Too Frail To Work, Too Poor To Retire: The Coming Retirement Crisis
Most of us have heard the adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
There is a lot of truth in those words.
Personally, I am an old dog, a dinosaur—a “techno-saurus-rex” when it comes to my cell phone and my computer.
My Baby-Boomer brain just does not “get it.” I feel handicapped every time I have to do something other than making a phone call or use my computer for anything more than a “typewriter.”
I’m thankful that I have a team of young people who grew up with technology working at my company.
In 1973, I was a 26-year-old young man who was charting his future. My poor dad was an old dog at 54 years old. And when the franchise business he had purchased failed, it was a lesson for both of us. That business failed not because the franchise was bad – but because my dad could not shift his mindset from employee to entrepreneur.
What I mean by that is, my poor dad’s thoughts, actions, experiences, and decisions related to that business venture were still those of an employee. He made really foolish decisions that cost him his franchise, his savings, and his early retirement.
One foolish decision was to find a location in a strip small because it was cheap. He and his advisors – fellow school teachers all – naively thought that location did not matter. They believed a national franchise brand would draw people in.
But the location was cheap for one reason: there was almost no foot traffic. It was in the back of the strip-center mall. It would have been a great location for an accountant’s office, but not an ice cream franchise.
The good news is, today, people are living longer.
The bad news is, they may outlive their money.
Today, tens of millions of Baby Boomers are in the same rut my poor dad was in.
The question is, can they change in time before their money runs out?
Greatest Retirement Crisis In The History Of The World
We are in the early stages of the greatest retirement crisis in the history of our nation – and indeed the entire world.
In the decades to come, we will witness hundreds of millions of elders globally – including the Baby Boomers in America – slipping into poverty. Too frail to work and too poor to retire will become the “new normal” for many of our oldest.
Global population demographics (coupled with indisputable glaringly insufficient retirement savings and human physiology) suggest that a catastrophic outcome for at least a significant percentage of the world’s elderly population is inevitable.
If you think you can save your way to a secure retirement, you’re crazy.
If you want true financial freedom after you’re done working, you need to learn how to be an entrepreneur and investor – to operate on the right side of the CASHFLOW® Quadrant.
I believe it’s not too late for Baby Boomers to have a secure financial future despite the falling pension system and that’s by being their own boss—by starting their own businesses.
Baby Boomers Make The Best Entrepreneurs
According to CNBC, a Kauffman Foundation report shows, “Boomers are twice as likely as Millennials to be planning to start a new business. The foundation also found in their 2016 Startup Index that 24.3% of all new entrepreneurs fall between the ages of 55 and 64.”
Moreover, the report shows that while millennials make up 25% of all entrepreneurs, that number is in the decline, and “the Boomer percentage has been quickly increasing.”
The Kauffman Foundation report defines one quality that helps baby boomers become successful entrepreneurs: experience.
While the young may have high energy and passion, they can’t beat the boomer’s experience both on a personal and a professional level.
Now, why would baby boomers start new companies rather than retire?
The short answer is that they’re not in a position to retire in the traditional sense. For certain folks, the prospect of working after retirement can seem like a big negative. But, a change of mindset can open up new possibilities.
So, there are two bits of good news, actually: you aren’t too old to start a business (even if you’re coming up or at retirement age), and it can actually be a lot of fun.
(Once this asset takes off again, the biggest gains will be made by those who get in quick right at the start. Go here to see all the details.)
Five Entrepreneurship Strengths For Baby Boomers To Build
If you’re attracted to the idea of being an entrepreneur in your retirement years, you need to know it’s a muscle you need to build.
Here are five strengths that are required to be a successful entrepreneur:
#1 Have A Thick Skin
It seems that as soon as you announce you are starting a business, everyone’s an expert in starting a business.
Not everyone will love your idea or product, and they won’t be afraid to tell you. I’m not saying you shouldn’t listen to criticism, but you have to be able to take the punches and not take everything personally.
#2 Get Used To Being Constantly Connected
As an entrepreneur, there really isn’t such a thing as “disconnecting” from the world, not in the beginning anyway.
You’ll be living and breathing your new company while trying to educate everyone about your business. You’ll be constantly thinking about how to improve things, reduce costs, and sell more. There is no such thing as a 9-to-5 work schedule when you’re an entrepreneur.
#3 Build Up Your Confidence
Confidence is important. It’s necessary to help you overcome that Little Voice in your head that causes the stress in your life. And that stress is what’s preventing you from advancing to the next level.
Have you ever said any of the following?
- “I’m not successful enough.”
- “I’m not a good enough business person.”
- “I’m not smart enough.”
- “I can’t.”
- “I’m too tired.”
- “I’m too old.”
- “Nobody’s going to like it.”
- “Who wants to hear from me?”
All the chatter your Little Voice makes when you’re thinking about the next challenge is pretty poisonous. Identify your Little Voice and get to understand where it comes from. Why are you letting it stop you dead in your tracks? No one wants to be stuck on the same level, over and over again.
For every win you experience, your confidence level goes up. And as we’ve already established, the higher your confidence, the less stress you have. When you have less stress and more confidence, you’re more willing to take on the larger complexities of life and business. You can play bigger games.
#4 Become Your Own Motivation
Similar to needing praise, if you need external motivation, you shouldn’t be an entrepreneur either.
When you wake up in the morning as an entrepreneur, there isn’t someone standing in your kitchen ready to give you that day’s tasks. It’s all on you. Get comfortable with being the person who motivates you to keep going each morning.
#5 Learn To Wear Multiple Hats
There are people I know that are only comfortable being an accountant, or a writer, or an event planner.
These people are only comfortable doing one thing and, as such, should never be an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, especially a solopreneur, you are often putting on different hats, making a multitude of decisions and you need to be confident in doing so.
Baby Boomer Business Plan
There’s a lot more that goes into starting a company, from business plans to corporate structures to getting the right funding. But these core strengths discussed today are the foundation by which all those other things become successful.
It all starts with mindset. If you don’t have the right one, all your efforts will be doomed to fail.
So, today, take a look in the mirror and ask, “What do my retirement years look like?”
If you find yourself doubting or concerned about the next five years, maybe it’s time to start your path to becoming an entrepreneur.
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily