The magic age of 65 in today’s world does seem like early retirement for many healthy adults who might be glad to shed their day job but not retire completely. Trends indicate that because people are living longer, statistics show that the number of adults starting new businesses and becoming self-employed in their 60s, is increasing.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), “…the percentage of individuals age 62 and over who were self-employed, increased from 4.2 percent in 1988 to 5.4 percent in 2015.” The SBA says senior entrepreneurship is healthy for the broader economy (as well as for the seniors themselves who probably appreciate the challenge to start a new career and/or business).
It is no secret the population is aging but that does not mean that seniors are slowing down. The SBA likens this trend to Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Colonel Harland Sanders started his famous chicken franchise when he was 62 from his gas station, and slowly the business grew into a national chain.
There are more working capital options available for senior entrepreneurs than ever before, with business term loans, revenue-based financing and merchant cash advances providing capital in the hands of business owners in as little as 24 hours.
This trend is seen by experts as positive. The SBA cites that a “…healthy population of businesses can benefit both workers and consumers as competition for employees drives up wages and competition for customers drives down prices.”
While senior entrepreneurs are finding new lives and careers in greater numbers, there are also some trends that show not all senior entrepreneurs are self-employed by choice.
A Marketwatch article by Chris Farrell reports that senior entrepreneurs – (part of a trend he calls “Boomerpreneurship”) are experience prejudice on a fairly large scale in the workplace. , “… age discrimination is real, pernicious and widespread. … I heard that 71% of the workers aged 57 to 64 that AARP surveyed in 2013 said they had seen or experienced age discrimination at the workplace.”
The SBA also says this that “…the decline in the proportion of employed seniors who are self-employed is concerning…” but offers that Federal policymaking can “…induce more seniors to choose entrepreneurship over other types of employment.”
Farrell is in agreement and says that self-employment may be the way to go. “… in an era when corporate downsizings, restructurings, rightsizings — pick your favorite euphemism —are routine, self-employment doesn’t offer any more uncertainty than being an employee.”