More seniors than ever are pursuing their dreams by starting businesses in retirement

Why are so many Americans over 65 self-employed? If you’re thinking the answer lies in Nelly’s lyrics, “Hey, must be the money!” you are mistaken.

At least that’s what three researchers found in their recent research looking at self-employment and contract work by age.

“In some cases, financial necessity is the primary driver,” wrote Katharine G. Abraham, Brad Hershbein and Susan Houseman in their National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) paper, Contract Work at Older Ages. “In other cases, motivations such as the desire to stay active, connect with others, or pursue a hobby may be more important.”

"Self-employment among older workers is a lot more common than we think it is.”

That’s exactly what I heard when I spoke with a variety of people in their late 60s and early 70s about what led them to become self-employed at this time of life. (Of course, many others work after 65+ because they need the money.) As much as those I talked to said they’re glad about the self-employment income, the psychic rewards are even greater.

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