• Baby Boomer Transitions - Entrepreneurship Instead of Retirement
  • February 12, 2014 | Author: Susan E. Wells
  • Law Firm: Jaburg & Wilk, P.C. - Phoenix Office
  • As a baby boomer, you may be at a point that you are considering the next phase of your life. Not ready to retire? Join the crowd. In 2012, adults aged between 55 and 64 comprised 23.4% of all U.S. entrepreneurs (in comparison with only 14.3% in 1996).

    Although baby boomers may be pushed towards retirement by employers, colleagues, friends, family and the media, the thought of retirement for the duration of their lives is not only unappealing, but is also depressing. Only 14% of baby boomers say retirement is a time to "retire and enjoy a well-deserved rest, take it easy, pursue leisure activities and take care of myself," according to a report by encore.org. For many baby boomers, the next chapter of their lives represents an exciting opportunity to pursue a passion or leave a legacy.

    Among my clients are a man who retired from Corporate America to start a graphic design and printing business with his 30-something daughter, a man who ran and consulted with state mental health systems who bought two assisted living centers and changed their management style to empower their elderly residents, a woman who was a former managed healthcare CEO and director of a state Medicaid program who utilized her expertise to consult with choice clients, and a man who started multiple franchised waxing salon businesses with his 30-something son as a side business prior to retirement.

    Baby boomer entrepreneurs frequently possess several advantages over younger entrepreneurs:

    • We have significant skills and a wealth of experience
    • We have credibility
    • We have financial resources
    • We have a broad network of colleagues and friends who can serve as valuable resources or sources of support
    • We know our strengths and our weaknesses

    The following resources may inspire you and foster your creative thought process:

    The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life, Marci Alboher (December 18, 2012)
    Entrepreneur.com (including http://www.entrepreneur.com/topic/baby-boomers)

    “The Case for a Midlife ‘Gap’ Year,” The Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2013 (online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304644104579191934045949914)

    “The Hot New Career of Idea Entrepreneur: What it is and How to Become One,” Forbes, June 10, 2013 (http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2013/06/10/the-hot-new-career-of-idea-entrepreneur-what-it-is-and-how-to-become-one/)

    There is a wealth of resources available to assist in making the transition to becoming an entrepreneur, including SCORE, SBA, encore.org and a number of community college entrepreneur courses devoted to the 50+ population.

    The media continuously reports that baby boomers are redefining aging and retirement. That's not surprising, as we have redefined virtually every stage and aspect of American life throughout the years. Although swimming in uncharted waters can be a frightening thought, the prospect of finally pursuing a passion or leaving a legacy, with new opportunities and challenges, can be exciting, rewarding and keep us active and engaged. The best is yet to come!

    About the Author: Susan E. Wells is a partner at the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg Wilk. Her corporate and business practice encompasses all aspects of business matters and commercial relationships in numerous industries, including franchising. She has extensive experience representing both buyers and sellers.