The Rise of ‘Pension-Preneurs’

by - 21/01/2020 in Research
  • 3.5 million over-50s plan to reinvent themselves with their own businesses for retirement
  • They’ll be using savings and lump sums from pensions to fund their new ventures
  • A bold 37% plan to start their new business in a completely different industry to the one they worked in during their career

New research1 from Charter Savings Bank reveals that, far from taking it easy, millions of those approaching retirement are planning to reinvent themselves and start their own business.

Its study shows there are 3.5 million so-called ‘pension-preneurs’ across the UK who have already started their own business, are planning to do so or want to invest in another business during their retirement.

The nationwide study reveals one in seven (14%) over-50s have entrepreneurial plans for the years ahead. Some 2.2 million people (9%) have already set up their own business or invested in another, while a further 1.6 million (6%) are planning to do so.

Pension-preneurs are planning to spend around £6,300 on their enterprise, working out collectively as nearly £22 billion across the country invested in new businesses for the over 50s. One in seven (15%) are planning to invest over £20,000 in their new enterprise.

The majority of the over 50s (76%) plan to use their own personal savings to fund their new business in retirement, but one in 10 (11%) plan to use a lump sum from their pension. Loans from family and friends (8%) and business loans (7%) are other options for financing their new venture.

It seems very few people approaching retirement are planning to take it easy. The most popular plan is for retirees to volunteer with an organisation or start a charity (33%), while a fifth (22%) plan to start a new job part time. Setting up as a freelancer or consultant during retirement is another popular option (12%).

Plans for retirement


Plans for retirement Percentage of over 50s who have done or plan to do this

Number of over 50s who have done or plan to do this
Volunteer or start a charity

33%

1.1 million

Start a new job part time

22%

778k

Set yourself up as a freelancer or consultant

12%

429k

Start your own business from scratch

11%

397k

Start a new job full time

10%

355k

Come up with an idea for a new product / service / business

10%

335k

Start a business in partnership with other people

6%

214k

Invest in another business and work there

4%

154k

Paul Whitlock, Group Managing Director, Charter Savings Bank said: “It appears there are millions of people heading towards retirement who don’t want to just stop working and put their feet up. They want to continue doing something productive with their time, whether that be working for a charity or starting a business.

“The fact that so many people over the age of 50 want to create a new business or invest in one is inspiring and shows such an entrepreneurial spirit. However, starting a business takes funds and the fact that so many people plan to use their own personal savings to do so highlights how important saving is. Whether spending retirement travelling the world or starting a business, saving as much as possible from as early as possible is absolutely vital.”

The industries most popular with those pension-preneurs planning to start their own business are professional services (13%), education (12%), hospitality & leisure (12%) and wholesale and retail (9%). While almost half (45%) plan to start their new venture in the same industry they’ve worked in during their working life, over a third (37%) plan to take the bold step of starting a business in a completely different industry.

1 Opinium conducted research among 2,005 adults living in the UK on behalf of Charter Savings Bank between 11th and 15th October 2019

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