August 22, 2017 / Published 11:00 AM EST / Kate Summers

Business is boomering

What do McDonald's, KFC, The Huffington Post and Starbucks all have in common? They were all founded by individuals over 50 years old!

“Entrepreneur" is no longer a term solely defined by young, college dropouts based out of Silicon Valley. In fact, the rate of entrepreneurship among boomers (individuals aged 55 or older) has exploded. They are the fastest growing demographic of entrepreneurs, now making up 25% of entrepreneurs aged 20 to 64. This percentage has increased by 10% over the past 20 years, according to a study done by the Kauffman Foundation. People are living longer, staying healthy, and wanting to keep themselves engaged. Boomers are becoming entrepreneurs for various reasons: they are bored of retirement, they are financially secure (or insecure, and are looking for additional income), they want to be their own boss, they want to pursue a passion, they have difficulty in finding new work, or they are searching for a feeling of self-worth, and a heightened standard of living.

Our increasing life expectancies also mean that we need more money to fall back on in our additional years of retirement. Since the average Canadian retires at age 62, and the average life expectancy is 84, you should be able to finance 22 years of life after work.

Becoming an entrepreneur allows Boomers to utilize their years of valuable life skills and experience, large network of connections, and education to create amazing businesses.

Take Terry Summers. After a successful career in the financial services industry, Terry decided to head back to school to pursue his passion for landscape design. I sat down with him to discuss entrepreneurship as a Baby Boomer.

Why did you decide to start up your own business?

"After a couple of years of enjoying life away from the corporate environment, I felt it was time to get back to interacting with people and doing something I had done in my university years for a summer job, which I had enjoyed immensely.

I initially thought I would take the landscape design program out of pure interest, then saw an opportunity to turn it into a viable business!"

How did you get the ball rolling to start up your own business?

"I met another student in the program, and we decided to partner in this business. We have complementary skills - I focus on architectural design, and my partner has a huge amount of knowledge regarding the world of plants.

We are both of a generation where initial potential clients were more accessible to us than they would be to Generation X students, and the business grew through a network of referrals."

What advice would you give to Boomers looking to start up their own venture?

"Don't be afraid! Take some risks. Follow your heart and get active."

What is the best part of running your own business?

"The latitude to control what I do, and when I do it."

Not only are more Boomers starting up businesses such as Terry's - these businesses, propelled by passion, experience, and knowledge, are among those the most likely to succeed. Companies started by individuals 55 or older have a 50% survival rate over eight years, higher than those founded by any other age group.

If you're interested in starting up your own business, no matter your age, talk to your financial advisor today.

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