Quest for Entrepreneurial Encore is a growing phenomenon
In an era when “Eighty is the New Fifty,” more and more CEOs and business leaders have found that a new round of leadership opportunities, or the chance to bring their honed skills to young or start-up companies, provide a far more interesting and exciting lure than retiring to a sunny beach or sailing into the sunset.
And a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests that rural parts of the country, the West in particular, may be beneficiary of that quest for Entrepreneurial Encores.
According to the report, baby boomers retiring over the next decade will migrate to the countryside in record numbers, a phenomenon that will impact rural economies for years to come and change the way rural-development policy efforts unfold.
The report projects a shift in migration among those 55 to 75 "toward more isolated settings, especially those with high natural and urban amenities and lower housing costs."
As rural communities in Washington State, the West and other parts of the country struggle for some ray of sunshine in the midst of this dark economy, the possibility of attracting a healthy share of those boomers may bring enthusiasm in the gloom and stir new development strategies.
Quality of life is drawing people with innovative ideas to rural areas. In some cases, it is corporate executives who want to more time in their favorite vacation spot while for others it's a chance to come home to a place where they have roots, either personal or family.
And ironically, the current economic challenges impacting the nation may increase the opportunity for rural areas to attract boomers since inexpensive small towns can offer real estate values as well as lifestyle appeal.
The USDA report notes that "selling homes in suburbs for only 70 percent of their appraised value of two years ago still works economically for those willing to consider quiet towns in quiet counties where homes sell for 30-to-40 percent of their suburban equivalents."
But ironically, the trend of Boomers Back to the Country is only one aspect of the growing quest of a a sweep of entrepreneurs from across the generations to seek a new career or new focus.
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