Boomers, Markets & Money

A Down-to-Earth Discussion of Financial and Lifestyle Information for Baby Boomers


Resources for Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs

The over 50 set are becoming entrepreneurs

Baby Boomers Open Small Businesses (Click to Enlarge)

Many Baby Boomers are starting small businesses

  • To pursue an interest or goal they didn’t have time for when they were younger
  • For flexibility in work hours or location
  • Persistent unemployment. The 55+ age group has the longest period of unemployment before being hired. Do you think there is age discrimination involved?

One important point I came across when researching this post—Don’t lose your retirement money!

You have less time than other age groups to make up your losses, so take less risk. Don’t use funds that you need to live on in retirement.

Here are some helpful small business resources:

  • Small Business Readiness Assessment. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) online checklist forces you to examine your personality, physical and emotional health, as well as skills and experience. The main strength of the checklist is that it forces you to slow down and really consider the many different factors that are needed to run a successful business.
  •  SCORE, a volunteer resource partner of the SBA, offers free business counseling. Help is available for established businesses, start-ups, and non-profits. Chapters also offer small business workshops. I’m partial to this organization since I volunteer with the Rhode Island chapter.

 Visit the SCORE website at to find:

A mentor. Free, confidential counseling is available face to face or by email.

Chapters near you. Type in your zip code for a map of local chapters.

Online workshops. Many live webinars are offered in English and Spanish.

Templates and Tools. Over 100 articles are available with advice on small business challenges. For example, I found an interesting article “10 Steps to Protect Your Great Idea.”

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Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

I’ve “read” (listened three times on audio book) Johnson’s book and found it educational, entertaining and inspirational. He compares patterns of innovation across nature, cities, and the World Wide Web. Johnson uses an interdisciplinary lens to compare the characteristics that seem to nurture innovation versus ones that stifle it.

Johnson uses fascinating short stories to illustrate his ideas. In one story, we hear how Stephane Tarnier, a French obstetrician, came up with his idea of incubators for newborns in the late 1870s. As a physician to poor women in Paris, he witnessed the high rate of infant mortality. He knew temperature regulation was critical to keeping underweight babies alive. While strolling through the Paris Zoo, he came upon chicks being heated by an incubator. Something clicked in his head and he had the zookeeper build a similar device for the babies. While other warming devices were tried before, Tarnier did something more than come up with a new contraption.  He knew the French medical establishment revered statistics. So as soon as the incubators were introduced, the obstetrician conducted a statistical study of 500 newborns. The incubators almost halved infant mortality in underweight newborns.  Within a few years, incubators were required in Paris hospitals and in the coming decades, were used widely in many countries.  Stories like these made the book come alive for me.

After listening to the audio book, I broke down and bought the book.  I found the appendix enjoyable to look through. It was an interesting chronology of innovation from 1400 to 2000.  I believe anyone who reads Johnson’s book will find useful suggestions for nurturing innovation in their own lives.