Next Moves for Boomers

To retire, or not to retire? For the Boomer generation (1946-1964), just what is retirement?If you are a Boomer, most likely you’ve noticed a few changes.

Some are physical … you creak, might not be as flexible as just a few years ago, may be thinking about joint replacements and have noted that the body doesn’t respond like it used to.

Financially, most Boomers realize that they won’t retire as their parents traditionally did; that they probably don’t have enough money set aside; that the pensions and retirement programs that they had counted on, may not have the payouts originally projected; and that they can opt to start collecting Social Security on the early payout feature.

Most Boomers don’t want to stop working. What’s being redefined is how they work. If you are post 50, how you view your career today is probably a tad different than you did 20 years ago.

If the Boomers want to keep on working, does that spell bad news for those who want to move up the corporate ladder? Will the aging Boomers block the “kids” from the executive suite?

Boomers are looking for options. According to AARP, over 75 percent want to keep working. New adventures will beckon—many will leave corporate America behind (opening the doors to those wanting to move up) and join the ranks of the self-employed. Of the five million Americans over 50 are self-employed … accounting for 40 percent of the self-employed workforce.

Retire or Not to Retire? The real question is, if you are a Boomer, do you have the right stuff to become an entrepreneur?

The Right Stuff includes:

Knowing what you are passionate about.

One of the best-selling books of the previous decade was Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow. So it goes with entrepreneurship. Before you jump the corporate ship, take advantage of career assessment tests and short courses offered through facilities such as the community college. Maybe you already know … you’ve been doing it as a hobby for years.

Knowing what your real skills are. 
Most of us take for granted the things we do on a routine basis… including sales, marketing, negotiating, responsibility for a P&L, and customer service. All are critical in the launching and success of a business.

Creating a smart team. 
When you first start out, you may be a solo act. It doesn’t mean that work in a hold. You will have a team … and most likely, many on your team are also soloists. A good bookkeeper, someone with a keen graphic eye and a gift of words are ideal early connections.

Every community has groups that focus on the entrepreneur… some are female oriented, some male, others with no preference. Whether it’s the Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce, NAWBO, BPW, Leads, eWomenNetwork, there are hundreds and hundreds of members within each that just may have the link/connection/answer you are looking for.

You find them by showing up and getting involved. The Denver Business Journal identifies many of them in the Calendar section weekly. The perfect mentor is just around the corner.

Make sure your Market is really a Market
If the work you are passionate about is similar to what you left in the corporate world, your previous employer may be interested in engaging you as a consultant. The Internet is a huge resource in tracking down the needs and wants of potential clients. If you aren’t savvy in searching techniques, this would be a good time to hone your skills.

Money, Money, Money
You need to have money—money to live on as the business develops; money to spend in developing and marketing the business; and money to take care of the unexpecteds. Have a six month reserve set aside, outside of your monthly personal and business operating needs.

Many businesses start today with a computer, Internet connection and a phone. Costs are minimal. Costco’s Executive membership for $100 offers a variety of services for the small business, all designed to save money—from credit card processing to small business health and dental insurance.

Don’t spend a fortune when you don’t have to in growing your business. A PO Box could work just fine as your storefront and costs a few dollars a month.

Former President John F Kennedy said, “There is risk and costs to a program of action … There are far more risks to a program of inaction.” If you do what you love, there’s a market for your product/service, go for it. The entrepreneurial bug may just be for you.