The first members of the baby boomer generation are now turning 65 years-old. But retirement may not be in the near future for all of them.
We all know that a lot of people took a hit in their retirement investments when the economy took a turn for the worse back in 2008. It’s forced some folks to put off retirement and keep working a little longer than they first expected.
But that’s not the only reason baby boomers aren’t retiring. Some are starting their own businesses even as they near their golden years.
Many Americans over the age of 50 are choosing to stay in the workforce longer. Some attribute that to the fact that we now have a longer life expectancy. Others are calling it “the new midlife crisis.”
Baby boomers typically identify with their careers more so than Generation X or Generation Y. Leaving a career behind can be tough for some people to do.
It’s generally believed that as baby boomers retire, we’ll see the unemployment rate drop more dramatically because new positions will open up. But if more boomers decide to stay working -for whatever reason- the drop may not be as dramatic as expected. It’s one reason you can expect a more crowded job market this year.
While the baby boomer generation has a lower unemployment rate than the national average. It’s typically tougher for them to get back into the job market if they happen to be looking for work. A study by the Urban Institute indicates men over the age of 50 are 39% less likely to get a new job while women older than 50 are 18% less likely to find work.
Perhaps that’s why many older Americans (sorry) have the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity in the last few years. If you can’t get the job you want – why not create it for yourself?
Writer Martin Zwilling has an article on the Forbes.com blog that takes a look at boomers and entrepreneurship. He thinks the generation will be a force to be reckoned with over the next decade. Zwilling cites a study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation indicating “62% of working Boomers are now expected to stay in the labor force, with real power and influence for at least nine more years, to 2020.”
You’ve probably heard the notion that Gen X and Gen Y are taking jobs away from older Americans because they have a leg-up when it comes to technology. But there’s also evidence that baby boomers are far from inept when it comes to being tech-savvy.
According to the Kauffman study, the average age of the founders of technology startups in the U.S. is 39. However, there are twice as many founders over the age of 50 as there are under the age of 25. Just because Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is a young whipper-snapper, that doesn’t mean there’s an age limit on being innovative.
Speaking of social media – Twitter and Facebook aren’t just for the kids anymore. Half of Internet users between the ages of 50 and 64 are using social media. In fact, the number of Facebook users over the age of 55 grew by tenfold from 1 million at the start of 2009 to 10 million at the start of 2010. People over the age of 45 now make up 37% of Facebook users, with more than a quarter of them between the ages of 45 and 54.
Check out this infographic from Kissmetrics for more on social media demographics.
One things is for certain…the decisions that the baby boomer generation makes over the next decade will have a big impact on the U.S. economy.
If loads of baby boomers retire – that could potentially open up new high-paying quality jobs.
But if a lot of baby boomers decide to become entrepreneurs and start their own companies, that could also have a positive effect on the labor force. Small businesses and startups are an important driver in job creation.
On top of all that – the baby boomer generation could create new job opportunities just by doing what they’re already doing…getting old (sorry again). As they age, there will be needs to fill. According to Zwilling, seniors may be the ones best suited to serve their own generation.“…the Boomer demographic is also creating a slew of new market opportunities, including improved healthcare facilities, construction of senior-friendly facilities, and technical support for seniors, by seniors. What all of this means is that boomers will have more impact and power in the marketplace for a lot longer than most people expected.”