Recent research studies indicate that life expectancy has extended due to scientific advancements that have led to an improved quality of life. As a result, there has emerged a new generation of entrepreneurs comprised of retirees and other mature individuals who intend to pursue their dreams and talents. Senior citizens in a position to exit their lifelong careers are choosing to seek personal fulfillment as a way to ensure their health and longevity.

Researchers from Israel have coined this emerging group “third age entrepreneurs.”  The term primarily refers to “young-old” retirees who are capable of living a productive life for up to twenty years after their retirement. These third age entrepreneurs improve self-satisfaction by remaining active and engaged in their community.

Historically-speaking it is rare for aging individuals to venture into business after retirement.  Now, however, the practice is trending in the United States as senior citizens venture into productive business and nonprofit enterprises on their own. The change is particularly noticeable when related to the reason these entrepreneurs are pursuing work after retirement. To better demonstrate this point, we can divide key motivators into push factors and pull factors. Push factors force individuals into working via guilt, pressure, or other means. Pull factors attract individuals to work without help from an outside force.

Israeli researcher recently conducted a small study on the subject. Preliminary findings indicate that passion is actually a significant pull factor for third age entrepreneurs. Other common motivators included self-fulfillment, self-realization and actualization, enhancing personal well-being, and promoting personal interests. Push factors like peer pressure, family influence, insufficient income, and limited job prospects tended to rank below passion-related pull factors in this particular group of more than 70 participants.

Other interesting tidbits gleaned from the study include the idea that most of these individuals felt it would be unfair of them to stay at home during the peak years of their productivity. Many wished to take advantage of an “excellent state of health.”

More information on this fascinating group of business owners will undoubtedly surface as the last wave of Baby-Boomers, and the first wave of Generation X, make their way towards the currently accepted age of retirement. I am confident that we as a society can learn a great deal of valuable information from an entrepreneurial class with so much life experience.