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How boomers are creating their own jobs

Posted by on Nov 7, 2012 in HR Issues, Moneyville, Retirement | 0 comments

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      October 29, 2012

Phones and computers aside, virtually any space can be made into a workable office space

by adding a chair, a desk, lighting and storage. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

I retired from my corporate job almost eight years ago, but have never stopped working. After the trade magazine I edited was sold, I decided to put up a website and see if I could make it as a freelance benefits writer and consultant. Within six months I had four steady clients and more work than I could handle.It seems that the more than half a million Canadians who were in the process of starting their own business in June 2012 had the same idea. CIBC World Markets economist Benjamin Tal says only 20 per cent of those who started their own business in the past two years can be considered ‘forced self-employed’ and the fastest growing segment of the start up market is the 50 and over age group. Boomers now account for close to 30 per cent of the total start-ups or double the rate seen in the 1990s.

Whether that is a “good news” or a “bad news” story depends on how you spin it. Daily headlines tell us that many boomers will have to work longer because they haven’t saved enough to finance a long retirement.

Related: Why most businesses fail within the first 3 years

Yet today’s “newly self-employed” are more educated than the general population and more educated than previous entrepreneurs. If you ask them why they are striking out on their own, they may tell you it’s just because they finally can. With a lifetime of experience and a financial cushion to fall back on, there is little downside risk.

Technology and a changing workplace ethos have also made a huge difference. When I interview people and my dog is barking in the background, nobody blinks when I explain I work from home. I paid only a few thousand dollars for my website upgrade completed last spring and now it costs me nothing to market to the whole world without leaving my desk.

I never planned to start my own business, but somehow, I landed on my feet.

Related: 5 things boompreneurs should know

However, if you are considering going solo it’s a good idea to develop a business plan first and arrange at least a preliminary consultation with an accountant and a lawyer. Getting any necessary permits and setting up your books properly can save you a lot of grief later on.

These government websites also have useful information about government requirements:

•    The Canada Business Network
•    Youth Canada
•    Starting a Business in Ontario

Sheryl Smolkin is a Toronto lawyer and writer. Contact her through her website  and follow her on Twitter @SherylSmolkin.

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