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Need to Generate Income? What if You Could Enter the Growing Home Health Care Field to Financially Benefit From the “Uptick in World Aging and Chronic Disease?”

Is Home Health Care Biz For You?

There’s no two ways about it: The fact that we humans are all getting older every day is as sure as the inevitability of death and taxes.  

Your challenge is to figure out how to use this to your advantage… And do it in a way that will make you money. One big idea is to develop a home health care oriented business related to helping people deal with chronic health conditions.  And do it now:

  • Don’t be like, Vivian, one of my former coaching clients, a 60+ physical therapist, who had an idea for a product to be used by Alzheimer’s patients.
  • It was a great idea: Simple, elegant, effective, dignity-enhancing, and inexpensive to manufacture.
  • A product that, if developed, would have sold like hotcakes, and made her a wealthy woman.
  • Sadly, she was so bound by fear that her idea would be laughed at that she waited a decade to seek help in bringing her idea to fruition.
  • In the end, just as I was aiding her to explore the manufacture of her “baby,” she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, and didn’t survive her treatment.  Talk about a tragedy.

So as you’re sitting there, wondering what sort of business you can get into that will help you successfully ride out this current recession, think about the obvious:

  • What is it that people will always need, no matter what the economy is doing?
  • What resources can you personally access to serve these needs?
  • How might you be able to set things up to provide yourself with an ongoing, recurring monthly income? One that can be grown, but that won’t likely be discontinued, once you acquire a customer?

Your answers to these questions are crucial: They could help you develop a recession-proof business that will fund your retirement.

Actually, these are the very same question the “big boys” of industry are currently asking. Based on their answers, they’re taking action – they’re shedding old businesses that don’t support the answers they’ve arrived at, and acquiring new ones which do.

Need proof? Check out this recent article from the New York Times, “Royal Philips Sheds Old Businesses for New Directions,” which notes that execs at the Dutch industrial giant have become convinced of two things:

  • The population is getting older and
  • It is becoming more interested in becoming “greener”

The article notes that these two trends  – aging and greening – are guiding Philips as it transforms itself, reorganizing its divisions and jettisoning (non-compliant) product lines while picking up others. (For the purposes of this article, we’ll stick to the aging aspect and save going green for another day…)

Of course this is worth our attention. After all, Royal Philips is a well-known a manufacturer. By the way, we’re not talking about the folks who bring you Milk of Magnesia or the petroleum company. We’re discussing the firm previously known for its manufacture of home electronics products, including: 

  • Magnavox televisions
  • DVD, Blu-ray and home theater surround-sound devices
  • MP3 players, home appliances and portable music accessories
  • Philips incandescent light bulbs
  • Norelco shavers 
  • Sonicare power toothbrushes

“Uptick in World Aging”

These days, Royal Philips is selling off its home electronics businesses and instead delving into the business of selling hospital and at-home scanning and monitoring equipment and high-tech light bulbs made with light-emitting diodes.

  • “We were a technology-driven company,”said Gerard J. Kleisterlee, the chief executive of Philips. “But that is only one element. Now we are focusing on care cycles. ‘Health and well-being’ is a common theme that everyone works on.”
  • Or, as the company’s chief financial officer, Pierre-Jean Sivignon, puts it: “An uptick in world aging and chronic diseases will drive our business.”

To support this new business direction, Philips has acquired a number of existing firms: First, they bought Lifeline, a home health care monitoring system, perhaps best known to millions of Americans for an old television commercial whose tagline was, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

Dozen of comedians had with that line, but despite the fun, the fact is, almost 40% of all seniors fall each year, and protecting them when they do, is big business. Look at these facts related to falls and medical helplessness at home:

  • Falls are one of the most serious health risks among seniors over the age of 65, affecting more people than stroke and heart attacks combined.
  • Falls are the leading cause of death due to injury in those people 65 and over.
  • 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls. 40% of those hospitalized for hip fracture do not return to independent living and 20% will die within a year.
  • More than half (55%) of all falls by seniors take place in the home. An additional 23% occur outside but near the house. Lifeline can intervene in close to 80% of all falls.
  • Most falls go unreported, but it is expected that 35-40% of people over the age of 65 fall each year.
  • Those who fall are 2-3 times more likely to fall again.
  • Additionally, many other chronic medical conditions place millions more seniors at risk.Cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, diminished hearing and eyesight, and Parkinson’s all leave seniors vulnerable to helplessness at home.

