Freelancers over 60. Why self-employment could be a great way to semi-retire.

It's being described as 'the great unretirement'. More people over 50 are now working, or looking for work, compared to pre-pandemic levels. This has mainly been attributed to those who may have previously retired returning to work because of the cost of living crisis.

Instead of returning to the workplace, many over 60s could consider self-employment to supplement their private or state pensions. These are the major advantages of freelancing for the over-60s.

The majority of freelancers in the UK are 50-60+ years old

Forget the stereotypes. According to a 2022 report from IPSE, 50-59 year olds make up the largest proportion of freelancers. The fastest growing age category was 60+, and the number of freelancers claiming a pension has increased by 18% compared to 2021.

If you're 60+ and considering freelance work, you won't be on your own!

Remember! Returning to work or self-employment while claiming your state pension can change your tax obligations. Make sure you seek advice from an accountant before you get started.

Your experience is a bonus, not something to hide

Ageism is unfortunately rife in recruitment. A 50-year-old applicant is three times less likely to secure an interview for a job than a 28-year-old, according to one piece of research. Some older job seekers even try to hide their age on their CV to avoid discrimination.

While self-employment isn't entirely free of ageism, the hiring process is less formal and your work speaks for itself, meaning less opportunity for ageist assumptions. Freelancers with more skills and experience - who are often older - can sell themselves more easily and demand higher rates.

Your work schedule is adaptable and flexible

Retirement age can mean mobility issues and health problems, even for the fittest over 60s. This can make a long commute or traditional, full-time working hours difficult to manage.

Freelancers can work any hours they choose, wherever they choose, and adapt their workspace to meet their needs. This is ideal for freelancers over 60 who want to earn alongside claiming their pension, make time for their hobbies, and see grandchildren.

Working past 60 can be good for your health

A 2021 study in BMC Public Health found continuing to work past 60 can have positive effects on people's health, as long as their work is fulfilling and low stress. Freelancing can be exactly what you make it, providing the freedom to pick and choose projects, set working hours, and define conditions.

Another 2015 study found people who worked past 65 were around three times more likely to enjoy better health, and half as likely to experience serious health problems.

Freelancing certainly isn't a cure-all, but working beyond 60 can apparently be beneficial when managed well.

Freelancing is a new challenge, which many over-60s are ready for

Many over 60s don't feel like slowing down. Working on satisfying and interesting work projects can improve mental clarity, lead to a more fulfilling life, and foster a sense of identity which can be missing after retirement.

People who are intellectually engaged and actively learning new things have better cognitive health, including improved memory, motor function, and emotional wellbeing.

Freelancing over 60 is a low-risk way to explore new passions (and get paid!)

For someone with no savings and a short CV, freelancing is a scary step. Retirees are the opposite. They have a wealth of working experience, have weathered many storms and changes, are more likely to own their home, and generally have savings and other sources of income through a pension. This is a solid foundation to begin a freelance career with minimal risk.

Over 60s have more freedom to focus on an industry they're passionate about, develop a new, enjoyable skill, or chase fulfilment instead of high day rates. Equally, 'unretirees' can just keep doing what they've always done professionally, but on a part-time, self-employed basis.

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