More Baby Boomers Are Becoming Entrepreneurs (And Here’s Why)

Baby Boomers Are New Entrepreneurs by R. Kirk Huntsman

For most Baby Boomers, retirement is no longer a “sit back while drinking lemonade and  watching gameshows and taking naps” period of life. Rather, retirement is a Second Act (or a Third, Fourth or Umpteenth Act as it were).

Nothing makes this clearer than a recent stat showing that baby boomers are actually twice as likely as millennials to start their own businesses.

In an article for Philadelphia Magazine earlier this year, writer Jared Shelly takes a look at the various factors influencing the trend. As it turns out, there are many reasons that Baby Boomer are turning to entrepreneurship in so-called retirement.

Longer Lifespans

Average lifespans in developed countries have increased from approximately 50 years to more than 75 years, writes Shelly. While older age can seem like a factor that works against you in the traditional job market, it’s a plus in the entrepreneurial world.

In an interview with the University of Virginia, Jeff Williams a business coach for entrepreneurial Baby Boomers, says that customers and clients are always looking to pay for expertise, experience, and wisdom—all of which Baby Boomers have in spades.

Not only do Boomer entrepreneurs have the experience that comes with time on their side, they also have the extensive networks that come with have long careers. Williams says his average client, at about 57 years old, has over 2,000 people in their LinkedIn network. Professional networks can translate into customers and/or customer leads.

Financial Need

Many of Williams’ clients cite wanting to earn extra income as a motivation for starting a business later in life. Which is understandable, as Shelly’s article points out that a Pew Charitable Trusts study revealed: “the baby boomer generation lost between 25 and 28 percent of their median net worth during the recession.”

The Desire to Work (and to Keep Working) On Their Own Terms

“Boomer entrepreneurs have a very different perspective starting out,” says Williams in the UVA article.  “A 25-year-old entrepreneur thinks they may be Mark Zuckerberg. A 55-year-old has no such thoughts. They want to keep working into their 60s, doing work they enjoy on a flexible schedule and making some nice income to supplement their retirement earnings.”

The Pursuit of Passion & Purpose

What better time than your 50s, 60s and beyond to finally answer this meaning-of-life questions like, “What drives me?” and “What big idea have I always wanted to roll up my sleeves and execute?” Age doesn’t disqualify you from the game of life and making good on your longtime goals or your new dreams. What better time to build an entrepreneurial enterprise around your knowledge and lingering ambitions. Who says you have to call it quits?