Dixie Darr

In creativity, self-employment, work on August 21, 2007 at 9:47 am

The Entrepreneurship Boom

“The biggest temptation is . . . to settle for too little.” Thomas Merton

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the ranks of the self-employed aged 55 to 65 rose 33 percent in 2006, while the number of self-employed 25- to 35-year-olds fell 2 percent.

In a related quarterly survey by outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas of its clients — mostly managers and executives — the number starting firms or turning to self-employment rose 29 percent in the first quarter of 2007 over the first three months of 2006. Of those, a staggering 88 percent were 40 and older.

A number of reasons might account for these statistics. Older people have a harder time finding a new job when they leave an old one, so some people may turn to self-employment as their last choice. Workers in their 50s and 60s may have lower living expenses, with a paid-off mortgage and grown, independent children. They may qualify for early retirement pensions that give them more financial freedom. All of these situations leave them freer to explore things they may have always wanted to do, but found impractical or impossible at an earlier age.

Articles about this phenomenon always refer to “aging baby boomers,” and while it is true we are getting older, I’d like to point out that everyone on the planet is aging, not just the baby boom generation. The possibility of starting a small business is one more reason to look forward to our later years.

© Copyright 2007 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved

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