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Be Your Own Boss – Career Planning For Baby Boomers

Workers in the age group of 55 and older now represent one of the fastest-growing groups of self-employed people in the US. The total number of 55-plus Americans who choose to work for themselves has gone up by 28 percent since the year 2000. Compared with this, the statistics for most other age groups shows that numbers are either stagnant or actually declining as regards self-employment, according to government data. Baby boomers and seniors today account for a total of 56 percent of the self-employed workers in America. Clearly, many baby boomers are using self-employment as an easy transition move, a bridge to retirement.

Many boomers also feel younger and more productive than previous generations at this age. With increasing life expectancy and better overall health, baby boomers intend to work for much longer than most previous generations. But, they mostly want to work on their own terms. This is why they are creating jobs that give them a lot more control over their own lives and much more self-fulfillment. This is precisely the reason that so many of them choose to become their own boss. In their mid-50s, they much prefer working their own hours, maybe from their own home, to putting in 15-hour work days at corporate juggernauts where work takes over their life.

The large scale corporate downsizings over the recent years have also provided an additional impetus for older workers to consider entrepreneurship. There is also a financial angle to that. Older workers may have to accept buyouts from their erstwhile employers, but without the traditional pensions or the retiree health benefits, they can’t afford to retire. The biggest surprise, for baby boomers being downsized, is the high cost of health insurance. Without the employer-subsidized group coverage of their corporate jobs, many are shocked by the prices when they begin to shop for health insurance for themselves.

Whatever the reason for choosing this path, the good news is that most companies now have a new openness to outsourcing processes and hiring independent contractors, or consultants to perform certain tasks. This helps to create great business opportunities for the people with experience in various fields, who choose to become self-employed.

Anyone starting a business must have a good business plan which spells out exactly what and how they proposed to do. People also tend to underestimate the money needed to get started. Estimate properly, remembering that lenders will expect you to put up 20 to 30 percent of the cost.

Anna D. Banks , GCDF is an adjunct professor at Essex County College; career development and marketing coach; speaker, and author. Ms. Banks serves on the 2007-2008 Educational Development Committee of the International Association of Workforce Professionals (IAWP). Anna helps individuals design a game plan for a career or business. Since 1996, Anna has helped hundreds of job-seekers, managers, business owners, and sales professionals achieve career success.

Author’s Note: Do you have any questions about career development or lifestyle changes for Baby Boomers, which you think others, like you, would want to know the answers? Please post a comment on my blog Baby Boomer Pre-Retirement Tips or email your questions to me at Anna@AnnaBanks.com

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