Baby Boomers, forget about retirement

February 1, 2013 |

The words smacked me in the face…

“Baby Boomers, forget about retirement. We’ll be working for the rest of our lives.”

So began a recent USA Today article, “Boomers Don’t Give Up Your Day Jobs” before going on to cite low retirement savings, higher than expected debt and other financial factors impacting boomers.

As a result, the Employee Benefit Research Institute found 37% of boomers say they’ll have to wait until after age 65 to retire. Even then, a senior researcher at EBRI said, “Some people will need to take on a part time job.”

Who wants to be 65-plus and have your fate depend on someone decades younger “giving” you a j-o-b? Seems pretty risky to me. Besides what if you want to be able to travel or spend winters in a warmer climate? What kind of a portable job could the average person get?

That begs the question, why don’t articles like this ever offer an alternative?

The media and the government alike seem incapable of thinking outside the job box. And I think that’s one of the key reasons why so few people even consider creating their own jobs.

After all, the monthly U.S. federal jobs report tells us how many jobs were created. But there is no such thing as the monthly small business start-up report. If there were I’m convinced that just having that regular entrepreneurial drumbeat alone would surely plant a seed the minds of at least some of the unemployed.

3 Business Ideas Hidden in Plain Sight Inside USA Today

There is no scarcity of ways to make a living without a job. Granted I’ve made it my business to be able to spot income-generating ideas. In fact I created an entire career coaching process that connects the dots between what a person enjoys doing and how they can make money doing it.

To date I’ve trained and licensed over 250 people around the world how to be outside the job box career coaches. Last week I trained another group of “idea people” how they can get paid to brainstorm like I do. That particular class was held at a hotel in San Francisco, which meant that every day I received a complimentary issue of my favorite newspaper – USA Today.

Whether the editors know it or not, virtually every issue contains business ideas hiding in plain sight. Here are three headlines and the entrepreneurial ideas they sparked.

Headline 1: ‘On Looking’ peers into our attention-deficit lives

The subhead, “It’s an exploration of all the things we miss every day,” opens the review of Alexandra Horowitz’s book On Looking: Eleven Walks With Expert Eyes. In short, when we walk down the street, the author says, “We see, but do not see.”

So Horowitz takes the reader on a set of walks mostly in her own Upper West Side Manhattan neighborhood. Walks that take in the view through the eyes of a geologist, an urban sociologist, a typographer, a woman who is blind, a naturalist, a wildlife researcher, a sound designer and engineer, an illustrator, her toddler son, and her dog.

Opportunity knocks

Have an equally curious mind? Then why not enlist the help of local experts to do the same thing in their own neighborhood or corner of your world. Even with only half the number of experts, I can see an entire series of fascinating walks. The finished product could take the form of a printed book like Horowitz’s complete with walking map. Or it could be an audio tour or even an app.

Bonus idea: Approach the local Chamber of Commerce, tourism board, or historic society to see if any funding is available. If not, try to enlist them, along area hotels and bed and breakfasts to sell your finished product or at the least, help get the word out.

Headline 2: Execs learn ethics the Marine Way

Next was a story about a three-day course on ethical leadership for executives. The twist? This one is led by the Marine Corp on a base in Quantico, Virginia. This is no theoretical training. The executives are issued weapons, carry packs and sleep on the cold ground.

Run by Georgia State University, the program grew out of the finding that company CEOs who had served in the military are less likely to be involved in fraud. To impart this same value system that emphasizes ethics and responsibility the course puts participants in high tension ethical decision making scenarios that are disturbingly realistic.

Opportunity knocks

There are only so many people who can go through this – or for that matter any training. That leaves the door open for anyone with leadership experience in the military to put together a similar training. Would it be easy? Of course not. Is it doable? Absolutely.

Headline 3: Boy Scouts may welcome gays

With corporate and public support for the Boy Scouts waning due to its ban on gay Scout and troop leaders, the national organization is reconsidering their policy. Instead decisions on membership and leadership would be up to the local governing councils and sponsoring civic and religious groups.

Opportunity knocks

As the Boy Scouts inch closer to the views and policies of the Girl Scouts, 4-H Clubs, and the US military, this presents opportunities to conduct sensitivity training for leaders of local chapters and parents to address concerns by exploring and debunking stereotypes about gays and lesbians.

Financial strains will still require more people to work well into their golden years. But at least now you know you have a choice: Look to others to give you a job – or follow the news for opportunities to craft your own livelihood.

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