For the Year of the Boomer -- 2014 is the year the youngest Boomers turn 50 -- here is another installment in my survey of 50 Boomers across 10 career categories who have reinvented themselves within the last 10 years.
After more than 43 years together, Pat and Mary Sculley retired from retirement.
"I just got bored," says Pat (as reported in the Dallas Morning News). After a career at Electronic Data Systems, where he rose to a group President in the company's Japanese division, Pat and his wife Mary retired to Scottsdale, where he pursued some non-profit consulting, and Mary continued to work.
Clearly, something was missing, and they moved back to Dallas where they took some of their retirement savings and invested in a health and wellness franchise, The Exercise Coach. The company has 21 locations in seven states, and Pat and Mary initially opened two in the Dallas area in 2013, and another one this year. They are planning to expand further in the Dallas area with another two stores in the next year.
When we think about mid-life career changes, I'm sure many of us have daydreamed about pursuing something that was lucrative, stimulating, and did some good in the process. If that dream isn't good enough, how about adding something that totally supports our health and fitness -- AND we can partner with our spouse? It would appear that Pat and Mary have hit the Trifecta of career reinventions by choosing their particular path.
With all of the franchise opportunities out there, choosing to go with The Exercise Coach looks like a very shrewd decision. As Pat and Mary -- both born in 1948 -- have no doubt observed, the issues of health and obesity are rampant. These challenges are only getting more pronounced for aging Boomers. The Exercise Coach addresses this problem with an exercise program that is designed to be accessible to a very wide clientele who are otherwise intimidated by big gyms and high-intensity exercise regimens -- a perfect for mula for Boomers, who can get great results with a moderate and steady exercise program.
Pat and Mary are riding the wave of an entrepreneurial boom, due in no small part to the economic developments over the past ten years. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation that tracks entrepreneurship issued a study in 2009 predicting that the U.S. might be on the verge of an such a boom "not in spite of an aging population but because of it." Despite focus in the media on youthful technology startups, and how young innovators are changing the business landscape, the Kauffman study shows that entrepreneurial activity is 33% higher in the older age group (55-64) than it is in the younger group (20-34).
Career reinvention, then, is not only possible at this later stage, it is actually becoming the norm. The Sculleys represent the confidence and determination that life experience can provide to the budding entrepreneur. After all, they took the risk of becoming small business owners in a field where they had no prior experience. What they seem to have found -- and this is the inspiration for all of us -- is that good business skills, common sense, and an open attitude can overcome that inexperience. It's not at all about "being too old" to do something like this. In fact, (and I think this is what the Kauffman study also reflects) being older probably had a lot to do with their venture's success.