may need to visit some clients in person when you first get started to gain access to their records. If you want to work with individuals, consider tax prep instead. This allows you to earn significant income toward the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, you can still travel and enjoy tons of freedom throughout the rest of the year as you run your business.

8. Catering

If you love cooking, catering could be one of the best retirement business ideas to start. Offer various packages for those hosting events. You can also create completely custom menus if you prefer to get creative and you have the skills to get the job done. You can focus on large events like weddings or just work with smaller gatherings like corporate lunches. Some individuals may even specialize in specific types of food, like breakfast or baked goods to get started before you begin providing more options.

9. Handyman

Do you love working with your hands and fixing things around your home? A handyman business lets you run a small business where you do these things for others. You can offer a huge variety of services, like hanging frames or installing new doors. These are generally fairly small jobs, since things like plumbing and electrical jobs can be more strenuous and often require professional training. However, if there are many affluent homeowners or seniors in your area, there’s likely a market for this type of home service.

10. Public Speaking

If you have found some success in your earlier career, there’s a good chance that some people may be interested in what you have to say. Offer your services as a public speaker for industry conferences or special events and start leveraging your years of experience. For example, you can share presentations about social media at marketing conferences. Or you could share inspirational stories for those in the medical industry if that’s where you spent your earlier career. This allows you to make your own schedule and keep working intermittently. Just create a website and speaker profile and market your speaking services to industry connections.

Working After Retirement

Some retirees aren’t sure whether or not it’s worthwhile to continue working in a new way after years of working. Every situation is different. So you have to consider the benefits and downsides that are relevant to your particular situation. Whether you’re considering a small business or a more traditional job, here are some things to think about.


  • Increased financial security – Most adults who decide to retire have significant savings. However, medical costs and other expenses can also increase. Continuing to work allows you to save more of those funds and continue earning interest for a longer period of time. You may even be able to open another retirement account at your new job or continue adding to your previous accounts for many more years to come.
  • Access to health benefits – If you are working a traditional job with benefits, you may get access to better health insurance than you would otherwise. This can help you get quality care and save money. Additionally, you normally can’t get access to Medicare until age 65. As a result, you may be stuck paying out of pocket without an employer plan which is quite expensive.
  • Ability to stay active – Working keeps both your mind and body active. Overall, this can improve both physical and mental health. You’re less likely to sit idle all day long and let muscles atrophy or gain excess weight. Thinking through complex problems can stave off serious issues like dementia. Additionally, some people simply enjoy working and spending time with co-workers. This can be especially beneficial for those who don’t have a ton of other activities or hobbies to look forward to.
  • Opportunity to try new things – Those who stayed in a single position or industry for their whole career may have other interests they want to pursue. A retirement job lets you explore different possibilities or focus on things you enjoy. This may be an especially potent benefit for those who start businesses. This gives you more control over your role and choice of industry. For example, if you previously worked in finance but wanted to do something creative, you might write and self-publish your own series of books.


  • Less time and flexibility – Part of the appeal of retirement is the freedom of a clear schedule. Working means you still have some commitments. Even if you are working part-time or telecommute, it may not be feasible to take significant time for yourself or your family. If you don’t need the money and would prefer to spend your time traveling or playing with grandkids, it may not be worthwhile.
  • Decreased Social Security benefits – If you return to the workforce after applying for Social Security, some of the benefits may decrease. There’s a limit of $45,350 for those up to full retirement age. If you earn more than that, some benefits are likely to be withheld. You still may earn more overall. However, your net earnings from working may not be quite as much if you consider the decrease in Social Security payments.
  • Safety concerns – Depending on the job or business opportunity, working after you retire may not be completely safe. This is only an issue in roles where individuals may need to lift heavy items, drive long distances, or work with specialized equipment. It’s important to understand your own limits and speak with supervisors about what’s required for the job before getting started.
  • Pension issues – If you earned a pension from your previous job, there may be rules about returning to the workforce. This isn’t always a problem. However, you should definitely check your benefits before going back to work or starting a business. Pensions aren’t universal, but they can be quite beneficial for those who have earned them. As a result, pausing or lowering your benefits could provide a major hit to your income.

What Happens If You Work After Retirement?

If you work after retirement, you may be able to save more money in your 401(k) or other accounts so it continues to earn interest. However, your Social Security benefits may decrease if you earn more than the $45,350 limit up to your full retirement age.

You can start collecting Social Security benefits at age 62, but your benefits increase if you put them off until your full retirement age. This age depends on when you were born. The Social Security Administration offers a chart to help you determine your full retirement age and calculate benefits before that.

Basically, it’s up to each individual to weigh the pros and cons of retirement businesses or jobs based on their own situation. If you could benefit from preserving or adding to your retirement accounts for several more years, it’s likely worthwhile. If you care more about maximizing your benefits, a traditional job may not be worthwhile.

Of course, there are other benefits to consider as well. If you enjoy working, it’s probably more worthwhile for you to do it. If you’d rather focus on other hobbies and don’t need the money, working or starting a business may not be for you.

Can I Retire at 62 and Still Work Full-time?

Yes, you can be employed full time after age 62. There are no age limits on staying in or re-entering the workforce. However, your Social Security benefits may be impacted until you reach your full retirement age, which usually ranges from 66 to 67. This is especially relevant for those who earn a significant income. For some individuals, the amount they can earn from working is more than enough to offset the loss of some Social Security payments.

What is a Good Job for a Retired Person?

Generally, good retirement jobs are enjoyable and a bit flexible. They may allow you to work from home sometimes or make your own schedule. For example, jobs as administrative assistants and office managers often give retired people the ability to keep working part-time. Others may prefer to specialize in a particular area, like bookkeeping or marketing.

However, starting a business can be a very attractive opportunity for retirees with years of experience. A good retirement business can let individuals turn an enjoyable hobby, like crafting accessories or caring for dogs, into an income and business opportunity. If you’re interested in starting a small business after you retire, think about the things you enjoy doing before you get started. Then consider how much time you’re willing to set aside. If you enjoy working, consider opportunities like property management or bookkeeping. If you’d prefer to create your own schedule and stick close to home, consider business ideas like selling handmade goods or tutoring.

Alternatively, some people prefer to purchase franchise businesses. This gives them access to a proven business for retirement. You just need enough savings to cover the franchise fee and startup costs. There are many different franchise types, from fast-food restaurants to moving companies. Think about the industry that most interests you before you get started. Then research the opportunities, costs, and requirements for each option under that category.

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.