‘I actually have $30K in my savings account’: I’m 56, divorced, unemployed and mother to 4 adult children. I invented products that can cost $20K to bring to market. Should I take advantage of my savings?

Dear Quentin,

I’m a 56-year-old divorced woman who has raised 4 children as a single parent. I made the choice at a young age to present birth to all of my children, and I used to be the only provider for the family for over 20 years. Now, after my children are all grown, living their very own lives, I’m left with no golden life to look ahead to. 

As chances are you’ll imagine, the past 20-something years were nothing in need of rough. I actually have $30,000 in my savings account, I’m unemployed (and unemployable), and living incrementally off those savings. I actually have survived my years, not particularly because I’m smart, but because I’m very creative (I wish to think). 

I actually have been creating two products that require an investment of about $20,000 for patents and manufacturing costs. I actually imagine that these things will sell well of their marketplaces, and set me up for achievement. Nonetheless, I’m so afraid to make use of that cash because that’s what I live to tell the tale. What would your advice be on this? Please help me. 

All of my life, I’ve missed out on every opportunity that got here my way. I don’t wish to be the one that never tried. At my age, I imagine it might be devastating to only become old and die, not having succeeded at something no less than once, but in the event you think it’s an unintelligent alternative to make use of my life’s piggy bank, per se, I need to understand it. 

Divorcée & Inventor 

Dear Divorcée & Inventor,

You’ve raised 4 children as a single parent. You are a winner.

Measuring your success in life shouldn’t be depending on whether you get these patents off the bottom. Nor should or not it’s calculated by the cash in your checking account. Being wealthy and famous shouldn’t be a marker of success. The relationships you might have in your life and your ability to be kind to other individuals are starting and ending point. All the remainder is garnish.

Your letter shows two sides of your self-esteem. You describe yourself as “unemployable” — something I doubt — and yet you furthermore mght show great confidence and belief in your ability 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 medium between these two beliefs. 

There are other ways to boost money and trademark your ideas. I urge you to seek out some form of job that might help prevent you from dipping into your savings, even when it’s part-time. It’s great that you might have $30,000 saved, but this also needs to be treated as an emergency fund slightly than a “last-chance saloon” on your patent ideas. Plus, $20,000 seems like a really modest sum for what you might have in mind.

Contact a patent attorney to learn the way much it might cost to trademark your ideas. SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executive) or the Small Business Administration’s Office of Small Business Development Centers can provide management assistance. There are over 1,000 federal grant programs you possibly can explore. There may be, in fact, competition for these grants. 

You would also find an angel investor for your enterprise idea, but that can include a price (a percentage of your enterprise for an agreed sum). That’s why people go on Shark Tank. Again, you possibly can contact the SBA. After talking to a patent attorney, you would also reach out to family and friends, and/or crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe to inform your story, and lift funds.

I caution against putting money on a bank card, especially on condition that rates of interest are so high and — crucially — you might have no other source of income. For others who’ve a retirement account like a 401(k), think twice before raiding that, as there will probably be penalties — and if the product/business doesn’t work out, there will probably be an enormous hole in your retirement savings too.

As one member of the Moneyist’s Facebook Group wrote about creating products: “You’ve to HUSTLE, sell them into stores, brand and market them, baby them through the entire process. In the event you can do that (project management, sales, supply-chain management, delivery, design) you possibly can actually 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 an identical product, project manager) and save up the $20,000 to launch your products?” she added. “Even great ideas fail with the perfect behind them, in the event you are serious about starting an organization it’s essential get back into the working world first.”

Don’t hang all of your dreams on one business idea. Life is a lot larger than that. Ultimately, you would like a team. Discuss with your kids. Tell them about your financial situation. Ask them for his or her advice. Can they allow you to discover a job? Can they give you financial assistance? Have they got insights into your enterprise plan? You’re 56. You’ve achieved so much in your life already.

Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

You’ll be able to email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at qfottrell@marketwatch.com.

Try the Moneyist private Facebook group, where we search for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write to me with all forms of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you desire to know more about, or weigh in on the newest Moneyist columns.

The Moneyist regrets he cannot reply to questions individually.

More from Quentin Fottrell:

She never has enough money’: I used to be adopted by a wealthy family, but my biological grandma says I would like 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 actually have a $1.2 million real-estate portfolio, and $225,000 in income. Are we financially secure enough to begin a family?

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