Since we boomers are not in what are considered the “prized” demographics of advertisers and broadcasters, we could be led to believe that our generation has lost its sizzle. But writer and blogger Leslie Handler knows better. From her home smack dab between Philadelphia and New York City, Leslie writes that Boomers are Booming.
I wonder why my pee smells after I eat asparagus. I wonder why the sky is blue. I wonder why my car warns me when the air in my tires is low, but the car battery itself dies with no warning what-so-ever.
I don’t wonder about my future career. As a baby boomer, I’ve already been through many careers. The last one ended by forcing me to go out of work on disability. I was only fifty-years-old. I couldn’t hold down a “real” job anymore, but I still had a brain. I had good days and bad days, and although some were filled with pain and a drug-induced fog, others found me clear-thinking and frankly, bored. I started doing some volunteer work on the good days. That helped. I felt I was a contributing member of society, but there were other good days left unfulfilled.
One day, I went to run an errand. While out, I had an emotional experience that I couldn’t get out of my head. The thoughts became so strong that forty-eight hours later I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t sleep. I got up in the middle of the night, sat down at the computer, and wrote about it. Then I was finally able to go back to bed. I’m truly not sure what possessed me, but the next day I submitted the story I wrote to a news outlet and then promptly forgot all about it. When I later checked my e-mail, the editor wanted to publish it. So I wrote another story and submitted it to him. The next thing I knew, he wanted to send me a contract and pay me for my work. A freelance hobby began.
Unfortunately, I remain ill on and off and will never be able to hold down a nine-to-five job again, but for me, this is a terrific compromise. When I’m not well, I don’t write. When I am well, I can use my brain.
It seems I’m not alone. I’m not an entrepreneur with my little freelance writing business, but there are many boomers who are. People over fifty are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States. The Small Business Association did research that shows that two-percent of millennials are self-employed verses 8.3% for boomers. So boomers are actually driving the entrepreneurial boom. Boomers are booming!
We have experience, contacts, financial stability, and we know what we want and what our limitations are. Some of us were forced into these positions by health or layoffs, but others found that once they retired, they still had the time and energy to continue to work. Many boomers have financially been able to start business with residual income from commissions or pensions, and some just want to supplement their social security benefits and their savings. Statistics show that eight out of every ten boomers start businesses not for financial reasons, but for lifestyle reasons. Just like me!
It could be that millennials feel they can’t take the financial risk to start their own businesses. In 2016 these kids graduated with an average of over $30,000 in student loan debt. Additionally, millennial unemployment is high and under-employment is even higher. Many just can’t take the risk.
Who knows the exact reason why more boomers than millennials become entrepreneurs. Perhaps boomers just feel they have a lifetime of experience behind them that gives them confidence. Perhaps the millennials who spent their childhoods winning trophies just for showing up don’t have the confidence to go out on their own without the assurance of success.
I don’t have all the answers. When I google urine and asparagus together, I find out something about acid and sulfur, but I still don’t get it. When I research why the sky is blue, I find it has something to do with light and molecules, but I still don’t really get it. When I ask people at my auto dealer why there’s no warning light that goes on when my battery is low, they just shrug their shoulders and tell me they don’t know. But you know what? They’re not boomers. If they were, they just might have the experience, confidence, and gumption to start a business that does know, because boomers, they get it!