Starting a Home-Based Business as a Senior: What You Need to Know

Written by Andrea Needham

Image via Pixabay

If you’ve thought about starting your own business during your golden years, you might be worried that it’s too late for you to pursue your dreams. The good news is that more and more people are creating their own companies with many years of experience under their belt. If you’re hesitant, here are some benefits of creating your business as a senior, brought to you by the Bemidji Senior Center.

You Already Have Knowledge

You likely already have knowledge that many others will pay for, along with the experience. Take into account different positions you’ve held, industries you have worked in, and ultimately, what you’d like to do for your business now. Make a list of different business ideas until you find one you like, then consider how your existing skills relate to it. Perhaps you want to go into dog walking, but don’t have experience in the pet field. If you have customer service skills and patience, those qualities can help you run your business effectively. Don’t hold back just because you lack a specific type of experience you think you need.

If you’re lacking knowledge in a particular aspect of running a business, you can find many informative resources online to help guide you through everything. For example, if you have employees, then you should look up a guide that discusses payroll for small businesses. Payroll has a lot of moving parts, and it requires you to handle things like keeping track of financial records, issues accurate paychecks to your workers, and paying your payroll taxes on time. You can outsource payroll using different services and software, but it’s always a good idea to understand how it works — and that goes from every part of your business.

Less Capital Means More Return

One often-overlooked benefit of starting a home-based business is that you won’t spend as much money getting set up as you would with a brick-and-mortar company. Saving money on costs means you don’t need to worry as much about your company if you change your focus or decide to go in a totally different direction. This gives you the chance to try running the business before investing more money in supplies and expenses.

When creating a company, you must decide on whether to form it as a sole proprietorship, an S-corporation, or a limited liability company. For instance, an LLC has many benefits, such as less paperwork, reduced liability, and even certain tax breaks. Every state has different rules around forming an LLC, so it is important to check the requirements before filing an LLC registration.

You Can Work on Your Own Schedule

A home-based business has a significant benefit in that you can work on your schedule. If you prefer to get work done in the morning and have the rest of the day to yourself, you can do it. If you’re starting working at home, it is helpful to develop a routine that works for you. Try to choose a time during the day when you are most productive. That way you are utilizing your time wisely, ensuring your business is able to grow.

As a senior starting your own home-based business, you can enter the market utilizing your previous skills and positions. Working at home usually means there is less money you’ll need to invest in your business office, allowing you to keep more of what you earn. Finally, you can work on a schedule that suits your needs, giving you the chance to focus on the job when you are at your most productive. With these tips in mind, you’ll likely find it easier to get started.

“Balance Builders” New Exercise Class Beginning July 12th

Balance Builders is a new exercise group here at the Senior Center beginning Monday, July 12th  at 11 a.m. The class will be held every Monday and Wednesday for about an hour. The program focuses on building strength and balance.  Exercises are done both seated and standing while using a chair for balance. This is a great way for anyone to stay active, build strength and improve balance.


The Bemidji Senior Center, located at 216 3rd St NW, is holding a rummage and bake sale fundraiser on Saturday, June 19th from 8 AM to 3 PM.  There will be homemade baked goods, tons of craft supplies, household items, books and so much more!  Sale proceeds will be used to support Bemidji Senior Center programs.  Contact 751-8836 for more information.

The Senior Creations gift shop will be open as well from 8 AM to 3PM.

How Seniors Can Plan for a Retirement Lived Partially Abroad

How Seniors Can Plan for a Retirement Lived Partially Abroad

Written by Andrea Needham

Seniors seeking community engagement and access to additional services in the Bemidji area can find plenty of resources and opportunities at the Bemidji Senior Center.

Have you considered spending some of your retirement years abroad? Establishing legal residency in a foreign country is one way to do this. Depending on your obligations, and residency requirements, you may be able to split your time between two different locations. It requires some careful planning, as well as adequate income, but if this option is available to you, there are many benefits to retiring in this way.

Why split your residence?

There are many reasons why you might want to move back and forth between the U.S. and another country. If you are considering permanently relocating to a different country, a trial period with part-time residency can help you decide whether this is the choice for you. If you have health issues that are exacerbated by climate, moving back and forth with the seasons can help you live more comfortably. Plus, your overall wellness may benefit from traveling, experiencing new things, and staying engaged with the world around you.

If you have family members spread out across different countries, you may want to establish living space near more than one loved one — both to enjoy their company and if you need a little extra assistance. The cost of living may be lower in some nations than in others, too.

