This is a path that many experts recommend against. “The first thing we tell people is absolutely not to tap into their retirement account,” said Elizabeth Isele, the founder and chief executive of the Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship. Though Ms. Edwards is younger than the entrepreneurs over age 50 the institute is devoted to, Ms. Isele is wary of any risk to a secure retirement.

“One of the sad statistics out there is that so few people have any retirement savings,” she said. According to the New School’s Retirement Equity Lab, 36 percent of 35- to 54-year-old Americans have no retirement savings. At the time of her launch, Ms. Edwards fell into the category of the 43 percent who had less than $10,000 saved. “They’re vulnerable,” Ms. Isele added. “Women especially are in a deplorable position.”

Instead of tapping retirement funds, the institute advises…

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