In her article “Fifty Is the New 65” Lynn Parramore writes, “As the global population grows older, age discrimination is on the rise…This is not just a story of people in their 60s or 70s. Workers as young as 50 are shocked to find themselves suddenly tossed onto the employment rubbish heap, just when they felt on top of their game. They’re feeling stressed, angry and betrayed by a society which has benefited greatly from their contributions.”
In fact, the New York Times reported last year that “the average duration of unemployment for older people was 53 weeks, compared with 19 weeks for teenagers.”
Is it all gloom and doom for us gray haired folk? I say no–not if we choose to manifest our own destiny.
Come on, fellow boomers: we have an enormous amount to offer the world in terms of knowledge, skills, experience, expertise. We’re by and large mature and well educated. And we have a lot of vitality left. Why not use all of these qualities to start our own prosperous enterprises rather than knocking on doors that refuse to open for us? Why let short-sighted, youth obsessed employers stand in the way of our success?
Not that we’re ungrateful. Many of us raised our families on the salaries and with the benefits provided by these employers. We have also been, and continue to be, voracious consumers of the goods and services that both big and small companies produce, accounting for over half of all American consumer spending. We just can’t count on the support of big business, either in terms of continued employment or retirement benefits, during our golden years. Or the government, for that matter.
We need to mine our own gold. Hang our own shingle. Create our own economy.
We would be in good company; the Small Business Administration found that people ages 50 to 70 people accounted for the fastest growing number of entrepreneurial start ups in the U.S. We’re buying franchises, launching consulting agencies, providing specific niches with new products and services, and pursuing once abandoned dreams of writing books, opening restaurants, starting travel agencies, launching cleaning or landscaping businesses–you name it.
We’re also more successful than your average entrepreneurial bear; over 50 percent of businesses we launch are still going strong after five years, compared to 5 percent of total start ups.
Whether you’re still employed full-time or already fully retired, you too can start the business you’ve dreamed about. It all starts with an idea.