Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tapping The Second Career Overachievers

Brevard, NC has a median age of 44.6 years compared to the national average of 35.3 years. That raised a red flag for me as I reviewed their data prior to my tour and talk. However, my initial concern quickly subsided when I saw that in the case of Brevard it was a major asset rather than a case of a town “aging in place.”

Mark Burrows quickly put my fears to rest, “We are blessed to have a number of very wealthy retirees choosing to move here. Some are very talented and wanting to give back. We’ve tried to tap into their talents.”

In 2004, Burrows set up the Retiree Resource Network to utilize a group of 60 or so retirees with existing and new businesses. One of the early volunteers, Bill Layton, who had worked for Holiday Inn, KFC and Proctor & Gamble, today coordinates the activities of the Network.

Layton told me, “We have 15 retired CEOs of Fortune 500 companies who have retired here. We’ve got a wonderful mix of business experience to call upon. My youngest volunteer is in his 40s and my oldest is an 84 year old former group president for Black & Decker. He has the energy of the 40 year old.”

Layton has been taking the example of the Retiree Resource Network to the National Active Retirement Association. With retirees retiring younger and often with more of their life in front of them than in the rear view mirror, programs like this make a lot of sense for other communities with a large retiree base. I hope that others copy.


Dan said...

The challenge has always been, "How do we engage these experienced, sometimes wealthy retirees?" They are often detached from the communities the relocate to after retirement. California's rural communities, especially in the Sierras (e.g. around Lake Tahoe) and coast (e.g. south of Fort Bragg)have very high median age, high net worth, and experienced populations. Creating opportunities to engage and tap these individuals may be the next Gold Rush, but in this case, a Entrepreneurial Mind Rush. Linking these experienced individuals with young potential entrepreneurs will be the key!

BoomtownUSA said...

Dan: You make an excellent point on the detachment of many of these retirees. I wonder if it is due to their lack of interest or that no one asks for their help?

Everything that I’m seeing in my travels indicates to me that these new retirees, who are retiring at an ever decreasing age, want to me more involved and active. They don’t want to just go sit on the beach, play shuffleboard or even golf all of the time. They are looking for a challenge.

I think that you are right on the mark with your comment of “creating opportunities to engage and tap these individuals may be the next Gold Rush.” Which communities reach out to them could be our winners in this new century.