Planning your next act: a business

Have you thought about starting a small business, perhaps when you retire? “Boomerpreneurship” is a growing trend in the U.S. In fact, people aged 55 to 65 are 65 percent more likely to start their own business than 20 to 34 year olds.1

In our research on Americans’ attitudes about life and money, the highest concentration of small business owners was found in the Ambitious Spender category. Ambitious Spenders are risk takers, ready to plunge into a new venture, often without fully considering the potential consequences. They may be more willing to take a flyer on a new business—but focusing all their energy on the next best product or service, without thinking it through, can leave them vulnerable. After all, it doesn’t matter if you’re the county’s best horseshoe maker as the first Model T rolls off the assembly line. Clearly, it’s important to settle on a business with a high chance of success within a sector on the rise, so do your homework and investigate the market. Here are some of the more, and less, promising entrepreneurial possibilities right now, to get you started.


Pet Care

Love animals? Parlay that passion into a business. Pet owners will spend over $6 billion this year on services such as grooming, boarding, walking, training, and pet sitting.2 Avoid pet supplies though. You can’t compete with the big box stores and online retailers.

Event Planning

How many meetings have you sat (and slept) through? How many weddings have you been to (and thought about what you would have done differently)? Put that experience to good use by opening an event planning business. Demand for meeting, convention, and event planners is projected to grow 10 percent through 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.3

Financial Consulting

Financial advisors provide guidance on financial planning over the long term, including insurance needs, estate planning, retirement planning — and demand is increasing for their services. The Department of Labor expects employment of financial consultants to grow 30 percent by 2024, and with a median annual income of over $90,000 it could be a sweet opportunity for the right person.4


Travel Agencies

With the boom in online DIY travel planning sites, retail travel agencies are becoming extinct.  From Expedia to Kayak, today’s travelers have immediate access to a world of information on airfares, hotels, and transportation to plan customized trips — and save money.

Clothing Stores

In a market where giants like American Apparel, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Sears are throwing in the towel, the future for a start-up clothing store looks dim. Retail is cutthroat, especially in the apparel category. Even specialty niches—say, vintage motorcycle jackets — face stiff competition from online vendors.


Roughly 60 percent of new restaurants fail within the first year, and nearly 80 percent close by year five.5  The main reasons: bad location, high costs, and owner inexperience. The odds are stacked against a first-time restauranteur making a go of it.

Are you feeling inspired now? While you’ll want to pick an industry that doesn’t face strong headwinds, be sure to lead with your passion to ensure that your commitment, and planning, are front and center. America is home to 27 million entrepreneurs. To join their ranks and optimize your chances of success, look and plan carefully before you make the leap.

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[1] The Economist (2017). Special Report: The Economics of Longevity. July 8, 2017.