Baby Boomers Changing Views of Traditional Retirement in U.S

Article excerpt

Baby boomers are redefining retirement in America. No longer the time when retirees exclusively enjoy leisure and travel, retirement is an opportunity for many to become their own bosses.

The retirement of Americans born between 1946 and 1964, around the age of 65, is driving political debate in the halls of Congress on a number of issues from Social Security to health care reform. But for Main Street, U.S.A., the real questions are: What will the baby boomers have on the entrepreneurial landscape in the next century?

According to Victoria Williams, research assistant at the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, baby boomers' attitudes, expectations, and behavior toward retirement are different compared to their parents and grandparents. A recent American Association of Retired Persons study by Roper Starch Worldwide discovered that about 80 percent of baby boomers would continue to work while 16 percent will do volunteer work. The study found that 35 percent of respondents expect to work part time primarily for the self-fulfillment that it provides. Of those who expect to remain in the labor force, 23 percent expect to work part time solely for income, 17 percent expect to start their own businesses, and 5 percent expect to work full time doing something else. The study, conducted in April 1998, was based on 2,001 currently employed respondents born between 1946 and 1964, ages 33 to 52. "The retirement of baby boomers in the next decade will certainly define the business culture of the 21st century," said Jere W. Glover, the SBA's chief counsel for advocacy. "Public policy-makers will have to anticipate these demographic changes and ensure that laws affecting small businesses serve the needs of new, but older, entrepreneurs. …