Aged 40? Time to set up your own business

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For immediate release: Wednesday 1 June 2016

New research* from workplace pensions provider NOW: Pensions reveals that entrepreneurs are starting businesses at a younger age than previous generations. Over half (58%) of 35-44 year olds set up their own business between age of 35-44, compared to just 15% of business owners currently over 65. Overall, the average age for setting up a small business now is 40.

The research also shows that women are starting businesses at a younger age than men with 41% starting their first before the age of 35 compared to just 30% of men.

The reasons younger generations are opting for business ownership is to escape the life of an employee, with 55% setting one up so they can be their own boss (vs 46% of those aged 65-74), one in five (18%) of 35-44 year olds hated their previous jobs and 44% wanted a better work/life balance (vs 25% of 65-74 year olds).

Although escaping the life of an employee may seem tempting, one in five business owners find it lonely and half (52%) fear the lack of a secure income. However, despite the ups and downs, 89% believe they made the right decision going it alone and 80% are happier running their own firm than working for somebody else.

Loves and loathes

When it comes to the day to day reality of small business ownership, the survey revealed the highs and lows.

Three worst things about being a small business owner:
1. Lack of secure income (52%)
2. The stress (22%)
3. Lack of a work / life balance (33%)

Three best things about being a small business owner:
1. Flexible working hours (66%)
2. Work / life balance (47%)
3. Greater control over the future (41%)

Neil Adams, Director of Bordh tables – a small business that makes tables out of surfboards based near Newquay in Cornwall says: “I left school at 16 and joined the Royal Navy. Eight years later and after a stint in the Gulf war I retrained as an electrician which, at the time, was a great new challenge for me. But, eight years after that I was ready for a change again.

I’d been searching for a while for a good business idea and then one evening, sitting around the fire after a surf we just thought “why not make tables out of surfboards” and Bordh was born.

Running your own business means that you are the master of your own destiny. It’s great making all the decisions and taking the responsibility for the outcomes, good and bad! But running your own business means doing absolutely everything yourself, including the bits that you don’t like. For me, being a practical person, this is the admin side of things but luckily I have a good accountant to help out!”

Morten Nilsson, CEO of workplace pensions provider NOW: Pensions, says: “The desire for greater flexibility, combined with the confidence needed to go it alone can be a powerful combination which perhaps explains why younger generations are taking the lead on setting up businesses.

But being a business owner comes with responsibilities that can’t be avoided and entrepreneurs need to keep on top of new legislation and regulation to avoid unwanted fines and unnecessary stress.”


For further information:
Amy Mankelow / Cheriton Lee
NOW: Pensions
Tel: 0203 640 9075 / 0203 826 1464

Lauren Roberts
Tel: 0207 566 9760

Notes to editors
*Online survey with 350 owners of small businesses in the UK between 14th and 18th March 2016 by Opinium.

NOW: Pensions @nowpensions
NOW: Pensions is an independent, multi-employer trust serving thousands of employers and hundreds of thousands of employees from a wide range of sectors.

A subsidiary of one of Europe’s largest pension funds, Danish pension scheme ATP, NOW: Pensions offers a simple and cost effective workplace pension solution direct to employers and via advisers and the payroll sector.

In April 2013, NOW: Pensions became the first master trust to attain the NAPF’s new PQM Ready Standard. The benchmark shows employers that NOW: Pensions is a well governed pension scheme with low charges and good member communications.

In January 2015, NOW: Pensions achieved independent assurance of scheme quality in accordance with the new master trust assurance framework (AAF02/07) introduced by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) in conjunction with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

The NOW: Pension Trustee Directors, whose role is to safeguard the interests of members, comprises well-known industry figures with different areas of expertise:

  • Jocelyn Blackwell, founding partner Dunnett Shaw
  • Christopher Daykin, former Government Actuary
  • John Monks, member of House of Lords and former General Secretary of ETUC and TUC
  • Win Robbins, former Head of European Fixed Income at Barclays Global Investors
  • Nigel Waterson, former Shadow Pensions Minister

Employee charges are just £1.50 per month administration charge (reduced administration charge of £0.30 – £1.00 to be applied during auto enrolment phasing for lower earners) plus a 0.3% annual product investment management charge, with no hidden charges.

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NOW: Pensions has a good technical infrastructure combined with a pension product suitable for our team. We couldn’t be happier with NOW: Pensions.
Martin Woods,