No wonder Lifeline currently keeps track of 720,000 elderly or infirm at-home customers in the United States and Canada. Doubtless the number of people who subscribe to this service will continue to grow as our world population continues to age.

The Importance of Developing Recurring Income 

  • Most noteworthy is that Lifeline uses an intriguing business model, which you might do well to consider: they give away their products and charge a monthly fee for their use.
  • Explains Ronald Feinstein, Philips Lifeline president, “I don’t want to sell blood pressure cuffs and defibrillators,  I want to give them away and charge a monthly fee.”
  • Currently, customers pay $35 to $45 a month, for use of a pendant or a TV set-top box that connects to Lifeline. If they experience a medical problem, they push a button on the device to summon help.

Not surprisingly, considering that their target market is people who are aged or infirm, the company does lose about 35 percent of its subscribers to death each year. But you might wonder whether they even notice:  After all, since the world continues to age, they have been able to grow their subscriber base about 10 percent a year.

  • At this point, the company estimates it owns 60 percent of the home-monitoring market in the United States.
  • The final addition to their home-healthcare monitoring revenue stream: the 250 installers who show the subscribers how to use the devices also sell them other products, like fall detectors and automatic pill dispensers.
  • But to round out their presence in the medical monitoring field, Philips also sells cardiac home monitors that transmit data to a doctor’s office, home defibrillators and a variety of out-patient monitoring systems for assisted living operations.

Chronic Health Conditions Require Regular Treatment

Next up, Philips bought Respironics, the home health care firm which is best known for their positive airway pressure (PAP) machines and accessories used to treat sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

  • As with Lifeline, Philip’s Respironics business uses a business model which charges a monthly fee for use of their equipment.
  • And finally, Philips entry into the Home Medical Equipment field means that they can roll out ancillary products, such as oxygen therapy, light therapy and respiratory drug therapies. You can also develop ancillary products, once you get your business started…

Home Health Care Future Is Bright 

Philips Healthcare anticipates great successes ahead with their home health care businesses: Says John L. Miclot, CEO of Philips Home Healthcare Solutions:

  • “By leveraging our strengths as Philips Home Healthcare Solutions, we will improve quality of life for at-risk individuals through better awareness, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and management of their conditions – in the home.”
  • We are looking to a bright future as part of Philips Healthcare. We’re expanding our efforts to simplify healthcare by providing innovative solutions for the home that connect patients to their providers and support independent living for at-risk individuals.”

Should You Try For a Slice of the Home Health Care Pie?

 If you’ve got appropriate credentials, this is a “no-brainer.” Of course you should!
 
But what if you’re not a doctor, licensed nurse, social worker or LPN?
 
Even if you aren’t trained in the medical field, you may still find opportunities in this marketplace if you give it some thought. Assess your skills and talents and copnsider whether or not you might be able to build a business related to assisting health-challenged individuals to co ntinue to live independently in their homes.
 
For example, what about:
  • A Dog-Walking Service for the Homebound? – Pets are great companions, of course. But those who are physically challenged may have difficulty exercising their pets, washing them, trimming their nails or getting them to the vet.  This business is similar to the pet care services provided for people on vacation, but would give you the benefit of regular repeat business.
  • A Personal Shopper/Delivery Service? – “Have car, will shop or run your errands.” Many physically challenged people would appreciate having access to a service that runs errands and even does grocery shopping.  Alternately, offer a service where you pick up and deliver meals from restaurants which don’t normally offer delivery. Anyone who has difficulty getting into and out of a car would be a prospect. Also, home-based business people who are busy would likely appreciate this sort of personal assistance.
  • An On Call Barber/Beautician/Massage Therapist Service – Again, the concept is that you take your service to the client, and do the work at their home, saving them from the physical challenges of having to leave their home.

