Why become a Midlife Entrepreneur?

Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) have called for a local day of action on 16 September. Women in the UK born after 1953 have seen their State Pension Age rise from 60 to 65 and then to 67. This has left many women with a shortfall in their pensions of as much as £40,000. The gap in resources means that women in their late 50s and 60s are looking for employment, working longer or setting up businesses for the first time.

Pat Duckworth speaking at WEF Delhi

Pat Duckworth speaking at WEF Delhi

‘Midlife is a time of tremendous change in women’s lives. You might be thinking of the physical changes that come with declining reproductive hormones; changes in body shape, hair colour and skin tone. Or maybe you are thinking about the emotional changes; the roller-coaster of moods that are not unlike the teenage years.

The mid-life years can also be a time of great change in your personal life and circumstances. Children are becoming independent and leaving home, parents are getting older and may need support, and finances may be getting easier or harder.

Your relationship with your partner may be changing. Unfortunately, the statistics on divorce at midlife indicate that more relationships are ending among people in their 50’s and 60’s. The US National Centre for Health and Statistics reported a 16% increase in divorce rates for couples married over 30 years or more.

While all this change is going on it can be the perfect time to make changes in your work-life. In the US, 23% of all new entrepreneurs are age 50-65, so you are not alone. The average age of the founders of U.S. technology companies is 39, with twice as many over age 50 as under age 25.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there are now nearly 1.8 million self-employed people over the age of 50 in the UK, an increase of 21 per cent on 2008. Around one in five people aged over 50 is self-employed, a higher proportion than for any other age group. A survey by Age UK, the charity for older people, indicates that more than 70pc of businesses started by people in their fifties survive for at least five years whereas only 28pc of those started by younger people last that long.

The majority of workers over 50 want to continue working beyond state pension age, 62% of women and 59% of men. For some it is to supplement their income. In 2008 24% of men and 37% of women in the UK had incomes which were less than adequate with 20% of women and 6% of men claiming that their income is completely inadequate to meet their needs.’

For more information about becoming a midlife entrepreneur and stories of women who have made that transition see ‘Hot Women Rock; How to discover your midlife entrepreneurial mojo’, by Pat Duckworth. Published 4 October 2016.