Entrepreneurs Look To Make Golden Years Gilded

By Roger Van Scyoc
Centre Daily Times (State College, Pa.)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) While millennials get more attention in both business and popular culture, experts say it’s their elders who are succeeding at higher rates. According to the Kauffman Startup Index, baby boomers are nearly twice as likely to start a business as millennials.

Centre Daily Times (State College, Pa.)

Daniel Supko has spent most of his career in industrial labs, poring over the alchemy of metal, machines and manufacturing.

He’s set to retire from Penn State, where he works as an engineering support specialist, in June.

But Supko, 61, isn’t looking to ride off into the sunset. For someone who has spent most of his life forging something from nothing, old habits, he’s finding, die hard.

“I don’t think I’m fully ready to quit being preoccupied,” he said, laughing.

He’s in good company. On Wednesday, Supko and about 20 others filled a second-floor room of the Penn State Federal Credit Union, learning how to launch a business and, for some, the next chapter of their lives. Supko, for instance, hopes to start his own small manufacturing firm after he retires. He may be getting older, he said, but making money never does.

Hosted by the Penn State Small Business Development Center, the inaugural “Boomer to Business” talk covered topics ranging from negotiating retirement and business income to the qualities older entrepreneurs bring to the table.

“We’ve been in discussions for several months for doing a boomer-to-business workshop because it’s a growing and emerging segment of the population,” said Michael Ryan, a business analyst with the SBDC. “They’re hitting retirement age and deciding it’s not time to call it quits.”

By 2029, more than a fifth of the U.S. population will be older than 65, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and fewer are looking to spend their golden years graying. Compared to the general population, workers 55-and-over are more likely to be self-employed, the BLS reported.

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