Retirement? We’ve only just started!

BUSINESS WOMEN  Barbara Carter-Dunn (left) with friend and long-standing customer Christine Ramsden.
BUSINESS WOMEN Barbara Carter-Dunn (left) with friend and long-standing customer Christine Ramsden.
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With the state pension age rising and people living longer, more and more women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are still working.

Some retire from their full-time jobs, but take up a different part-time role, and increasing numbers are running their own businesses.

The Government last week appointed economist and independent expert on pension issues, Roz Altmann, as Business Champion for Older Workers.

According to Steve Webb, pensions minister: “Older workers have a huge amount to bring to any workforce and are a vast, untapped talent in the UK labour market.”

And Barbara Carter-Dunn, from Marton, certainly agrees.

She is 73 and runs her own business. Around 11 years ago, she started up as an Avon representative, having retired from full-time work. She said: “I had run my own business for 20 years before retiring. When my husband, Leonard, and I first moved to the area when we retired, there wasn’t an Avon rep.

“I already used and liked Avon products and when a leaflet was pushed through the door asking for Avon reps, I was interested.”

Barbara agrees people are now working later in life and she thinks it is a good idea to have an over-50s working champion.

“I think it’s a good idea – people are working longer these days.

“I think many are just not ready to retire, we are all fitter and healthier into later life now and there is a wealth of experience older people can bring.

“There’s so much older people can offer to the workplace, including communication skills. I am looking forward to seeing what Roz might bring in.”

Barbara cannot imagine not being an Avon rep now, she enjoys it so much. She said: “When I moved to the area, I didn’t know many people who lived here, so being an Avon rep really helped me to get to know my neighbours.

“It’s a good social thing, as it allows me to meet lots of interesting people. I really enjoy it.

“From a money point of view, it does help top up the pension and it’s meant we could pay for holiday extras like trips out and holiday outfits. But it also helps to keep my brain occupied and keep me busy too, which I think are important.”

And Susan Connelly, from Hambleton, gave up her full-time job at the age of 52, in 2011, as a children’s wear buyer, to focus on her business, Heavenly Bakes – producing gluten-free food.

She has worn awards for her baking and regularly visits food fairs with her produce. Now a grandmother-of-three, she said working part-time in her 50s gave her the best of both worlds.

She said: “I am only working part-time, which is one of the joys of working for yourself. This enables me to spend precious time with the grandchildren.”

Having been diagnosed with MS 12 month ago, she has had to make a few changes to make life easier. But she said running her own business meant she make adaptations so she “could carry on working within my limits and take time out to enjoy the important things in life.”