Businesses You Can Launch in a Retirement Community
Many people have fantasies of whiling away their days by the pool once they get to retirement age, but once the time actually comes, they realize how boring it is to do nothing all day and are eager to get back to work.
Whether out of a drive to do something or financial necessity, older workers are growing in number: In fact, by 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that more than six percent of the workforce will consist of people older than 65.
If you’ve already retired and realize that you’ve made a mistake, it’s not too late to go back — and that doesn’t necessarily mean returning to the office. Plenty of savvy older entrepreneurs have started second-act careers right in their own retirement communities. Here’s a look at some career paths that will keep the cash rolling in.
Elder care and companionship - If you’ve recently joined a retirement community, you’ve probably encountered residents who are coping with health problems, but aren’t ready for a nursing home. Even if you’re not a licensed health professional, you can offer a wealth of paid services to these people, such as chauffeuring to doctors’ appointments, doing laundry and household chores, and cooking meals.
Portable hair care and salon services - Many women in retirement communities find it difficult to get out to salons -- but they still want to look good. If you have a background in cosmetology, consider offering in-home haircuts, colors, styles, and supplementary services like manicures and pedicures. Barbara Manning, a resident in Maryland's LeisureWorld, has about 25 regular customers for hair services in her retirement community.
In-home massage - Many seniors living in retirement communities have sore necks and backs, and could benefit greatly from regular massages. Get licensed as a massage therapist, and all you’ll need is a portable table to offer your services to clients throughout your community.
Teaching courses - Most retirees are eager to continue learning in their golden years. If you have a special skill or hobby — say, speaking Italian, knitting, or piano — offer both private and group lessons in your own home. It’s not only a great way to make some extra cash, but you’re likely to make good friends who share your interests at the same time.
Money management assistance - Most seniors are living on a fixed income and find it difficult to budget for all of their expenses. If you have a background in financial coaching or advising, offer your consulting services to help local retirees set up a regular budget and financial tracking system. Obviously, they’re not going to be willing to spend a fortune for this assistance, but by pricing your services reasonably and picking up a few glowing recommendations, you’re likely to see demand for your services soar. Even more than in most communities, the key to building a successful retirement community business is keeping your prices low enough to seem like a good deal for people without much spare cash.
Remember, no retirement community business is likely to make you rich — but it’ll keep enough cash coming in to help you live in comfort, and, more importantly, it beats playing Bingo all day.
Kathryn Hawkins is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.