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August 2015
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October 2015

September 2015

Should Your Life Partner Be Your Business Partner?

OnYourOwnMy wife Sharon and I made a decision to start a business and run it together. We planned to operate it for five to seven years as a transition from professional careers into retirement (which, for us, involves part-time work and volunteering). We ran a successful service business that produced a steady stream of annual income and we were even able to sell it after about six years.

It turns out that we are part of a growing trend -- boomer couples who work together in their own businesses. As you might expect, living and working with your life partner is definitely not for everyone; it presents special challenges that can test your relationship. In our case, we were confident we could make it work. Why? Because we had already learned a lot about working together in two previous companies. (In fact, we first met when we worked for the same company.)

We discovered that we had "business compatibility." We shared the same values and the same attitude toward operating a quality business and servicing clients, but we had uniquely different, complementary skills. While Sharon was detail-oriented and pragmatic, I was more conceptual and creative. While she was cool and even-tempered, I was hotter and more emotional. We appreciated our differences and used them to our advantage.

9780996576000.MAINAfter we sold our business, we thought about the many other boomer couples who might want to start a business together, and we wanted to do something to help them. So Sharon and I wrote a book about it called Let's Make Money, Honey: The Couple's Guide to Starting a Service Business

As much as it is a good story, Let’s Make Money, Honey is also a how-to guide that covers planning, financing, outfitting, and launching a service business, as well as operations, marketing, sales, customer service, and managing growth. Included are useful tools to help couples assess their business interests and compatibility.

Melissa Phipps, retirement planning expert for, says "“This mix of information and specific personal detail involved in getting a business off the ground as a couple makes Let's Make Money, Honey a compelling and useful read." Rick Bava, author of the book, In Search of the Baby Boomer Generation, says Let's Make Money, Honey "is the rare combination of life lessons, business cooperation with your spouse, and a business tutorial." 

If you have an interest in owning a business with your spouse, I think you'll find the book inspiring and instructional. It is available now in print and eBook formats from this blog. (Just look for the "Purchase Now" section to the right.) You can read a free chapter from the book at the link below.

Download Sample Chapter 

A New Kind of Work

OnYourOwnAging boomers could benefit from a trend that is shaping the future of the American economy.

A "thought brief" published by the Roosevelt Institute as part of a project called "The Next American Economy" suggests that, over the next fifteen years, "Three forms of employment will become more and more important: part-time assignments, portfolio careers, and entrepreneurialism."

According to Bowman Cutter, Director of the Next American Economy Project and a Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, "For many, 'work' will increasingly consist of disparate short-term assignments facilitated through a mobile platform. Others, in order to maximize their talent and earnings, will carry a 'portfolio' consisting of a number of these short-term assignments." In addition, writes Cutter, freelance workers will become very common "as the practice of contracting becomes more prevalent..."

Not only that, but "more and more workers will become full-time employees of their own firms, consisting of as few as a handful of employees. As is the case today, the vast majority of job growth in 2040 will come from the growth of small business."

Notice, then, that the American economy may be re-shaped in a way that could be very accommodating to boomers who want to work part-time or on a freelance basis, as well as to those who might consider starting their own small businesses. This new economic environment could make seeking a traditional job a thing of the past, offering boomers new and innovative ways to continue to earn income into their later years.

Read the entire thought brief below.

Download Thought Brief


Data Supports the Idea of the "Entrepreneurial Boomer"

MusingsThe Kauffman Foundation, which studies entrepreneurialism in America, offers a neat infographic that highlights some of the data points related to boomers who are, or want to be, entrepreneurs. Some of the statistics worthy of mention:

  • Boomers are twice as likely as Millennials to be planning to start a new business within a year
  • Almost one-quarter of all new entrepreneurs are over 55 years of age
  • 80 percent of boomers start businesses for lifestyle reasons
  • Boomers are expected to remain in the workforce longer than earlier generations; by 2022, over 40 percent of those over age 55 and 23 percent of those over 65 will still be working.

The boomer generation has reinvented (or "rewired," as I call it) retirement. We are clearly a different kind of generation, living longer lives and wanting to be productive in our later years. Working during the traditional retirement years could be an economic necessity for some, but the data supports the notion that boomers are interested in working, volunteering, or some combination of the two, not just for income but to forge the right balance in their lives as they grow older. Interestingly, it seems many boomers consider working for themselves to be the most attractive lifestyle option.

You can view the infographic here.

Phased Retirement Makes Sense


"Phased retirement" is as good a way as any to describe what a growing number of boomers are doing to rewire instead of retire. A recent article in The New York Times reports on several boomers who left their full-time jobs but continued to work for their employers under a different arrangement.

Steve Norwitz, for example, ran a media relations department at T. Rowe Price, but "now works on specific projects and takes 13 weeks off a year. He accepted a 25 percent cut in pay in exchange for more personal time to spend with his wife, a retired teacher and tutor, and to attend cultural events and travel."

Mike Mouton, worked full-time as an engineer at Halliburton, left the company at the age of 65, and became a "boomerang" retiree -- he went back as a recruiter, working from home for around three years before retiring again. 

This proves at least that creative and flexible work situations can be worked out between departing employees and employers to their mutual benefit. Personally, I'm a big fan of phased retirement. Why shouldn't a boomer be encouraged to help out his former employer while generating income during a transitional period? It could even turn into a long-term relationship that gives boomers the opportunity to participate in the workforce in a whole new way.

There is no question that retirement will be different for most of us -- and "phased retirement" is one good alternative to consider.