Two thirds of business owners over 55 plan to ‘never stop’ working

Legal retirement age is just a number for most business owners and entrepreneurs, particularly those closest to it, according to new research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance.

Two thirds (63%) of business owners over 55 said they had no desire to retire and will ‘never stop’ working, either in a full-time or part-time capacity. Asking the reasons why, the results found two thirds (67%) of those planning to work past the legal age of retirement said this was because they loved their jobs, rather than out of necessity.

The results showed that those over 55 were more likely to say they would never stop working than any other age-group, as well as being more likely to say this was out of choice.

Of those that did know what age they would be retiring, 82% of business owners over 55 said they would work past the legal retirement age, while over a third (37%) said they would to work into their 70s. By contrast, across all age-groups, 39% planned to work past 65, while one in six (16%) plans to work into their 70s.

However, the research also found that a large proportion of older business owners (over 55) had no clear long-term plans for the business. At quarter (25%) admitted they simply did not know what they would do, while almost half (47%) said they would close the business on retirement. A far smaller proportion (15%) had plans to sell the business, and similarly around is just one in eight (12%) had plans to pass it down to their children or to other partners in the business.

The findings come at a time when longevity continues to improve, with the average life expectancy at birth in the UK rising to 79.9 for men and 83.6 for women.

Joanna Morris, Head of Marketing & Insight at Hitachi Capital Business Finance, commented: “For many people who have set up a business – spending an entire career developing and nurturing it into the enterprise that it is today – the idea of doing anything else may seem quite alien. 70 is no longer considered old, with many of today’s so-called retirees being healthier, living longer, and retiring at different ages. The wealth of knowledge and experience that they bring is of enormous benefit to a company, particularly at this time of uncertainty.

“While this is great news, what is a concern is that such a large proportion have not thought of what will happen in the long-term. The reality is that for a business to achieve significant growth, there needs to be a detailed plan in place. Hitachi Capital works with business owners of all types to understand their goals and help them realise them. This way, working in retirement can remain a choice rather than necessity.”