The Wall Street Journal's In Charge Blog has an interesting post asking if baby boomers start businesses out of need or ennui?
This question got me thinking, and not just because I thought an ennui was a large, ostrich-like bird that lived in Australia.
One of the key forecasts in our Changing Face of Small Business report from 5 years ago was that baby boomers would increasingly choose to work for or start small businesses instead of pursuing traditional retirement.
The primary driver for this forecast could probably be summarized as ennui (or ennui avoidance). We included financial need as a reason for the forecast, but the focus was that boomers would work past traditional retirement to stay active, involved and contribute.
Then the Great Recession hit. It quickly became clear that need was going to bigger driver than we first felt. As we said in a fall, 2008 blog post:
Our pre-financial crisis forecast was that over half of all baby boomers would choose some form of non-traditional retirement ... The financial crisis means that even more baby boomers will choose non-traditional retirement. We also expect that over the next decade workforce participation rates and small business formation rates by aging boomers to be higher than our prior expectations.
Despite the Great Recession, most baby boomers we've talked to who recently started a business say they are driven more by a continued interest in working rather than financial need.
But many also tell us that starting their own business was their only alternative. There simply weren't other work options available.
So we think a lack of jobs and a lack of job alternatives need to be added to the list of reasons why aging boomers are increasingly starting small businesses.