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Optimism not pessimism for those over 65 who want to start a business

I was introduced to a couple in their late 60’s at a luncheon this past week. The introductory conversation began with the customary “what do you do?” ; I found out that the gentleman was retired from a HR position and the wife was currently working as a part time secretary.  As we continued our discussion they shared that their planned retirement income was not going to sustain them and that they were very concerned about their future.  They have been searching for full time jobs for over a year and have not even had a reliable “nibble”.

As people over sixty five are growing in number, I feel that we are giving them a message that is discouraging their ability to continue as useful,  productive members of the business community. Subliminal messages are being transmitted in a variety of ways. For example, look at the majority of the TV commercials, and newscasts. The participants are all well under the age of 65. The most prominent television ad containing older Americans are, as an example,  those showing someone that has fallen and not able to get up but by buying an “alert system help will come; another commercial encourages seniors to buy a bathtub with a door. We hear about the high cost of Medicare and that social security is going broke, but we never hear about the fact that people in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s can be productive in the business world and can help themselves.

We need an education and a support system for our older population who both need to or want to be productive. In my opinion, their values and work ethic will help them succeed; their business survival rate may be a lot higher than that of younger people starting a business. Most of us have had a dream of someday owning our own business; likewise, our older generation has had such dreams but were never able to implement them.. Small business is the backbone of our nation and new, small service and manufacturing businesses, started and run by our “grey hair” population, may be the answer our economy needs to get back on track.

Let’s start a movement to help these folks succeed in their own businesses. I would like to hear from you, please share your thoughts.

There are no limits to success when we do not limit .

Nick J. Petra


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