Revenge of the Baby Boomers: Changing the Face of Retirement

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A bold new wave of baby boomer entrepreneurs are trading in their "golden years" to create new opportunities and start exciting businesses.

Remember when the thought of retirement conjured up images of trips to a warm climate, outings with the grandkids, or endless days of golf? Retirement used to be known as that time when one slowed down to stop and smell the proverbial roses. However, this image is rapidly changing thanks to a bold new wave of Baby Boomers, who have no intention of pulling up their rocking chairs as they enter the golden years of their supposed retirement.

While it may be that Baby Boomers will work beyond the mandatory retirement age of 65 out of necessity, there are a surprisingly large number of Boomers who, upon facing retirement, will “choose” to be employed in some new way, shape, or form. Statistically, Boomers are a group of educated, bright, intellectually savvy, individuals, and currently, many of them are starting businesses.

As they enter the entrepreneurial world for the first time, many Boomers are discovering that their best client/s might be the organizations for whom they previously worked, who are now willing to pay for their expertise on an outsourced basis. Others are discovering it is a prime time to start over and do something they might have always wanted to do, but either didn’t have the time for in the past, or who wouldn’t take the risk while they were raising their families.

The Boomer facts speak for themselves:

·    Boomers are better educated than previous generations

·    Boomers are much more ready, willing, and able to take on the challenges of continued employment in a diverse work environment

·    30% of leading edge Boomers, aged 55-59, have a bachelor’s degree or higher, which is up 25% from just six years ago, according to Census Bureau statistics.

·    Aging Boomers, as well as those who are now in their 60’s and 70’s, have also shown a propensity to continue their education. The latest statistics from the Department of Education show that the number of Americans between the ages of 45 and 69 enrolled in adult education classes increased 23%, from 22.6 million in 1995 to 27.9 million in 1999.

·    Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show t

hat the number of Americans 55 to 64 categorized as self-employed in non-agricultural industries has increased 29%, from 1,434,000 in July, 2000, to 1,846,000 as of July, 2005. The number of self-employed 65 and older has grown 18%, from 641,000 in 2000 to its current level of 756,000.

·    The largest number of self-employed workers is represented by late Boomers – those 45 to 54 years-olds who make up nearly 2.6 million, or 27%, of the nation’s 9.6 million self-employed.

·    Boomer-and-older entrepreneurs now account for 54 percent of self-employed workers, which is up from 48.5 percent in 2000.

While self-employment was expanding among Boomers and older workers, it was stagnant or falling for almost every other age group. The biggest group of self-employed workers in 2000 were the 35-44 year olds, who numbered 2,790,000. Currently, their numbers have fallen 15 percent to 2,359,000, while self-employment has risen by only 1% among the 25-34 year olds.

Don’t ever underestimate this generation’s impact on changing the face of retirement. There are approximately 76 million Baby Boomers who were born after World War II, between the years of 1946 and 1964. Boomers represent the single largest demographic group in the USA. Boomers are a part of the future - and they can have a profound impact on the economy – both from the perspective of new job creation and by the decreased tax burden that they represent to the labor force; not to mention the self-satisfaction they can achieve by doing something that is exciting, motivating, and rewarding.

(Sources: Dept. of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.)

Kathy Szpakowski, is a Baby Boomer, author, speaker, radio personality, trainer, consultant, business coach, and successful business owner, who understands how people of all ages work and live, what they value, what motivates them, and ultimately, what makes them tick. For a free self-evaluation and other free eLearning opportunities, visit: http://www.AchieversLibrary.com/FreeStuff.htm.

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Kathy Szpakowski