Articles

The State of Boomer Independents
MBO Partners | April 2, 2012

Against the grim backdrop of the Great Recession, recent growth in the
independent workforce brings light and hope to the economic stage. Boomer
independents, in particular, demonstrate a compelling case for the power of new
independent work models in America.

While the past few years have been fraught with financial uncertainties for many
in the Baby Boomer generation, there are a significant number who have found
this period to be a time of opportunity. They have, in effect, chosen to take charge
of their lives by working independently. And, contrary to the popular view of
these experienced professionals being tossed aside by employers and finding few
other work options besides self-employment, most boomers choose this path to
independence, like it and expect to continue in it for a long time to come. What’s
more, they tend to be more satisfied and earn a higher income than their younger
counterparts working independently.

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Starting Over at 55
New York Times | March 3, 2010

AFTER 24 years as a marketing manager for Coors, Cinde Dolphin knew what was coming — Miller and Coors had just merged their United States beer operations, and hundreds of jobs were sure to be eliminated.

Worried that these youth-oriented companies might lay off an old-timer like her, Ms. Dolphin decided to take a buyout and relax. She sunned on the beaches of New Zealand, went whitewater rafting on the Yampa River in Colorado and saw friends and Broadway shows in New York.

But after a few months, she realized that she missed working. So at age 55, she began applying for marketing jobs, confident she would be quickly hired because of her Coors pedigree. “About four months into my job search, I realized I wasn’t getting many callbacks,” she said.

A Sacramento resident who has survived three bouts with cancer, Ms. Dolphin is not one to give up easily. She decided on an alternate tack — she would start her own business and thus join the nation’s fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs, those age 55 and above.

Mining her decades of experience, she created a marketing and public relations firm that helps California winemakers get their message out through FacebookTwitter and other social media.

“I’m having a ball,” she said. “I can set up my own hours and work schedule, and do other things I enjoy.”

More than five million Americans age 55 or older run their own businesses or are otherwise self-employed, according to the Small Business Administration. And the number of self-employed people ages 55 to 64 is soaring, the agency says, climbing 52 percent from 2000 to 2007.
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Should We Worry About Older Entrepreneurs?
SmallBizTrends.com | May 17, 2010

It is doubtless true that in today’s economic environment, some entrepreneurs of all ages have chosen to start businesses because they were laid off and couldn’t find new jobs. However, the data don’t indicate that the high level of entrepreneurial activity among those over 55 can be attributed primarily to recent high levels of job loss. As Dane Stangler explained in a report he wrote for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, “In every single year from 1996 to 2007, Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 had a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity than those aged 20-34.” That is, boom or bust – and we have seen several of each since the mid-1990s – older Americans are more likely to run their own businesses than younger ones.
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Retirement Entrepreneurs
Slate.com | March 24, 2011

When you move to a place called Leisure World, it’s almost as if there is a mandate to relax, take up a hobby, putter around the golf course, or try your hand at shuffleboard. Certainly, for many of the 8,500 residents of Leisure World, an over-55 age-restricted community in Silver Spring, Maryland, leaving the demands of work behind is a primary reason to move there. But others have come to realize that their fellow residents, living within a ring of guard houses, are actually a captive market. These people may have come to Leisure World to retire, but once there an entrepreneurial drive propelled them to embark on a second (or third, or fourth) career.
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More Older Americans Start Their Own Business
USA Today | May 25, 2010

Folks 55 to 64 represented the second-largest jump in entrepreneurial activity by age (just behind 35- to 44-year-olds) from 2008 to 2009, according to an Index of Entrepreneurial Activity released last week by entrepreneur-focused group Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Other studies, such as a recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, as well as data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), also show an uptick in older folks becoming their own bosses.

The number of self-employed Americans rose to 8.9 million in December 2009, up from 8.7 million a year earlier, according to BLS data provided by outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. Self-employment among those 55 to 64 hit nearly 2 million, a 5% rise from the prior year. Self-employment for those 65 and older hit 939,000 — a 29% increase.

The rise has been fueled by factors such as the tidal wave of Baby Boomers who don’t want to stop working, economic necessity triggered by the recession, and the rise in longevity, says Dane Stangler, a research manager at Kauffman.
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Oldest Baby Boomers Face a Jobs Bust
Wall Street Journal | December 19, 2011

Many older Americans fear they will be working well into their 60s because they didn’t save enough to retire. Millions more wish they were that lucky: Without full-time jobs, they are short of money and afraid of what lies ahead.

Deborah Kallick was a professor of biomedical chemistry at the University of Minnesota until she ventured into the private sector in 2000 with a job in genome research. She is now one of more than four million Americans aged 55 to 64 who can’t find full-time work. That number has nearly doubled in five years, according to U.S. Department of …
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Longer Life was the Century’s Greatest Gift
Bloomberg Businessweek | January 31, 2000

At a New Year’s Eve party, I asked our guests to name the major development of the 20th century. They had several excellent candidates, including the rise and fall of communism, the growth of democracy, and the advent of computers. But I believe none benefited the ordinary person more than the extending of life expectancy.
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Eighty is the New Fifty
Newsweek | June 7, 2008

Have you noticed that CNBC is dominated by frisky septuagenarians? Last Wednesday, Carl Icahn, the 72-year-old corporate raider turned hedge-fund manager/ shareholder activist, was terrorizing the whippersnappers at Yahoo, accusing the executive team of foolishly torpedoing a merger with Microsoft. The day before, the network aired testimony of legendary trader George Soros, 77, who was lecturing Congress on the oil spike. Earlier in the month, Warren Buffett’s annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting, known as Woodstock for Capitalists—with Buffett, 77, strumming a ukulele rather than Jimi Hendrix wailing the national anthem—received blanket coverage. Kirk Kerkorian, 91, who amassed big stakes in Chrysler and General Motors and agitated for change, is amassing a large stake in Ford.
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