Not interested in providing an in-the-home service?
There are still thousands of other options. How about:

  • A service where your clients call in daily, to confirm that they are OK, and receive some message or benefit in the process. Similar to the Lifeline service, this concept requires that your clients call you daily – at a pre-arranged time – to confirm that all is well. Of course, you can augment and personalize the service Lifeline offers in many ways. This would be a service many Baby Boomers who live far from their parents but have concerns over them would find beneficial.
  • Or you might offer a subscriber service where prepare you deliver a daily blog post or podcast on a topic of interest – possibly even something as simple as reading aloud a chapter of a book each day. 
  • Another concept could be running a group call or teleconference on a daily or weekly basis.
    • A “virtual book club,” for example.
    • Or a specialized virtual support group – could be for people with a specific disability, like fibromyalgia, for example.
    • Or possibly a support group for Alzheimer’s caregivers.
    • These virtual groups have the benefit of not being limited by geography. You could actually have people calling in from all over the country – your only limitation to a world group being time zones.
  • Videos are great too!
    • Could you create a series of exercise videos specifically designed for people with physical limitations of one type or another?
    • What about a book, workbook, video and journaling program to assist people recovering from stroke or other life-altering illness to relearn skills they’ve lost? Possibly how to survive hip replacement surgery, for example. Or maybe how to learn to love your C-PAP machine – for those newly diagnosed with sleep apnea?
  • Finally, my favorite: An Ombudsman Service for people who are challenged by working the American healthcare system. If you’re good at details and cutting through red tape, there’s a huge need for this service. And in some situations – such as arguing with insurance companies – you can do the work from home!

What Makes a Great Concept for This Type of Business?

  • Ideally, your new home health care business will not be labor intensive: You are able to do it once, and get paid repeatedly. A subscription service, for example. Or a book you write once and sell many times. Possibly a combination of both…
  • A service you provide that insurance companies will cover is also ideal, because it limits your customers’ out of pocket expense and means your payments can be automated.  
  • Look at your skillsets and figure out whether you can offer a product or service that is unique, solves a problem, and does not require you to “trade hours for dollars.”
  • A product or service that is based on your own experiences and your concern for helping others overcome a challenge you have faced. The personal aspect really shines through! This then might be something you market through doctors or clinics which work with people experiencing the same medical challenge.
  • And don’t forget the lesson Royal Philips teaches us: Strongly consider a product you can give away, which then allows you to charge a monthly fee for service or maintenance!

Now it’s your turn!

Put on your thinking cap, assess your life experience, and come up with some business concepts and ideas. Then develop a business plan that will put you in the game!

What are you waiting for? Go! Do! Now! The world is aging, and it needs your help!

“Joe the Plumber” Isn’t the Only Entrepreneurial Wannabe: Haven’t You Wondered Whether You Could Successfully Fund Your Retirement by Starting Your Own Small Business?

Small Business Owner Wannabe? Yes You Can!

If you watched the third and final presidential debate earlier this week, you heard both candidates talking abut how their economic development and tax plans would benefit Joe Wurzelbacher, aka “Joe the Plumber,” a Toledo, Ohio man who’s considering buying the plumbing business where he currently works – for somewhere between $250,000 and $280,000.

Both candidates attempted to make the case that their plans for taxation and business development would benefit more Americans. Who won the debate – and the hearts and minds of Americans – will be determined in mere weeks now. But that isn’t the main point of this post: Helping you decide whether or not to buy or start your own small business is.

See, “Joe the Plumber” Is Not the Only Baby Boomer Considering the Entrepreneurial American Dream of Business Ownership. Likely You Are, Too!

For many Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, the concept of retirement has a very different meaning than it did a generation ago. Many of you are looking into starting your own business to support your retirement – or semi-retirement. Actually what some people are starting to refer to as “unretirement.” And why not?

After all, several recent studies indicate that roughly 63% of non-retired adults in the United States plan to work into the time periond that used to be called retirement. Why? Your reasons may be different, but here are some popular ones:

  • Two-thirds of you say your key reason is that you enjoy your work and you want to stay mentally engaged
  • About half of you have a concern over not having enough money to cover your basic living expenses once you are old enough to collect Social Security
  • The current economy has left many of you with decimated home values, mountains of bills, and vanishing 401(K)’s
  • Only 28% of you report confidence in your ability to pay for projected medical costs – especially since many of you won’t have health insurance after you retire -and you can easily expect to live another 20 to 30 years

On the Plus Side You Can’t Ignore the Very Real Benefits Of:

  • Your years of valuable work experience
  • Your maturity and judgement
  • Your health and vitality

Actually, There Are as Many Reasons for Starting a Small Business as There are Americans Reaching Retirement Age

At the very least you have to consider:

  • Corporate layoffs
  • The need to supplement your current income
  • Your desire for a more flexible lifestyle
  • Your recognition that advancing technology has leveled the playing field for many small businesses
  • The very real opportunity to realize your personal ambition to be the boss and reap the rewards

It All Adds Up: More and More Boomers Find Financial and Personal Fulfillment in Running Your Own Small Business.

