Small Business Survey Reveals Baby Boomers Account for 84 Percent of New Businesses

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‘Labor Day spirit remains alive in America.’

To be able to use my 401(k) to invest in myself and to start my own business made everything possible. This was the best business decision I have made in my career.

Just as Labor Day celebrates the work ethic and creativity of American workers, Guidant Financial has found that the American entrepreneurial drive continues to motivate baby boomers into new careers through 401(k) or other retirement fund accounts.

By accessing assets in their retirement accounts through a carefully-designed process, baby boomers and others interested in starting their own businesses can use their 401(k) or other retirement funds to invest in a variety of opportunities, including the purchase of a business or franchise.

Based on a recent survey, Guidant Financial, based in Bellevue, Wash., now has a more complete picture of its baby boomer clients, who have embarked on new careers as entrepreneurs. Based on responses from 1,000 small business owners, the survey results found that 84 percent of new small business owners are between the ages of 40 and 60.

Many baby boomers have suffered huge losses in their retirement savings in the last couple of years. The economy has wiped out millions of dollars in people’s retirement funds and many Americans have seen their livelihoods downsized. This environment has encouraged boomers and given them motivation to consider other options and pursue new opportunities like creating their own small business.

At the age of 53, Matt May of Erie, Penn. decided it was time to start his own business and work for himself. “After spending nearly 25 years managing a family campground, I decided to purchase my own campground using my 401(k) retirement funds,” said May. “To be able to use my 401(k) to invest in myself and to start my own business made everything possible. This was the best business decision I have made in my career.”

It seems that fellow baby boomers share May’s sentiment. 85% of survey respondents in their specific age range believe that purchasing a business with retirement funds, as opposed to debt, was a good decision.

Guidant Financial clients cited in this survey have all taken advantage of the opportunities available through a 401(k) rollover. With this investment option, conscientious contributors to healthy company 401(k)s can access their hard-earned money to make it work for them without incurring distribution penalties. These funds can then be accessed before the “official” retirement age of 59 1/2.

“It is an easy process and I am just thrilled about the outcome,” said David Lester, Fayetteville, Ark., a former car sales manager who became the only miniature golf course owner in Benton County. “In the current economy, many people are being forced to re-evaluate the way they finance business ventures. The Guidant 401(k) iFinance structure gave me the ability to do what I wanted to do with my life for the next 20 years.”

Helping Clients Achieve their Goals
While the economy is shrinking, Guidant’s clients have started a range of businesses that include a miniature golf course, manufacturing custom aluminum cases, an auto body shop, an Indian restaurant, a vehicle advertising business, a tanning salon, a pasta manufacturer, a mobile wheel rim business and a campground.

“The variety of businesses our clients have opened is almost unlimited and shows the creativity and adaptability of Americans, who are acting as business owners and making daily decisions on their own behalf,” according to David Nilssen, who co-founded Guidant Financial in 2003 with Jeremy Ames.

Nilssen and Ames founded Guidant Financial to help owners of IRAs or 401(k)s buy or start a new business without incurring IRS penalties for re-directing their 401(k) retirement accounts. “We found that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and other legal codes allow individuals to self-direct their retirement funds into a variety of investment opportunities, including the purchase of a business or franchise,” Nilssen says.

As an example, assume a person has $100,000 in a 401(k). Guidant Financial assists clients in establishing a new corporation based on the client’s own self-directed plan. Guidant clients then direct the plan to buy shares in their new venture. Guidant represents more than 7,000 customers in all 50 states and has become a market leader in this niche industry of assisting individuals, who want to take more control over investment opportunities their 401(k) s assets can fund.

About Guidant Financial
Guidant Financial is the premier provider of rollovers as business start-ups (ROBS). Guidant's services allow aspiring entrepreneurs the freedom to invest their existing IRA or 401(k) funds into a small business or franchise without taking a taxable distribution or getting a loan, in addition to offering traditional funding options. The company helps people create the life they want. For more information on Small Business Financing, visit Guidant online at, or

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Aaron Blank
For Guidant Financial
(206) 343-1543
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Brendan Hughes
For Guidant Financial
(206) 343-1543
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