Today’s 50+ population is reluctant to be “put out to pasture.” Instead, many people in their 50s and beyond are pursuing their dreams of owning a business when they leave the traditional workforce. And there is no reason that older people driven by the entrepreneurial spirit cannot achieve their dream.
Colonel Harland Sanders is an outstanding example. He was in his mid-60s when he devoted himself to expanding the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. Ten years later, KFC was a popular fast food restaurant with more than 600 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Consider these statistics gathered from a study by the American Association of Retired People (AARP):
- The percentage rate of self-employed people rises with age.
- Those who are middle-aged and older make up a large share of all self-employed people, with those over 50 accounting for 40 percent of the self-employed.
- Approximately one in three of older self-employed individuals made the transition from employee to business owner after the age of 50.
- People older than 55 are the fastest growing group of self-employed workers.
Franchise ownership is considered by many to be an excellent option for retirees for self-employment. In 2007, CNN Money compiled a list of the best paying retirement jobs, and ranked franchise ownership in the top 20 based on market demand, scheduling flexibility and other preferences expressed by this age group.
And franchising has only increased its imprint within this age group. Statistics show that over 25 percent of franchise owners are over 55. In fact, between 2007 and 2013 the percentage of people 55 and over who are franchise owners rose from 20 percent to 28 percent—a 40 percent increase, according to Franchise Business Review.
For retirees, the advantages of buying a franchise are many:
- A franchise is a proven commodity with proven systems in place – it’s easier than starting a new business from scratch.
- Operational support
- Training provided
- Advertising and marketing support
- Brand name recognition
Franchise companies are recognizing that older, experienced workers retiring from regular jobs are good candidates for franchise ownership. They have confidence from the wisdom gained over the years in the workforce. They know how to plan ahead and reliably carry through to reach goals. And their experience has refined and sharpened their interpersonal skills.
But before rushing into franchise ownership, retirees must carefully consider just what it is they want do in this next phase of their lives. Quality of life should be the first priority, so that factors such as time commitment and physical endurance must be carefully weighed. The financial aspect is another major influence – as one approaches retirement age, it is unwise to “bet the farm” on any one investment. Retirees are better off looking for franchises with lower up-front costs and minimal ongoing overhead.