Sticking It to the Man

Steve McDonald By Steve McDonald, Bond Strategist, The Oxford Club

Two-Minute Retirement Solution

If you’ve had the misfortune of losing your job after the age of 50, no one has to tell you that corporate America prefers younger, less expensive employees.

It’s called age discrimination. And it is very much alive and well. It’s the one form of discrimination this country seems willing to tolerate.

This corporate resistance to employing the graying American population is in direct opposition to the fact that 80% of working Americans over the age of 55 have to or want to work in retirement.

And since 2000, the number of people over the age of 65 still in the workforce has increased by around 45%.

But consistent with the “love generation” style, the boomers are sticking it to “the man” and the gray wall of discrimination.

They aren’t turning on, tuning in and dropping out. Well, most aren’t.


Since 1996, in response to the hiring resistance, the number of 55- to 64-year-olds who have started their own businesses has increased by 64%.

Out of necessity, we boomers are becoming this country’s new wave of entrepreneurs: the seniorpreneurs!

And the cards are all stacked in our favor…

Seniorpreneurs have more cash and more home equity, which allows them to sidestep one of the biggest reasons most startups never get off the ground: capital.

We also have more experience – a lot more experience. And anyone who has ever started or run a business knows what real life and work experience is worth to an operation.

And all the tax-deferred money the boomers have been putting aside in IRAs, all $7.6 trillion, can be used to start a new business. Click here for more about that.

But be forewarned! Making the jump to self-employment cannot be about going after some passion from our youth or a wild dream about selling pot in Denver or Portland – although that seems to be doing quite well.

If you plan to join the growing number of older folks going at it alone, do it right!

  1. Lay out a plan, and prove it’s feasible before you jump.
  2. Consider all your financing options.
  3. In addition to your IRA, use other people’s money. Consider bank loans or private investors.
  4. Start smaller and focus on becoming cash-flow positive as soon as possible.
  5. Tap your resources. Small business development centers and entrepreneurship centers at colleges and universities offer great help for new small businesses.

Age discrimination is a very real threat to the security of boomers, and don’t plan on it going away anytime soon. So do what you must to beat it. But be careful with your money… In most cases, you won’t be able to replace it.

Good investing,

Steve