From pensions to profits: over-65s turn to self-employment

As household budgets tighten, the over-65s are seeking out new income streams.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that 332,000 Britons over the age of 65 founded businesses in the past 12 months – up from 224,000 a year ago.

That makes them the fastest-growing age group for self-employment.

Take Peter Wall, 66. After retiring from Wragge & Co, a £100m-turnover law firm with more than 1,000 employees, Wall helped his son Nick to launch Tails, a premium cocktail brand.

They started the business with £200,000 in funding, around half of it from government grants. Tails now turns over £1.5m and the brand’s luxury “shakers” are sold in Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Ocado. The father-and-son team also export their cocktails to Ibiza.

“I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life on a golf course,” says Wall.

The Parliamentary Small Business Group Entrepreneurship Inquiry this month heard that older entrepreneurs were disproportionately affected by the reluctance of banks to lend: 62 per cent of founders aged over 65 found access to finance a problem compared with 41 per cent of those aged 18 to 30.

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