“[Boomers] stand at the portal of advancing age more driven by their desire to stay engaged with achievements and family relationships than by the value of their portfolio,” says Carol Orsborn, an author and expert on marketing to Baby Boomers. Here are some other relevant facts:

  • A study by Merrill Lynch and Harris Interactive found that 45% of Americans approaching retirement never plan to completely stop working
  • You can often deduct some of your health insurance premiums from taxes if you’re self employed and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) offer more savings.
  • Americans over the age of 50 make up a disproportionate share of the self-employed workforce, about 40 percent compared to 25 percent of the overall workforce according to a 2002 AARP study
  • Americans in their 40s and 50s expect to “retire” at age 61 but will continue to work until around age 70 according to Merrill Lynch and Harris Interactive. During these 9 years, many of you believe the ideal work arrangement is to “cycle” between periods of work and leisure (42%). And only 17% of you hope to never work for pay again
  • The top-10 most popular franchising industries according to a report in USA Today are: fast food, service, restaurants, building and construction, business services, retail, automotive, maintenance, food retail, and lodging
  • A new franchised business opens up in the United States every 8 minutes, according to Price Waterhouse Coopers.  Average initial investment is $250,000
  • Only 37% of the Boomer generation indicated that earning money was an important reason to keep working according to Merrill Lynch and Harris Interactive.  67% thought challenge and mental stimulation would motivate them to continue to work. The same study found that of Boomers who plan to continue work, nearly two-thirds want to pursue a different line of work.
  • The number of franchised business in the US has grown to 850,000 from 760,000 in the past six years according to an International Franchise Association report. The number of “franchise concepts” has grown to 2,500 from 900 in 3 years
  • 75 industries use franchising to distribute goods and services according to Price Waterhouse Coopers

Undoubtedly it’s facts like these that led the US Small Business Administration (SBA) to unveil a new section of their web site earlier this month, aimed directly at you, the country’s most rapidly expanding group of entrepreneurs.

The new Small Business oriented site is designed for you if you are a 50-plus entrepreneur seeking information on starting, growing and expanding a small business.

“The SBA is working hard to increase opportunities for small businesses of the Baby Boomer generation at every stage of their business development through better technology tools and effective services through the agency’s district offices and resource partners,” said SBA Acting Administrator Sandy Baruah in a statement. “We believe 50-plus entrepreneurs will drive significant new business growth in the coming years.”

The new site has been designed to help you evaluate the pros and cons of business ownership after age 50 and provides advice on how to treat different phases of business growth. It includes a series of free online course on topics like:

  • Small Business Primer: Guide to Starting a Business
  • How to Prepare a Business Plan
  • How to Start a Business on a Shoestring Budget (Trump University)
  • Franchising Basics
  • Technology 101: A Small Business Guide

In addition you’ll find:

  • A tool to you measure your business readiness
  • Information on borrowing and credit
  • Encouraging success stories from other Baby Boomer small business owners

There’s Also a Section Called “Bootstrapping Basics” That Offers Training Tools Such As “Traits of the Successful Entrepreneur”

Here, you learn that:

  • Just as not every idea is well suited for a shoestring start-up, not every person is well suited to be a bootstrapping entrepreneur
  • “When it comes to starting a business on a shoestring budget, two of these traits are especially important. An entrepreneur must be passionate about his start-up business. It can be long time before you really start reaping the rewards of your business, and it can be easy to let other endeavors distract you. Your passion is what will keep you focused on moving your idea forward
  • “Too much caution can stand in the way of a successful start-up.”
  • A bootstrapping entrepreneur must also be something of a risk taker. You must be willing to experiment. If the first thing you try isn’t working, you have to be able redirect your efforts and try another approach.”
  • “Successful entrepreneurs share some common traits that help them meet the particular challenges starting a business puts before them. They include:
    • Passion
    • Tenacity
    • Persistence
    • Self-reliance
    • Risk-taking
    • Focus
    • Curiousity

The SBA’s Self-Paced Training for 50-Plus Entrepreneurs Is A Good Idea, But It Lacks Passion – and a Mechanism to Keep Your Focused and Moving Forward.

