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Setting up a business in your 50s can ‘keep you healthy’

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21/01/2014
Setting up a business in your 50s may keep you healthy in old age, according to cognitive neuroscientist, Dr Lynda Shaw.

Shaw, who is also a business strategist, said changing jobs in your 50s is the ideal time because we naturally reinvent ourselves as we mature.

She said: “The fact is that at 50 something you have accrued a wealth of knowledge and business and social experience over a long working period. Setting up a successful company when over 50 instils self-worth and value, financial independence, the chance to use all the skills built up over a lifetime of working, flexibility and the opportunity for a new challenge.

“We know that either losing a job, or early retirement, can cause possible anxiety, isolation, poverty and a sedentary lifestyle. If you have set up your own business and your work is fulfilling and you are feeling sharp because you are passionate about it, then you are more likely to stay mentally fit and healthy. Changing jobs in our 50s keeps us fresh and we are more likely to choose something we really want to do rather than something we just settle for.”

Shaw said there has been a growing number of new businesses set up by those over 50 in the UK who have faced the difficulties of finding a new job due to being made redundant.

According to research from over-50 business starter support charity The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME), out of the 11 million people between 50 and 64, around 3.2 million (33%) are economically inactive with many facing the added pressures of paying the mortgage, saving for retirement and looking after families, which could include children still living at home, elderly parents, or even both.

However, the research found nearly half the self-employed population is over 50, and one in six new businesses started in the UK are set up by post-half-centurions.

The report also found that businesses started by people over 50 have a 70% chance of surviving their first five years – compared with only a 28% survival rate for those younger than them.

Shaw said: “We are in our prime to try something different, perhaps a job we always wanted to do. We have life experience, strong relationships, and the children have grown up, so it is often the perfect time to reinvest in ourselves.

“We are also more capable and knowledgeable than ever, and can contribute enormously to the economy, community and society as a whole, in something that we might be more passionate about than the job we may have been doing previously. More than ever, many of us are now living to 100 years so why should we be settling for the mundane or stopping work at the half way point?!”

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