How are you going to handle this?

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Rewire (Photo credit: Passetti)

When you retire, will you be worried all the time about running out of money? Business Week recently quoted a senator involved in retirement savings who said that when he started out in the 70s every two people had a pension but today it’s one out of five and “getting worse”.

“If trends continue, we will have many more people living close to poverty in retirement,” says the managing director of a think tank that offers policy-making proposals.

These comments are typical of what you see in the popular media these days. Better health care and healthier lifestyles are contributing to people living longer. This means they need more money to live on.

But there is another sad reality in this economy. Many people are not reaching retirement age because they are let go or retrenched. So what can they do? Some try to keep working but unless they have specialised skills that are in high demand it’s not really an option. Others who are highly skilled and can market themselves or go consulting. A small group may with the correct guidance be able to start something of their own.

Some people are rewiring. They might start a bed and breakfast, restaurant or small scale manufacturing. One woman who was a book publisher for 30 years started teaching computer skills to the elderly. A fitter and turner is still plying his trade but in a specialised niche to make motorcycle parts for classic motorcycles.

But what does it take to re-wire?

Some people who were in great demand in their 30s and 40s suddenly find themselves in their 50s no longer in the top spot. Companies are less willing to hire them. After being out of the job market for months and even years, they bumble around making wishful plans in their heads but never getting anything going.

The quickest way to focus yourself is to find your key drivers. These are the things that motivate you. They may have changed over the years but your key drivers can be transformed into new avenues. Someone who has, for example, sold sporting and golf equipment may now turn their passion into teaching golf to young people.

You can’t start anything on thin air. It requires resources. If you haven’t built up a cash kitty or cash pot, then you may have to draw on your savings, which is unadvisable for someone in their mature years. For some people it’s best that they don’t take the plunge and start a new business or buy a second-hand one. If they don’t have business acumen, then if they fail they may never have time to recover. As one adviser says, “You have to look at what the initial investment is and whether there are enough years left to realise a profit.”

Yet some of the figures on more mature entrepreneurs are encouraging. About 23% of people who founded their first businesses in 2012 were 55 or older. Something like half of businesses started by mature entrepreneurs were still in existence after five years.

Whether you are going to go out as a consultant, financial adviser, craft or collectables seller on online marketer, can you do it on your own? Yes, of course you can. But if you’ve never run a business on your own or started something from scratch, the odds are high that you may not make it. To reduce your risk, you’ve got a get someone to assist you such as a mentor, coach or business adviser who can help remove some of the risk.

The sooner you start thinking about what you are going to do in the years ahead the better. If you want to start preparing yourself for your future, then simply fill in your email address and subscribe to Idea Accelerator.

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