If you’re serious about building as business to support your retirement there is no time to waste. You need to get started now, and you need to get training from a reliable resource which will keep you focused and moving forward with passion.

In my opinion, you’ll be much farther along in your business development efforts one month from now if you work with Gina Gaudio-Grave’s program, The 30-day IM Challenge instead of using the SBA’s self-paced training.

What Have You Got to Lose? It’s Priced Right, and A Stronger Program

In the past I’ve recommended Gina Gaudio-Graves free 30-Day IM Challenge program and I stand behind that recommendation. Also free, it gives you all the knowledge you need to succeed with your own business, whether you decide to go home-based or not.

In Addition to the 750+ Pages of Training, Plus Recordings and Videos, the 30 Day IM Challenge Gives You Weekly Group Phone Calls and an In-depth Forum, Where You Can Ask Questions of Gina’s Apprentices, Who Are All Successful Graduates of the 30-Day IM Challenge.

So, if you’re considering starting a small business to supplement your retirement income,  the only questions still left for you to answer are:

  • Do you want to succeed?
  • Do you have what it takes to own your own successful business?
  • If not, are you willing to work hard to acquire it?
  • Are you ready to launch yourself into prosperity despite the gloomy economy?
  • Or would you rather stick your head in the sand and wait until things are “easier.”

If you opt for the last option, keep in mind that while you wait your chances for enjoying a comfortable retirement will be steadily shrinking…

“Joe the Plumber” is not waiting. Don’t you hold off either!

Daring New (Non-“PC”) Topic for Cocktail Party Conversation: “Do YOU Think You Will Have Enough Money When It Comes Time to Retire?”

This very provocative question is of the type that my socially correct mother raised me not to ask: Everyone knows it’s socially unacceptable and completely impolite to discuss topics like how much money someone makes, or how well off they are. Questions like that are “Totally CR and SU,” as we used to say in college: “crude, rude and socially unacceptable.”

But the point is, we are starting to ask this question of each other, and I say this is a good thing.

If we don’t talk and plan, we’ll end up unpleasantly surprised, as many of my Boomer-aged coaching clients have discovered.

Consider one of my former clients, a dentist from Indiana who sold off his practice for slightly more than $1 million at the young age of 61, and then began looking at his options. Only to discover that a million dollars doesn’t go as far as it once did – especially since he still had school-aged children living at home.

  • He quickly realized that unless he took massive action of some sort, he was in no condition to maintain his current lifestyle.  Especially since he was in good health and had every reason to suspect he would live for another 30 years!
  • Thankfully, he was quite entrepreneurial, and we quickly came up with several business concepts based on his professional expertise, which would generate a steady passive income stream, and would not require him to get back into the daily grind of seeing patients in a clinic setting.
  • I’m happy to say he is living the good life, these days!

Will YOU have enough money when it comes time to retire?

Too often these days the answer is “no,” even if you diligently started planning for retirement in your 20s. A recent but unscientific poll I saw showed that only 28% of us felt secure enough to answer yes when asked this question.

Another survey I found noted that 63% of Americans 50-59 worry about having enough money to retire.

And 80% of us Boomers plan to work in retirement — and I don’t mean doing meaningful volunteer work, which is also popular — I’m talking about people who want to get paid for their labors.

Why? Well, two-thirds of us told Scudder Kemper that we are “worried about having enough money in the future,” and no wonder: we realize that the money we planned on for retirement just isn’t going to be there! Often the problem is not that we Boomers failed to plan – though that does happen – but that the backdrop against which we did our planning shifted. For example:

  • Even the diligent savers among us were affected by the stock market decline of 2001-2003, which eradicated roughly $7-8 trillion in shareholder wealth, much of it held by us Boomers. And of course, if you’ve started investing in the market again, you’re aware that the last few months haven’t done that well for us, either! Clearly the timing for major withdrawals is a huge concern
  • Then there was the famous “dot-com” crash, which ate away roughly $279 billion on 401[K] assets and huge chunks of other retirement savings
  • Not to mention that many of us are financially savvy enough to know that 401[K] and IRA/retirement money statements can create a false sense of wealth, since – with the exception of Roth IRAs – these funds will be federally taxed on withdrawal
  • For others of us, the challenge came because our employers lopped off 50% of the work force, dropped pension plans,  were bought out by a foreign national – or went out of business. Downsizing, right-sizing, off-shoring, you get the picture.

