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‘I have $30,000 in my savings account’: I’m 56, unemployed and single. I invented products that will cost $20,000 to bring to market. Should I dip into my savings?

Dear Quentin,

I’m a 56-year-old divorced lady who has raised 4 kids as a single dad or mum. I made the choice at a younger age to provide start to all of my kids, and I used to be the only real supplier for the household for over 20 years. Now, after my kids are all grown, residing their very own lives, I’m left with no golden life to stay up for. 

As you could think about, the previous 20-something years had been nothing wanting tough. I’ve $30,000 in my financial savings account, I’m unemployed (and unemployable), and residing incrementally off these financial savings. I’ve survived my years, not significantly as a result of I’m sensible, however as a result of I’m very inventive (I prefer to assume). 

I’ve been creating two merchandise that require an funding of about $20,000 for patents and manufacturing prices. I really imagine that this stuff will promote properly of their marketplaces, and set me up for achievement. However, I’m so afraid to make use of that cash as a result of that’s what I reside on. What would your recommendation be on this? Please assist me. 

All of my life, I’ve missed out on each alternative that got here my method. I don’t wish to be the one that by no means tried. At my age, I imagine it will be devastating to only develop outdated and die, not having succeeded at one thing a minimum of as soon as, however should you assume it’s an unintelligent alternative to make use of my life’s piggy financial institution, per se, I wish to realize it. 

Divorcée & Inventor 

Dear Divorcée & Inventor,

You have raised 4 kids as a single dad or mum. You are a winner.

Measuring your success in life shouldn’t be depending on whether or not you get these patents off the bottom. Nor ought to it’s calculated by the cash in your checking account. Being wealthy and well-known isn’t a marker of success. The relationships you might have in your life and your potential to be type to different persons are beginning and ending level. All the remainder is garnish.

Your letter reveals two sides of your shallowness. You describe your self as “unemployable” — one thing I doubt — and but you additionally present nice confidence and perception in your potential to show these patents right into a marketable product. I hope they work, and I commend you in your entrepreneurial spirit. But there’s a happier, steadier medium between these two beliefs. 

There are different methods to boost cash and trademark your mental property, if that’s certainly required on this case. Finding a job would allow you to keep away from dipping into your financial savings. It’s nice that you’ve got $30,000 saved, however this must also be handled as an emergency fund slightly than a “last-chance saloon” in your patent concepts. Plus, $20,000 appears like a really modest sum for what you take into account.

Contact a patent legal professional to learn how a lot it will value. SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executive) or the Small Business Administration’s Office of Small Business Development Centers can present help along with your marketing strategy. There are over 1,000 federal grant packages you possibly can discover. There is, in fact, competitors for these grants. 

You may additionally discover an angel investor for your online business thought, however that may include a price (a share of your online business for an agreed sum). That’s why folks go on Shark Tank. Again, you possibly can contact the SBA. After speaking to a patent legal professional, you can additionally attain out to family and friends, and/or crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe to inform your story, and lift funds.

I warning towards placing cash on a bank card, particularly on condition that rates of interest are so excessive and — crucially — you don’t have any different supply of revenue. For others who’ve a retirement account like a 401(ok), assume twice earlier than raiding that, as there shall be penalties — and if the product/enterprise doesn’t work out, there shall be an enormous gap in your retirement financial savings too.

In the meantime, you can file for a provisional patent to guard your thought earlier than you discuss it publicly. This guide, “Patent It Yourself: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Filing at the U.S. Patent Office,” may be useful for you. But as James Yang, an legal professional at OC Patent Lawyer in California points out, “For a higher-quality application, you should hire an experienced patent attorney. “

As one member of the Moneyist’s Facebook Group wrote about creating products: “You have to HUSTLE, sell them into stores, brand and market them, baby them through the whole process. If you can do this (project management, sales, supply-chain management, delivery, design) you can certainly work somewhere and are employable.

“Why not get a job that helps you develop these skills (working in a trade show/brand ambassador, delivery for a similar product, project manager) and save up the $20,000 to launch your products?” she added. “Even great ideas fail with the very best behind them, if you are serious about starting a company you need to get back into the working world first.”

Don’t dangle all of your desires on one enterprise thought. Life is a lot larger than that. Ultimately, you want a crew. Talk to your kids. Tell them about your monetary state of affairs. Ask them for his or her recommendation. Can they allow you to discover a job? Can they offer you monetary help? Do they’ve insights into your marketing strategy? You’re 56. You’ve achieved lots in your life already.

Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

You can e-mail The Moneyist with any monetary and moral questions associated to coronavirus at [email protected]

Check out the Moneyist private Facebook group, the place we search for solutions to life’s thorniest cash points. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, inform me what you wish to know extra about, or weigh in on the newest Moneyist columns.

The Moneyist regrets he can’t reply to questions individually.

More from Quentin Fottrell:

She never has enough money’: I was adopted by a wealthy family, but my biological grandma says I need to financially support her — and buy her a condo

My husband and I earn $160K, have $1 million in retirement savings, cook at home and drive an old Honda. Are we missing out? 

‘I grew up poor’: My wife and I have a $1.2 million real-estate portfolio, and $225,000 in income. Are we financially secure enough to start a family?



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