There is one way to avoid outliving your money: Work longer, on your own terms.
You may not want to or be able to retire at 65 or 67, but so what. If you're doing work you enjoy in your own business, setting your own schedule, fulfilling goals you've set yourself—it may not even feel like work. Pursuing their professional dreams while working for themselves has enabled many older self-employed workers to secure their financial future.
A recent survey by AARP found 10 percent of workers ages 45 to 74 plan to start a business and 15 percent workers in this age range are already self-employed. Some start a business due to a job loss, others had already retired but weren't ready to fully stop working. On average, self-employed workers in their 40s or 50s may spend nearly two decades working for themselves, the AARP study found.
Mary Parker, a 59-year-old entrepreneur, spent more than three decades navigating two challenging industries before taking the helm of her own firm. After she was downsized from her job at an auto manufacturing plant early in her career, Parker saw a job opening for a security officer.
Some people may have seen that as a step down from the managerial role she had held previously, but she saw the long-term potential of the position and began learning the business from the ground up.
"In terms of career opportunities. You never really think about a security guard being anything other than a guard. What I learned was the security industry is a very lucrative industry," she said.
While rising through the ranks, Parker thought she would be most fulfilled running her own firm.
"Although my career in corporate America was very successful," she said, "I just believe that any time you work for other people there are so many limitations."
Like many the self-employed, Parker focused on providing a service. In 2001, she founded ALL(n)1 Security Services, based in Atlanta, which provides security personnel and technology. As CEO, she runs a multimillion-dollar enterprise with more than 200 employees.