Starting a Business in Retirement

You’ve retired from your career, but is it time for an encore? Maybe you’ve been thinking about a dream business you always said you would start, or maybe you want to make an impact through a non-profit. Whatever your “why”, know that you are not alone. It is becoming more and more common for people in retirement to start a new adventure in the business world. According to Harvard Business Review, the average age of a successful business founder is 45.

Why Start a Business in Retirement? 

With a changing economy, some retirees are looking for more financial stability. For others, it is the lure of being their own boss. Many people in retirement have the advantage of decades of experience and industry knowledge that they could use. Some other advantages to starting a business after retirement? A business can keep you socially connected to the community around you, and can be a great way to meet new people.

Cons to Starting a Business in Retirement 

While starting a business at any age has many perks, there are also challenges. Starting a business in retirement means the calendar to grow your business is shorter.

While working for a company requires one level of commitment, starting and maintaining a business can oftentimes be more work and oversight. Starting any business involves risk, so you should consider all aspects carefully before starting one.  

Common Businesses for Retirees to Start 

Many retirees starting their own business draw from hobbies or interests that they are passionate about, or industries they have experience in. Like the saying goes, find something you like to do, and it doesn’t feel like work. If you don’t already have a concept in mind, here are some common business concepts.

Know Your Market    

Before jumping in to your second act, be sure you have a firm understanding of the market. The U.S. Small Business Administration has links to resources for things like demographics. You need to find out if there is a demand for your products or services, who your competitors are in the market, and what pricing looks like. Getting to know your market before hand can potentially help you pivot your business before you start down a path that will not be profitable.

Creating a Business Plan 

Once you have settled on a business concept, you will need to put together a business plan. There are many templates that can be found online for a business plan, but it will typically include:

  • Your Executive Summary (Purpose, Problem The Business Solves, Financial Summary)
  • The Services Your Business Provides
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Organization & Management
  • Financial Projections
  • Appendix (Additional Documentation)

Your business plan acts as a “roadmap” for your business, and can potentially help you secure funding if you need it.

Register Your Business and Obtain Necessary Permits 

How you should register your business depends on what business structure you choose, and which state you live in. Research what types of business professions in your state need licensing.

Insurance for Your Business in Retirement 

What insurance coverages you should consider will depend on what type of business you are starting in retirement. In many states, if you decide to hire employees, you will be required to have workers’ compensation coverage. Here are some other insurance types for businesses to consider.

Professional Liability Insurance

If you offer professional advice to clients, you should consider professional liability coverage. Professional liability insurance can help protect you and your company if a client or customer believes a mistake you made caused financial loss and decides to sue you.

General Liability Insurance

General liability policies typically cover claims from bodily injuries that occur in your place of business. If a client tripped at your business and injured themselves, it could put your business at financial risk. General liability also typically covers copyright infringement.

Commercial Auto

If you use vehicles for your business, commercial auto insurance is a smart choice, even if you are leasing the vehicles.

Business Owners Policy

If your new business needs more than one type of business insurance, such as a general liability policy and a commercial property policy, consider looking at business owners policies. Business owners policies typically combine general liability and commercial property insurance into one policy. There is often a cost savings with these, as opposed to purchasing the policies separately.

Do I Need Insurance if My Business Will Be Home-Based?   

Starting or running your business out of your home can be one way to save on overhead costs. However, homeowners insurance policies do not typically provide coverage for business equipment losses by flood or fire. The cost of your equipment and inventory is certainly one piece of the risk puzzle for home-based businesses, but there are other exposures you should watch out for as well. For example, if clients come to your property regularly, someone could injure themselves and need medical attention. If you keep a large supply of inventory in your home, have employees working in your home, or have clients visit your home, you should consider getting commercial insurance coverage.


There are many things to consider when thinking of starting a business in retirement. While there can be many perks, such as being your own boss or fulfilling a dream, there is also financial risk involved. Being realistic about costs, market demand, and financial projections can help you choose a direction for your next chapter.


This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be relied upon or used for any particular purpose. Cross Insurance shall not be held responsible in any way for, and specifically disclaims any liability arising out of or in any way connected to, reliance on or use of any of the information contained in this article. The information contained or referenced in this article is not intended to constitute and should not be considered legal, insurance, accounting or other professional advice, nor shall it serve as a substitute for the recipient obtaining such advice. The views expressed in this article are that of its author and do not necessarily represent the views of Cross Financial Corp. and its subsidiaries and affiliates (“Cross Insurance”) or Cross Insurance’s management or shareholders.

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