Or, the financial challenges might be brought on by death, divorce, illness, or unexpectedly finding ourselves caring for our aging parents, our children and grandchildren – or all three! No wonder 50+ consumers outspend younger adults two to one! Currently:

  • 22% of us financially support an aging parent
  • 24% provide for an adult child, aged 18 or more – many of these being “college re-bounders” who come home to live in order to reduce their own living expenses
  • 43% of all singles are 45 or older
  • Collective Boomer debt is estimated at roughly $2.5 trillion
  • The top monetary concern of Boomers considering retirement is “being unable to afford health insurance”

What is the solution?

  • Arrange with your employer to work longer?
  • Figure out how to effectively reduce your standard of living?
  • Win the lottery?
  • Start a business, perhaps based on life experience, which allows you to generate income without “working” in the traditional way?

What if you decide to Work Longer?

According to an article , “How Much Longer Will Boomers Need to Work?” which is posted in the August 11, 2008 issue of US News & World Report, “The typical American retires at age 63. Those fortunate few who have traditional pensions, retiree health insurance, and a fully loaded 401(k) will probably be fine.

But if you haven’t saved enough to fund 30 years of retirement-and as we’ve seen most baby boomers aren’t even close – the obvious solution is working longer.

Some experts correctly note that there are huge benefits for the health of the nation of we work longer. Specifically:

  • The Economy (not to mention Social Security and Medicare) needs the money
  • The Nation’s Employers need both our brains and our bodies – to stave off brain drain and a pending labor gap. Especially in the fields of health care, biosciences, energy and the federal government, where 44% of all workers will be eligible for retirement over the next five years
  • We Boomers are healthy enough to work and will be so for several more decades
  • Future Generations will benefit from a rosier future – because Boomers working longer will alleviate the need to draw down on federal benefits, or liquidate investments, home equity and savings to fund two of three more decades of living, and as a result more money will be left for Boomer children to inherit
  • It will probably put an end to intergenerational warfare and the now-popular sport of “Boomer bashing
  • It’s a common sense solution that could inject $3 trillion into the economy each year and result in a 9% increase on Gross Domestic Product by 2045

But how much longer will we Boomers need to work to finance a secure retirement? It depends on who you ask:

  • “For those workers who can work, the way to a secure retirement is to keep working until 66,” says Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College and coauthor of Working Longer: The Solution to the Retirement Income Challenge. Social Security currently replaces 39 percent of preretirement income for the average earner retiring at age 65 after the Medicare Part B premium is automatically deducted. But those who retire at the same age in 2030 can expect Social Security to replace only 30 percent of earnings, according to Munnell’s calculations. “Retirees in 2030 will have to work two to four years longer to maintain today’s level of replacement income,” she says.
  • Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of the think tank Civic Ventures and author of the book Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life, says that Boomers should try to work until at least age 70. The share of households prepared for retirement would nearly double from 31 to 60 percent if early Boomers currently between the ages of 54 and 63 delayed retirement from age 65 to 70, according to a McKinsey & Co. analysis.
  • While Tamara Erickson, author of Retire Retirement: Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation, says Baby Boomers should plan to work until a minimum of age 70 and up to 85 or 90 if they can.

Hmm, still “punching the clock” at age 70; I can see appreciate those advantages for both the workforce and the individual…

But I’d be looking for an option which would allow me to work on my terms. Ideally I’d like to incorporate:

  • Limited hours
  • Opportunities to work from home
  • A paycheck whose size I have some ability to control and the opportunity to REALLY get paid what I’m worth
  • The ability to take off for a week or two at least every quarter…

I wonder how well perks like these, as well as options like retention bonuses, bridge jobs, phased-in retirement plans or delayed retirement subsidies will go over with my younger co-workers?

How Possible is it to Reduce Living Costs?

Many of us anticipate that “financial belt-tightening” will be the answer: That’s why last April, Forbes.com carried an article about a sub-group of Baby Boomers they have nicknamed the “U-Boomers.”

