Aging & Older Adult Services

In what might be a surprising trend, a Kauffman Foundation report notes that boomers make up a rising share of entrepreneurs.That's not surprising to Detroit-based Purpose Prize winner Randal Charlton. He says said the trend is being driven by people living longer and boomers' genuine interest in civic ventures.

The recession's toll on jobs and retirement savings has kept a lid on the number of people transitioning to socially conscious careers in the second half of life. To make such moves more financially feasible, Civic Ventures supports midlife internships and encore fellowship programs, including a new initiative by Intel. The group also has also started the annual Purpose Prizes, $100,000 awards to five people over 60 who devote their encore careers to social causes.

Experience Matters' centerpiece program is Encore Fellowships, placing highly skilled executive retirees in half-time positions for a year (a $20,000 stipend underlines that it's a serious commitment). Fellows' accomplishments range from strengthening a museum's finances to developing a long-range plan to make senior centers more efficient and effective. (This story also appeared in The Arizona Republic.)

The recent recession has forced boomers to stay employed an average of 2.1 years longer than they planned on before the downturn. Civic Ventures and MetLife Foundation says that around 31 million workers ages 44 to 70 are in the transition between midlife careers and more meaningful jobs, but these people may find themselves struggling financially.

What is an encore career? That’s the new buzz phrase being used for people reaching the midpoint of their lives who no longer want to be just “doing a job.” They want a job or career that has more meaning for them.

An estimated 31 million people ages 44 to 70 are interested in transitioning to socially oriented encore careers, according to new survey findings from MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures. But respondents’ answers suggest that about 40 percent are staying put because of financial problems.

Boomers apparently don't simply want to volunteer, they want to start and run their own nonprofits. In a recent study by Civic Ventures and MetLife Foundation, some 12 million boomers said they plan to start either a socially conscious business or a nonprofit during their "retirement" years. In other words, boomers plan to give back in a big way.

A new survey by MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures estimates that 31 million people between ages 44 and 70 are interested in encore careers. But 40 percent of them say they haven't made the switch yet because they aren't secure enough financially.

As many as 31 million people ages 44 to 70 want encore careers that combine personal meaning, continued income and social impact, according to new research from MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures. “There's a big payoff from encore careers, for individuals and for our entire society,” says Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Civic Ventures.

Data show millions of Americans are already in what social observers call "encore careers" and millions more want to join them. A recent study from MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures says 9 million Americans between ages 44 and 70 have encore careers, up from 8.4 million in 2008.

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