Tuesday, 9 October 2018

How to Fund Your Retirement Passion Project

“Retirement" no longer means relaxing by the beach or playing golf every day for 20 years. For increasing numbers of 50-, 60- and 70-somethings, retirement is the stage of life when you're finally able to start that business, build that invention, create that nonprofit, or undertake that project you've never had time to do before. Many people who have led successful careers still feel like they haven't satisfied their itch to do something creative or make a difference in the world around them.

But if you've retired from full-time work and living on your retirement funds, finding the money to launch your passion project may be a little tricky. That doesn't mean it's not doable; you may just need to get creative to amass the funds you need. Remember, you have a lifetime's worth of experience and contacts: Use them.

Here are six ways to fund your retirement passion project.

Tap your network. If you've reached retirement age, you've probably spent years building a network of professional and personal contacts. Use social media to stay in contact with them, or remain active in social or community groups, and keep your network posted about your plans. It's likely there are people you already know who are willing to contribute to your project, help you raise money, or offer discounts on services you need to complete your project. For instance, do you want to stage your city's first marathon? Your business owner contacts may be willing to purchase sponsorships,  print t-shirts, and help with marketing.

Consider crowdfunding. Growing numbers of people are interested in investing in startup companies, and crowdfunding sites offer opportunities for them to invest (and for passionate founders like you to obtain funds). If your passion project will earn money and you're willing to take on investors, look into sites like Kickstarter, Hip Give and Inventurex. Share your story and your plans, and you just might build the funds you need.

Earn extra income. Don't want to owe money to investors once your project takes off? You can always bootstrap your own project by earning extra income to cover it. Consider taking a traditional part-time job or doing flexible work such as driving for Uber or Lyft, handling simple tasks for others with Task Rabbit or walking dogs for your neighbors.

Sell your stuff. There's nothing more freeing than cleaning out your closets and garage and getting rid of all the items you no longer want or need. Rather than giving them away or tossing them in the trash, post them on Craigslist or local sale sites, or hold a traditional garage sale. You may be surprised how much cash you can earn while ridding your home of clutter.

Start small. If your passion project is something that will eventually produce income, you may be able to start small, obtaining a few paying customers now and allowing that income to fund further growth. For instance, if you're a photographer or painter interested in selling your work, post some of your art online or in a local gallery. Once it sells, use use that money to purchase supplies for your next project or to expand.

Apply for a grant or loan. Government organizations and nonprofit institutions often award grants, or free sums of money, to support cultural, research or community service projects. If your passion project will improve your community or provide a service, you may qualify for grant funding. Search websites like Grants.gov for government grants and Foundation Directory Online for nonprofit grants. Because there's often stiff competition for grant money, be sure to closely follow all directions in applying for a grant, and be specific in responding to the questions about how your project will be completed and its expected results. If you don't win the first grant, keep trying! If your passion project is a new business, you may qualify for an affordable business loan. A number of lenders, including the Small Business Administration, offer loans for small business owners with affordable rates. 

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