A group they labeled “Financially unprepared, yet undaunted and uncompromising,” the Forbes authors note that this group shares all the optimism and expectations of their wealthier counterparts, yet this group — incorporating 24 million middle-class American households – is approaching retirement with lofty lifestyle aspirations, a thirst for new products and brands, and limited financial resources.

None of this group will be living a “Lexus Lifestyle” in retirement. Think more in terms of the recent commercial where the wedding guests are exclaiming over the lovely backyard garden reception featuring Martha Stewart-branded products purchased at Wal-Mart.

According to the article, the “U’s” will account for almost 25% of total U.S. consumption by 2015, which leads the authors to suggest there will shortly be a massive market for products and services that meet discriminating u-boomer tastes at affordable u-boomer prices. (Obviously the copywriters who wrote that Wal-Mart commercial were listening!)

Note also that the article points out that the “U’s” are the largest segment of the baby boomer generation, sandwiched between roughly 10 million well-to-do households with high hopes for a comfortable retirement and the financial resources to pay for it, and 11 million disadvantaged households that are deeply pessimistic about the future.

But the concept of reducing you standard of living is one you surely hope to avoid, so let’s not accept this option!

Realistically, What Are Your Chances of Winning the Lottery?

Well, it obviously works for some, we see those excited winners on the state-run lottery commercials all the time…but wining is nothing you can bank on.

And since there’s no guarantee — and history shows that the odds of lottery winners actually holding on to their winnings and effectively investing them is slim to none — you’re going to “take a pass” on this option.

So Maybe the Best Option is to Start Up a Business of Your Own?

This is the best option for generating income at this time in your life.  And starting up your own business makes sense, considering that the stage is already set for lengthier Boomer careers, thanks to the increasing acceptance of older workers. What better time to dust off your dreams and start taking control of your life and future? After all, you’ve got experience, your children are grown, you’re healthy and you’ve still got decades of good life ahead!

And Boomers DO want to work. What else would you expect from the generation that mainstreamed working women, has such a strong work ethic, embraced 24/7 connectivity and coveted the MBA degree? And where better to call the shots than in a business of your own? Especially since Boomers have also been called the “me generation,” due to recognition of the fact that we’ve always made our own rules.

Actually, the Boomer penchant for defying convention, if expressed as an extended working life, could be the offsetting – and saving – factor in the economic doomsday scenarios that have been passed around lately. And it really works, since more Boomers working longer translates into additional contributions to the Social Security coffers, more income tax revenue, fewer Medicare payouts and a delay on draws from the Social Security system.

But if you’re providing those benefits to the economy while working in your own business, it finally gives you the chance you’re sought our entire working lives – to do it your way.

  • A recent Towers Perrin/AARP Study, “The Business Case for Workers Age 50+” concluded that older workers are more engaged and motivated to exceed expectations than younger workers, and that declining physical skills such as manual dexterity are more than offset by skills that improve with age, such as verbal communication, tacit knowledge and experimental innovation. All skills that are much needed in business start-up situations. And moreover, starting a business of your own allows you to profitably leverage your life experiences.
  • A 2005 survey by Merrill Lynch revealed that almost 80% of workers age 40-58 plan to work in retirement, and roughly 60% look forward to the challenge of trying something new
  • Recent AARP research found that 69% of today’s workers age 45+ plan to continue working past age 65
  • Globally, Boomers are starting up businesses at a rate higher than any other demographic.

Now, you might say I’m biased in my opinion about the values of business ownership, since I’m a coach who works with Baby Boomers who want to start a business based on leveraging their life experience.

But I’m not the only one promoting the benefits of working in one’s own business, as opposed to being an employee. “Millionaire MakerLoral Langemeier has written books and developed a series of programs and workshops that are perfect for budding Baby Boomer entrepreneurs, because they teach ordinary working people how, in as little as a year, they can:

  • Quit your job and start doing the things you love
  • Control and then eliminate debt, no matter how much you owe
  • Live your life on your own schedule rather than that of an employer
  • Engage in business ventures that generate passive income
  • Substantially decrease your tax burden
  • Form trusts, corporations and partnerships to protect your assets, and create a non-stop revenue stream

So, here you go: WHETHER or not you are going to have enough money to afford to retire, consider helping out the economy and giving yourself the gift of having something meaningful to do with the next few decades of your life – dust off those dreams and start planning your own business start-up! Who knows, you might become the next Colonel Sanders, Oprah or Martha Stewart!