Entrepreneurship starts at 65

AARP, take notice. Or rather, change your model, because American retirees are not the same they were even 10 years ago. Today, they seem to be more of entrepreneurial risk-takers than Ovaltine-before-bed-drinking fellows.

The picture isn’t all that rosy, of course: some of retirees-to-be pick a risker path in their later years because they don’t have enough retirement money to live comfortably; others are unhappy with job opportunities out there after the age of 50. Either way, retirees of America decided to take the matters in their own hands. The fact is that we live longer and healthier, and that we simply need things to fill out our time — and make a living — after the not-so-old anymore age of 65.

So how can AARP and retirement banking can help them? Instead ofshowing imagery of the “dusk” years and exhausting the learnings on “how to prepare” for retirement, the welcome add-on would be “how to prepare” for entrepreneurial career after the corporate job. The importance of retirement savings and retirement mode of life are nothing to sniff at to be clear; it just needs to be complemented with the actual lifestyle and business needs of those that these programs are targeting.

Community, tools, and entrepreneurial advice, experience sharing, access to VC and advisors, crowdfunding, and a network of likeminded, experienced senior entrepreneurs can definitely help. Banks especially should jump on this: they can become leaders in enabling entrepreneurial saving programs and organizing finances for those who wish to found their own company. Saving for retirement than becomes “investment in the business venture,” which is much more tangible and proactive act.

There is an entrepreneurial opportunity in this macro-trend, too. Retirees are a vast, well-defined market. They have been considered a niche so far based on the limited, job market framework (of those who participate in the job market and those who don’t, retirees belonging to the latter category). Focusing on a niche and serving their unmet needs has so far been proven to be extremely viable business tactic. Entrepreneurial retirees have a ton of unmet needs, and a respectable scale. So far, the opportunities they are pursuing are outside of what financial and other retirement insitutions are providing. It may be time to make a business out of it.