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From Retiree to Entrepreneur

A series of workshops across the country are helping older adults find their inner entrepreneur.

The programs are the brainchild of the Center for Productive Longevity, a nonprofit group in Boulder, Colo., that’s focused on expanding the contributions of workers age 55-plus.

With surveys showing that as many as eight in 10 baby boomers plan to remain productively engaged in their communities and the workplace after leaving a first or primary career, the workshops – titled “Spotlight on Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Baby Boomers” – seek to “create a greater awareness and understanding about the benefits of pursuing the entrepreneurial path,” according to the center.

Looking ahead, programs for the balance of 2012 are scheduled for Sept. 14 at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass.; Oct. 11 at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in Chicago; and Nov. 15 at the University of Denver. The cost is $35. The meetings are for a maximum of 100 participants.

The day-long sessions feature presentations from educators and successful entrepreneurs and include a series of breakout sessions. Among the topics: strategies for identifying/selecting potential business opportunities; the desirability of taking skills/aptitude tests to ascertain how your skills/abilities could best be applied; developing a business plan or business concept statement; exploring financial support; how to overcome fears/concerns and real/artificial barriers; and conducting research on possible competition.

The jobs picture for older workers helps explain the importance of new-business creation. Although the unemployment rate for workers age 55 and older actually fell to 6.2% in June from 6.5% in May, the older unemployed tend to stay jobless considerably longer than younger individuals: an average 55.6 weeks vs. 35.2 weeks, respectively, according to AARP, the membership group for older Americans. What’s more, older workers make up more than half – almost 53% – of the so-called long-term unemployed (people who have been looking for work for six months or more).

With those figures in mind and the economy still fragile, the Center for Productive Longevity says its workshops, ideally, will help “build a national momentum for the substantial creation of more entrepreneurial endeavors.”


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About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.