What do you need to know before you set up a second residence?

Different countries have different regulations regarding residency. For those hoping to attain residency status in the United States, several different options are available. If you intend to work during your retirement, you might qualify for an employment-based green card. Other ways to get residency include marriage to a citizen and sponsorship.

As well as applying to reside legally in a different country, you should read up on tax laws to find out if you will need to pay taxes in both countries of residence. Research health care, as well, so you know whether your plan will cover you internationally or if you need to acquire a separate plan in India, for instance. Finally, research the customs of the new country where you hope to live and evaluate whether you feel you could acclimatize and be comfortable there.

What are some resources that can help you?

If you intend to travel back and forth between dual residences, learn how to bank online through well-known institutions like Charles Schwab and Discover Bank. Have a bank account in each country so you can access funds wherever you are and easily move money between accounts. If you need to transfer money to loved ones, services like Remitly let you wire money securely and cost effectively. For example, if you’re sending funds to friends or family in India, your transfers won’t be subject to a fee if you’re sending over $1,000.

Also, find out what kind of organizations and services exist for seniors in the communities where you intend to reside. For instance, the Lutheran Social Services’s Meals on Wheels program offers nutritious, delicious, and low-cost meals for seniors.

What do you need to include in your retirement budget?

Budgeting for retirement is important, no matter how you intend to spend your time. If you plan on traveling and residing in more than one location, you will need to budget with great care. Be meticulous when detailing future expenses, taking into account such extras as travel costs and added health care expenses. Calculate what you expect your income to be and how much you can reasonably spend per year. Don’t forget to consider whether your financial situation may change as you age. Keep in mind, too, that health care expenses may rise if your needs increase.

Residing abroad for part of the year may be the perfect option for the retiree who wants a little extra adventure, but also enjoys the security of a familiar place. It allows you to travel and explore without undue uncertainty. It can be a great way to maintain valued connections with loved ones, too

Image via Pixabay


A wonderful program in our area is Let’s Go Fishing with Seniors. They have been around for quite a few years and have helped thousands of seniors get back out on the lake to fish or even just take a cruise on the pontoon.

This year the Senior Center was lucky enough to get on the schedule and we have our own dates to take advantage of this free service.

The excursions will be Wednesdays from 10 am to 12 pm the months of June, July, and August.  The pontoon meets at the dock near Paul Bunyan and Babe.

The volunteer guide takes care of everything. Fishing rods, bait, and life jackets are all on board when you get there. You only need your fishing license, sun protection and maybe a snack.  The pontoon is handicap accessible.

We ask that you sign up for just one trip per month.  You can put yourself on the waiting list for other trips during that month in case someone cancels.

Sign up sheets are at the hostess desk.  If you are interested, please call the Center at 751-8836 or stop in at the front desk to sign up.  There is a limited number of spaces available.


The Bemidji Senior Center will have a plant sale and collectible plate/figurine sale on Saturday, June 5th from 10 am to 2 pm at the Senior Center.

There will be a variety of perennial plants for sale and the collectible plates and figurines include:  Norman Rockwell, Hummel, Donald Zolan, Gerda Neubacher and many others.

Volunteers are needed to help set up on Friday, June 4th from 1 pm to 4 pm.  Volunteers are also needed to help the day of the sale from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.  Call the Center at 751-8836 or stop in at the front desk to sign up.

The fundraiser proceeds will be used to support Bemidji Senior Center programs. 


The weekly Thursday afternoon music jam session is back beginning Thursday, June 3rd from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

If you are interested in performing, stop in the Senior Center and visit with Randy, the event’s lead volunteer or call 751-8836. 

Everyone is welcome to attend this much loved event.  There is space to sit and listen to the music or dance if you wish.  Coffee will be available.


Have you ever wanted to learn how to play Mahjong or are you looking for a group to play with?  Beginning Monday, June 7th, Mahjong Mondays are back at the Senior Center! 

Every Monday at 12:30 pm, friends gather together to play this tile based puzzle game. The objective of the game is to collect tiles to form a Mahjong hand.  Players take turns picking one tile from the wall and discarding one tile. When a player picks up a tile that gives a valid Mahjong hand, the player wins.  Not only is the game fun, but research studies have shown that playing Mahjong has a positive impact on memory!

The group has several Mahjong sets and extra cards, so you don’t need to bring anything to start out.  However, if you are interested in playing regularly with the group, you will need to purchase your own card.