As a nation, America is getting older. By 2030, 20% of Americans will be 65 or older. With people living longer than ever before and the baby boomers approaching retirement age en masse, older adults will continue to have a massive impact on the American economy at large. Normally, we think of seniors as people who cash in on the hard work they’ve already accomplished. Many young people even worry Social Security will be wiped out by the time they reach retirement age. But who’s to say older adults can’t contribute to the economy?
If you’ve ever tried to change jobs late in your career or pick up some part-time work after retirement, you know it’s hard to be hired as a senior.
Quartz recently called seniors “the economy’s most underused natural resource.” Until more employers understand the value and potential of older workers, entrepreneurship remains the most viable avenue for seniors wanting to work after their primary career has ended. There are a number of reasons why seniors find creating their own business to be rewarding and why they tend to succeed when they do.
Unlike younger people, who often become business owners in an attempt to make a fortune, older entrepreneurs can be content with small, sustainable micro-businesses. They also approach their businesses with a wealth of experience that can’t be purchased. As a result, 70% of ventures founded by older entrepreneurs are still open five years later, more than double the rate of the general population.
With so much potential to be found in senior-run businesses, it’s no surprise that organizations are rushing to empower older adults with the tools they need to succeed. Senior Planet, a co-working space for seniors with outposts nationwide, teaches classes on skills like website creation in a space that makes older learners feel welcome and comfortable.
On top of being an important economic driver, entrepreneurship can be wonderful way for seniors to generate meaning and value in their lives. It’s never too late to start the business of your dreams.