Financially Speaking

How to Turn Your Passion Into a Business During Retirement

  • Wesley Dueck, Author
  • Senior Financial Consultant, IG Wealth Management

You might have something in common with Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. When he reached 65, he didn’t retire. Instead he took the fried chicken recipe he had perfected through years of running a restaurant and turned it into a pioneering franchising behemoth that made him a very wealthy man.

If you’re like Colonel Sanders, if you’ve reached “retirement age” but aren’t ready to call it quits, if you have a passion that you’d like to turn into a business during retirement – here’s what you need to know:

Your passion becomes your product Colonel Sanders had a passion for perfect fried chicken – and making money. Your passion may be photography, painting, crafting or any of a hundred other pursuits that you now intend to turn from a relaxing activity into a retirement career. Be aware that you may come to look at your “passion” differently when it becomes a stressful endeavor, especially when things may not be going too well. The keys are to be honest with yourself about the potential for your business and to work equally hard at staying motivated.

Know the risks and challenges Your business idea is brilliant. But it is also risky – so protect your retirement savings by keeping your start-up costs to a minimum and avoiding heavy debt. For example, don’t lease office space or hire employees until you absolutely have to. Early expenses eat into profit margins and make it difficult for a new business to survive.

Test the market If your new venture includes a new or different product or service, test the market before you make any rash decisions. Start with the most basic version of your product or service and sell it economically – perhaps online through social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – and gauge customer feedback to decide if your business venture makes financial sense.

Keep it simple Finance your business with money you can afford to lose. If you find yourself tempted to tap into your retirement account to fund your business, take it as a warning that you’re probably about to get into something you’re not financially prepared for. Creating a retirement business from your passion could end up being the most satisfying and rewarding life decision you have ever made. Make sure you have all the information – on taxation, licencing and all the other vital details you must master to run a successful business – by talking to you lawyer, accountant and professional advisor before you take the first step into your new career.

This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc.(in Québec - a Financial Services Firm), presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments. Contact your own advisor for specific advice about your circumstances. For more information on this topic please contact your Investors Group Consultant. Insurance products and services are distributed by I.G. Insurance Services Inc. (in Québec - a Financial Services Firm). Insurance licence sponsored by The Great-West Life Assurance Company outside of Québec.