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Some people successfully work out their next step

The rise of the ‘olderpreneur’ (Source: Age UK)

The job market is tough at the moment – in spite of new laws scrapping the Default Retirement Age (DRA) widespread redundancies are making it difficult to find new jobs.

But far from being content to sit back and let the ageing process do its worst, increasing numbers of over-50s are choosing to stay in employment by starting up their own businesses.

The level of self-employment in the 50-plus age group is about 1 in 5, considerably higher than levels across all ages.

Reasons for this upsurge in ‘olderpreneurs’, as they have been dubbed by the media, include:

  • earlier retirement or enforced redundancy
  • low interest rates,
  • the abandonment of the statutory retirement age,
  • the demise of final-salary pensions,
  • and a fashionable desire to reinvent yourself in another form, preferably one that supplements your state pension.

Business success

This growing army of olderpreneurs could potentially add billions to the UK economy in the coming years if current predictions are correct.

Years of collected experience and expertise means that this group of start-up entrepreneurs is more likely to succeed, with over 70% lasting more than 5 years, compared with 28% of younger entrepreneurs.

With the over-55s due to account for a third of the UK’s population by 2025, older workers are well placed to take advantage of this fast-growing marketplace through shared experience and understanding…




Active ageing in active communities – Volunteering and the transition to retirement (Source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation)


Older People

In earlier times, older people were often characterised as a group of individuals of inferior

worth, their usefulness exhausted, tucked away from the mainstream and with little further to give to society. But this has changed as older people are seen to be exercising choice, taking some share alongside younger people in the good things of life and benefiting from educational opportunities and leisure pursuits. Nowadays, older people are more likely to be looked upon as an active, often vibrant, group able and willing to contribute a great deal to their communities through volunteering and more generally to society as a whole. Some organisations in the study recognised two stages in the ageing process: the 50-70 age group when, generally speaking, volunteers were in full control of their lives, followed by the over 70s age group when people might, to some degree, be winding down their activities. In this definition being over 50 is not a disqualification from volunteering: it is doing the job that counts and, in recognising this, the voluntary organisations in the study consistently tap into the potential of the so-called Third Age.



In recent decades, the meaning of retirement has changed from the idea of people ‘being put out to grass’, entering a phase of diminished responsibilities and reduced purpose in life.

Nowadays, retirement is seen as a multifaceted stage in the life cycle with opportunities to use free time in ways that please the individual. As the study shows, retirees may have a range of activities: perhaps a time-consuming role in caring for a family member at one end of the scale and, according to circumstances, the opportunity to indulge in desired pastimes at the other. For many, retirement offers hitherto unavailable scope for choosing what they do on a daily basis and this autonomy may be an option for the first time in a person’s life.


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