“I have $30,000 in my savings account”: I’m 56, unemployed, and single. She has created products that would cost $20,000 to bring to market. Should I dive into my savings?

Dear Quentin,

I am a 56 year old divorced woman raising four children as a single parent. I made the decision at a young age to have all my children, and have been the sole breadwinner in the family for over 20 years. Now that my children are all grown up, and living their own lives, I have no golden life left to look forward to.

As you might imagine, the past twenty years have been nothing short of rough. I have $30,000 in my savings account, I’m unemployed (and unemployed), and I’m increasingly living off those savings. I survived my years, not because I’m particularly smart, but because I’m so creative (I like to think).

I have been creating two products that require an investment of approximately $20,000 in patent and manufacturing costs. I truly believe these items will sell well in their respective markets, and set me up for success. However, I am very afraid to use this money because that is what I live on. What would be your advice on this? Please help me.

Throughout my life, I’ve missed every opportunity that came my way. I don’t want to be the person who never tried. At my age, I think it would be devastating to grow old and die, not succeeding at something at least once, but if you think it’s an unintelligent choice to use my life’s piggy bank, by itself, I want to know that.

Absolute and inventor

Dear Divorcee and Inventor..

I have raised four children as a single parent. You are We are winner.

The measure of your success in life should not depend on whether or not you get these patents. Nor should it be counted as money in your bank account. Being rich and famous is not a sign of success. The relationships you have in your life and your ability to be kind to others are a good starting and ending point. All that remains is the garnish.

Your letter shows two sides of your self-confidence. You describe yourself as “out of work” – which I doubt – yet you also demonstrate great confidence and belief in your ability to turn those patents into a marketable product. I hope they work, and I commend you for your entrepreneurial spirit. But there is a happier and more stable medium between these two beliefs.

There are other ways to raise money and brand your intellectual property, if that is really required in this case. Finding a job will help you avoid dipping into your savings. It’s great to have $30,000 saved, but this should also be treated as an emergency fund rather than a “last chance” to patent your ideas. Plus, $20,000 seems like a pretty modest amount for what you have in mind.

Contact a patent attorney to find out the cost. result (Service Corp of Retired Executive) or Small Business Administration Small Business Development Centers Office Can offer assistance with your business plan. There are over 1,000 federal grant programs for you to explore. There is of course competition for these scholarships.

You can also find an angel investor for your business idea, but this will come at a cost (a percentage of your business for an agreed amount). That’s why people go to Shark Tank. Again, you can Contact the SBA. After speaking to a patent attorney, you can also reach out to friends, family, and/or crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe to tell your story and raise money.

I would caution against putting money on a credit card, especially since the interest rates are so high and – most importantly – that you have no other source of income. For others with a retirement account like a 401(k), think twice before raiding that, as there will be penalties – and if the product/business doesn’t work out, there’s a huge hole in your retirement savings, too.

In the meantime, You can apply for a provisional patent To protect your idea before speaking about it publicly. this book, “Patent It Yourself: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Registering with the US Patent OfficeIt might work for you, too. But like James Yang, an attorney at OC Patent Lawyer in California, p.ointmentsTo get a high-quality application, you must hire an experienced patent attorney.

As one member of Moneyist’s Facebook Group wrote about creating products: “You have to sell it in stores, brand it and market it, and float it through the whole process. If you can do that (project management, sales, supply chain management, delivery, design) you can Definitely somewhere working and employable.

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

Don’t pin all your dreams on one business idea. Life is much more than that. Ultimately, you need a team. Talk to your children. Tell them about your financial situation. Ask them for their advice. Can they help you find a job? Can they provide you with financial assistance? Do they have insights about your business plan? You are 56. You have already achieved a lot in your life.

Follow Quentin Futrell at Twitter.

You can email any financial or ethical questions related to the coronavirus to The Moneyist at qfottrell@marketwatch.com.

paying off Moneyist’s own Facebook site The group, where we search for answers to life’s toughest financial problems. Readers write to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or consider Moneyist’s latest column.

Moneyist regrets that it cannot respond to questions individually.

More Quentin Fottrell:

She never had enough money: I was adopted by a wealthy family, but my biological grandmother says I need to support her financially – buy her an apartment

My husband and I make $160,000, 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 an income of $225,000. Are we financially secure enough to start a family?

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