Rethinking the Concept of Retirement
As the single largest group of retirement-age workers in the nation’s history, Baby Boomers are reinventing retirement as the continuation of work in a different direction for the pursuit of new challenges, rather than the stoppage of work for the pursuit of leisure. And it’s not just about shifting to jobs in new careers. Many of these “never-grow-old” retirees are leveraging their decades of experience, vast professional networks, and accumulated financial resources to start up their own businesses.
The numbers of these so-called “encore entrepreneurs” are on the rise. Between 1996 and 2012, Americans ages 55 to 64 had a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity than those ages 20 to 34, according to a study by the Kauffman Foundation. The AARP Public Policy Institute’s calculations based on March 2013 U.S. Census data indicate that as of 2012, about 7.7 million self-employed workers are age 50 or older.
If you’re thinking, “Sounds good to me,” and you’ve been an employee for most of your career, you’ll need to adjust your attitudes about what constitutes “work” before you can become your own boss.
- Wearing multiple hats. You’ll be the boss, but also the salesperson, bookkeeper, production worker, and janitor.
- Working long hours. The concept of a 40-hour week goes out the window for most business owners. Sometimes, the commitment is closer to 24/7.
- Receiving inconsistent pay. Profits come only from a successful venture and it might take a while to get the money spigot flowing consistently.
- Adjusting family time. With increased hours spent on the business comes decreased time for friends and family. Everyone, not just you, needs to understand the potential personal sacrifices.