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It's A Booming Time For Business
The first wave of Baby Boomers turned 60 this year and as many approach the traditional retirement age of 65 they are finding that (a) they are still vibrant and don' t want to stop working; and/or (b) their life expectancy has been extended and they will be dead broke long before they are dead and gone.
I talked to "Boomer Expert" John Howe, 63, of Dallas, TX, who has started an organization designed to assist Baby Boomers who want to learn more about entrepreneurship and making their older years more fulfilling and profitable. Howe publishes the weekly electronic magazine for Boomers found at Boomer-Ezine.com. I asked: How are boomer entrepreneurs different from younger entrepreneurs?
"Boomers have the benefit of the lessons that many bumps and scars of life taught them," Howe said. "They are more conservative than the younger group. Patience is a trait that one learns with age. When we are young, we tend to shoot from the hip a lot. A little age teaches you to take aim and fire.
"Boomers also have more money to invest in their venture than the younger group, but the fact that this money is from retirement savings makes a Boomer conservative. The Boomer will study the opportunity and do a lot more homework before jumping in."
Howe makes a good point. Boomers are more careful with their money because they have less time to rebuild their fortune than someone who goes belly up at 25. I asked Howe why he thought so many Boomers were starting businesses. Was it out of desperation and need or because they enjoy the challenge?
Howe responded, "I believe it is a mix of all of these. It also depends on the person. A major concern is that modern medicine will make us live longer and we will outlive our savings. When we started saving 30 years ago, many planned savings for living a shorter time that we are now projected to live."
And why are so many boomers now looking at entrepreneurship as a way to supplement their retirement income?
"Some, like myself, cannot think about not having a challenge to wake up to everyday," said Howe. "Sitting around without a definite direction is not my idea of retirement. I am also not doing this for free so it is also profit motivated. We Boomers made a lot of money over the course of our lives, but many lived for the moment and did not plan for retirement like they should have, or they suffered in the stock market downturn and lost a considerable amount of their savings."
In the end, Howe believes, the decision by Baby Boomers to start a business comes down to energy and economics. "If the desire and finances are there, there is no reason someone over 60 should not consider becoming an entrepreneur."
If you're a Booomer interested in starting your own business you can contact John Howe at Boomer-Ezine.com.
About the Author: From "Small Business Q&A" With Tim Knox