Is Starting A Business In Retirement A Good Idea?


Retirement is a major milestone in anyone’s life. People retire to spend more time doing the things they enjoy, like traveling, gardening or spending time with family and friends. However, the truth is, not everyone can afford to fully retire, especially with the increasing inflation and cost of living.

To avoid having no income at all post-employment, most retirees are turning to investments to stretch their retirement funds, or they choose to start businesses to continue their income.

Retirees can benefit the most by converting their hobby or passion into a business. The business will then be both fun and rewarding. They can invest in a money-making business based on a long-time love that they enjoy doing while keeping them active and occupied.

However, as retirees are at a time horizon where they cannot tolerate high risks when it comes to their money, they would turn to low-cost, home-based businesses that can be run part time so they can still enjoy their leisure and work with less stress.

There are many home-based businesses that can be launched with minimum to no start-up fees.

1. Freelancing

If throughout your career, you have been working in a specific, niche job, such as being a writer, or an accountant, you can probably continue providing your services on a freelance basis. Some of the jobs you can take on, depending on your expertise are, writing, business consulting, computer repairing or servicing and bookkeeping, to name a few.

It makes sense to start building your contacts while you are still working to pave the way for this part-time business once you retire.

You can start-up alone or join up with other co-retirees.


2. Writing a book

If you have the time and you don’t need money immediately, you can write fiction or non-fiction book. Perhaps you’ve lived a particularly interesting life or you’ve had an idea for a book for quite a while and just haven’t had time to start it.

The more books you publish and sell, the more you earn. However, as an author, you will need to spend time and some money marketing your books such as setting up book launches, book signings, book tours, etc.

2Note: There is a risk of your book not being published at all. Your income from royalty will be staggered and will be paid yearly by the publishing house. 

3. Talks and seminars (professional, educational or motivational)

With all of your years of work experience and knowledge, you can offer your services as a keynote speaker at events or as a seminar leader. It can take quite some time before you are able to build up your reputation as an expert. Therefore, it is always better to start on a part-time basis in the years leading up to your retirement so you’ll hit the ground running soon as you’re out.


4. Starting a supper club

If you are creative and good at cooking, you can open up your porch as a supper club maybe weekly or fortnightly. A supper club is basically a paid dinner session opened to a small group of guests with a fixed menu of a particular cuisine theme e.g. Nyonya, Portugese, etc. They will have to book ahead and confirm their attendance by paying ahead. This supper club could work well for families or friends who are planning for a private eat-out.


5. Stay-at-home work

Healthy food delivery

Don’t feel like committing to preparing large scale meals? You can still cook to make a living by setting up a small scale food delivery business. You can provide healthy options for lunch or dinner for people to take-away or door-delivery if within the neighbourhood. There’s a growing demand for healthy lunch options, so it’d be a smart thing to capitalise on.



If you love baking, you can offer cakes, biscuits, cupcakes for events or festivals instead. If you’re particularly good, custom designed cakes can be quite the money maker.


Online boutique

You can purchase clothing from wholesalers or from stores in different countries and sell it online for a marginal profit. This way you can travel, shop and make your money back. You don’t need any special skills as you could easily set this up via a Facebook fan page.


6. Looking after children

Parents are getting busier and busier these days and would gladly pay for someone reliable and trustworthy to look after their kids. Here are some pretty basic services you could offer:


7. Offering specialised services

You may have had a hobby or a passion, but never had the opportunity to spend time on it due to your career commitments. Retirement would be the perfect time to now indulge in spending the time to do something you love and the best part is that you get to earn money while you do it this time.

If you are good or have always been interested in grooming, starting up a bridal service or offering professional make-up service would be a good idea.


If you like capturing the best moments on photographs and have a knack of capturing the right angle every time, offering photography services could be a good choice for generating retirement income at a leisurely pace.


If you enjoy gardening, you can start up a small nursery in your garden. If you love singing, you can join a local band or perform at a local club. There is a long list of other passions that you can convert to avenues for retirement income. You can revive your long lost passions and earn while doing it. The first thing a retiree needs to consider is the risk the business will pose, as it will be extremely hard for you to earn back the money lost on a business.

Considering the minimum start-up cost you will require and the income that you can obtain, starting a business in retirement might be a good idea. However, it is always wise to test the waters before you decide to dive in.

Kick-start your business in a small scale, evaluate its success, and then decide if you want to pursue with expansion, change the business or drop the idea altogether. Have an exit plan. What will you do if the business doesn’t work? You can probably afford to lose a small investment, but don’t endanger your home or wipe out your retirement savings or Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

If proven to be successful, then you may wish to expand your retirement business. You can do so by investing the earnings of the business or obtain a capital financing from your contacts. When expanding, ensure you have a solid business plan, paying customers and keep your age and health in view. It can be challenging. But if you have the courage and passion, you may succeed in producing a sustainable income stream in retirement with the business that you choose that may very well exceed your expectations!

Wondering if you can still invest after retirement? There are many low-risk investments in Malaysia can retirees can take advantage of.

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