Monday, June 16, 2014

Why I Have A Business in Retirement-And Why I Don't Have a Job

Whether or not to work-or bring in extra income in retirement is an individual choice.  Some people never want to see anything that looks like work or a business again.  Some folks work because they find it enriching. Others work to keep up with temporary bills or fund a major expenditure. We are all different and how we deal with that is unique.  Recently Bob over at Satisfying Retirement fielded questions from a reader about income options, sharing examples from fellow bloggers and his own experiences.

In my case I chose to bring in an income-for how. My reasons are simple, and perhaps not unique to me.  I have an expensive hobby (at least one) some expensive travel plans, and a temporary expense (taken on by choice) that I would like to lower.  In the first case, I am a quilter and artist. There is no such thing as cheap quilting fabric, or equipment.  In the second case, I have decided to fly to Europe and take a Rhine Cruise-from where it begins to where it ends-and then maybe a cruise through French Wine Country.  Finally, as I have mentioned elsewhere, I have taken on a hefty car payment-again by choice.

I don't consider this extra income necessary to retirement survival or retirement satisfaction in any way. If I found my business or income generating a chore, I would drop it immediately.  My life has been very rich and satisfying without any of the above expenses. I have found casual food, the open road and all the free and relaxing activities available to me to allow living richly in retirement to the fullest. For now, a business works for me.

When I decided that I would add some income to my basic retirement, I never considered a job-as in working for someone else. I know people who have been extremely satisfied doing tours, working at home depot, teaching and doing other part time work. I was simply not used to working for anyone else (being an at home spouse for many years).  More importantly, I am a free spirit. I want to work when the mood strikes. If I want to take off for the weekend, I wanted to be able to do so. I did not want a "schedule" of places and times I needed to be. After all, even when I travel I avoid scheduling as much as I can.  So, the natural choice was a job I would do at home and/or a home business. I have chosen the latter.

When some folks hear the word business, they see investments, lots of extra paperwork, extra taxes.  Certainly some business can entail all of those. Most small business and small income opportunities have little to no investment or overhead. In fact, many small business can be started for $100 or less.  While I am not an expert in business, I know a person who has a handyman business (only expense is annual insurance), I know a person who makes and sells art. I know a person who makes and sells jewelry. I know a woman who bakes and sells at farmers markets and does Christmas cookies baskets at the holidays. I know a guy who has a dog walking and dog boarding business.  I know a woman who is a part time realtor.  In most of these cases, any investment was for insurance/bonding and minimal advertising (flyers, business cards).  When a start up is this low, one can take a risk.

When I decided to bring in money, I had certain requirements. I wanted any income opportunity to be portable. If I wanted to go away for the week on the spur of the moment I did not want to have to contact replacements, notify customers or do any of the other scheduling tasks. I wanted that job to be mainly done at home-I had this vision of me in my lounger on the patio with a mimosa and the laptop (and that has mainly worked out to be true), and I wanted something where I could create the hours.

My end result is that I have more than one "micro business", and my criteria are met 90 percent of the time.  All have been basically no expense start ups (I had basic equipment and needed advertising and office supplies).  What I do to make money depends on the time of year, but any of these "micro businesses" could be turned into an at home small business with minimal extra cost.  I make and sell quilts and quilted items. I do online research for clients through a third party broker. During the holidays I make and sell Special Occasion and Christmas cookie baskets for folks who want homemade cookies and have no time to make them. Last but not least, I do estate, house and rental clean outs-and sometimes I hold sales to sell the items. This last choice is the only time I go out of my house to a client-and even in this case much of what I do is done at home

Just as whether to bring an income into retirement is a unique choice, so is the form that income will take.Some people prefer the socialization of working for someone outside the home, as well as the chance to get out of the house.  Some people prefer to do business in their jammies. Many folks come somewhere in between. We all have to make a choice that works for us, depending on needs and lifestyle. The important thing is to know that choices are there, and if a business is what works best for you, well........know that you don't have to  but your retirement in danger to start that "freedom businesss"

14 comments:

  1. I retired 3 years ago and still have nightmares about being at work and can't get home. So you can put me in the "I'd be willing to give up an awful lot before going back to work!" category. My husband retired at the end of January and was back at work 2 days a week by the first of June. He is using the money to fund some big projects. And I think he missed the camaraderie. Me, I am happy as a clam with my quilting, cooking, gardening, and reading. Life is good.

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    1. Yes, we each have different levels of activity and different needs, for sure.

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  2. I agree, retirement is all about doing what you want to do, not what you have to do. I love my part time, on-my-own-terms work. The only problem is filling out the darn Schedule C, and paying 2x the Social Security tax ... but I guess there's no way around that.

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    1. Yea, well I think a little bit of paperwork is to be expected. In my case I hire others on occasion so I also have to deal with the 1099 thing.

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  3. I've thought about going back into my online business of sales. I use to put it in the vacation mode when I would take some time off. The problem was I loved it so much that I worked 7 days a week and usually more hours than when I worked a job. Right now after being retired only two months I am not sure I even want to put in the effort of building that online business again. I love not having a schedule with some days of doing nothing and other days doing what I enjoy. Retirement is good.

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    1. You may find something completely different at some point, or you may not!

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  4. Barb, I am interested in what Internet research company you work for. Rosy

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    1. Rosy, its a general freelance company, not a research company-I'll contact you.

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  5. I've just started to pick up some part-time work. After 15 months of retirement, I would have a very hard time settling in to a scheduled work routine. I'm able to earn some extra money housecleaning and enjoy it. I have been called "Martha" in the past and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done and it's exercise as well. I'm able to set my own schedule on a mutually agreed upon basis. It's flexible. I love it. There is such a difference in supplementing income vs relying solely on this work that I'm hustling. I'm not relying on this income to survive but it will contribute to the extras. I know that I will not return to the work I did in the health care system for 34 yrs. We have so many skill sets that can be matched to people willing to pay for them.

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    1. And If you lived near me, I would give you business for sure. Cleaning is so NOT my thing. I agree, schedules are not for me.

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    2. Just a suggestion. I keep hoping you might write about safety for seniors or safety for women in general. It may be age, but it does seem to be a lot of issues related to living and thriving in a safe environment. Personally this has impacted me, and I do wonder how many others may have valuable suggestions on how to protect oneself in an everyday environment. Thanks and I am glad you're back writing.

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  6. I really appreciate your sharing and I relate to so much--the need for independence, the creative streak,the ability to find and enjoy the freebies of life.. keep blogging!!

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  7. I, too, would like the name/contact information of the freelance research company you use. Thanks for your wonderful blog. I still think you need to write your book with your observations, experiences, and suggestions; I so often share with others what you have to say.

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