Baby Boomers Pursue Entrepreneurship In Lieu Of Retirement
BY: VIKAS AGRAWAL ON WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2017
The Kauffman Foundation’s 2016 Startup Index revealed a surprising statistic: those aged 55 to 64 made up 24.3% of new entrepreneurs. To compare, the millennial generation, known for its innovation and enterprise, accounted for 25%. There was another twist. Boomers starting businesses are increasing, while Generation Y members delving into entrepreneurship are declining.
Following the emergence of trends like the gig economy and multi-hyphenated workers, a new movement is causing a ripple. The older adults are not that keen to retire. They want to do more with their money, time, and energy. And a startup founder or investor is among their top second or third career choice. Here, we’ll take a look at 7 of the reasons seniorpreneurs are rising fast.
They have more capital than other age groups
Baby boomers have more access to liquid assets than Gen X-ers and millennials. Their investment strategy included retirement savings, which they can now reinvest in a startup. Further, they are more likely to secure approval for loans, including small business loans. The approval rate for the 50 to 59 group is 26%. Those 60 and above enjoy 30%. For comparison, the batting average for millennials within the 20 to 29 range is 9%. Those aged 30 to 39 reach 16%. But there’s more! Boomers also get access to better rates and terms. Accumulating decades is not at all bad if that’s what it takes to build a good credit score.
They possess experience in many areas of entrepreneurship
Given that we are referring to seniors with respective pension funds, then we can assume they each have a background in working for a company. Some spent long years managing people, finances, or another aspect of a business operation. When factored in, their wealth of experience can help them navigate treacherous waters such as how to acquire capital, how to deal with a crisis, or how to make an educated guess.
Some build a business to accommodate their lifestyle choices
The owners of Pedego, a US-based electric bike maker, launched their business while they were in their early 50s. They have entrusted the distribution of their products to dealers who belong to the AARP group. Some store owners started as consumers. The majority are semi-retirees or retirees. And they created their business based on a lifestyle choice, which is buying a bike for increased mobility in old age.
Some tap into their wide network for support
Past and present connections make it possible for boomers to achieve their entrepreneurial objectives. They have their colleagues and peers to help them source talent and leads. For leadership and career transition, they can also turn to consulting groups led by fellow boomers. For instance, Gail Meneley co-founded Shields Meneley Partners to help people make the transition into the next stage of their career. For some of the firm’s clients, this move means becoming an entrepreneur. With a team of advisors who have held top leadership roles with operational and profit and loss responsibilities, Meneley and partners provide boomers with boardroom knowhow as well as access to their networks.
They do not want to retire — they want to evolve
Times have changed, and so have the boomers. It seems the media and popular culture have painted an incomplete picture of the elders. They no longer envision themselves sitting idly by in nursing homes. They do not want to retire and spend the rest of their lives detached from society. The 60 and up group, in particular, are more than willing to get involved in making the economy grow.
They think younger
Innovative and out-of-the-box are words society uses to describe savvy millennial entrepreneurs. However, that does not mean boomers are actually averse to technology and are stuck in using legacy systems. After all, we are talking about boomers starting a business from the mobile revolution perspective. Some of them chose this path exactly because they can keep their minds and body busy while staying close to their family. Such is the gift of the internet to every generation.
They make better decisions
Wearing silver hair is a sign of having gained wisdom through the ages. It may be because of this belief that they are invited to chair or sit on a company’s board. But even if the leadership seeks their advice, the younger executives are left to manage the daily activities of the business. But that is already changing. Imagine what society can accomplish if we can tap into the boomers’ collective knowledge and wisdom.
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