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Content: Fifty PLUS!

Working After Turning Fifty!

In today's aging population, it should not come as a surprise that almost 35% of new businesses are started by entrepreneurs aged 50 and over. Along with years of experience, the retiree lifestyle lends itself to the time and knowledge needed for a new business. According to recent research, this age group are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurship, leading to the development of the term 'seniorpreneur'.

Some people start their own business as a way to combat age discrimination while looking for work. For others it is a financial incentive because they have not got enough superannuation to see them through retirement. Some start up because they are not interested in retiring, and feel that working keeps them healthy and engaged with the community.

Bookkeeper and small business owner Peter Murray says "I was made redundant at 56 and felt that I still had so much more to offer."

He felt weary of the stigma that surrounds seniors becoming employed. Previously in IT at Telstra, Peter had always been good with numbers. He purchased a Jim's Bookkeeping franchise, which meant he had the flexibility of owning his own business, without the hassle or expense of starting up on his own.

Now 67 years old, Peter has never looked back. During a recent stint in Geelong hospital he arranged for his computers and files to be dropped to him at the hospital so he could continue working. His doctor had never seen anything like it.

Sometimes becoming a seniorpreneur can be a complete lifestyle change for couples. Geoff and Sandra Jacobson, after working in very different industries; Geoff in maintenance and production management, Sandra in tourism and education, made the decision to buy a Jim's Mowing franchise. Not only were they enjoying their new career direction, due to the success of their first franchise they decided to expand and purchased a second franchise.

The pair are still enjoying owning their own franchises, "We love the flexibility and independence of working for ourselves but more than anything else we enjoy getting to know our customers and providing a service that meets their needs."

Geoff and Sandra do not see age as a boundary when it comes to the workforce, "We are both in our sixties and we are actively learning and growing as business owners. There is misapprehension that learning and personal growth stops when a person turns a certain age and then you take up gardening. Well, we are gardening, but we are also almost ready to take our business to the next level."

Peter, Geoff and Sandra do not see a use by date for the foreseeable future. New career prospects stop at no age and seniorpreneurs could be a trend that continues to grow.

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