Forget Retirement, Start a Business

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Coming soon, brought to you by the wave of 76 million Baby Boomers entering their Golden Years: business start-ups instead of retirement.

That's the way John Rhett, chairman of SunTrust Investment Services, a unit of Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks (STI) (Stock Quote: STI), is starting to see it.

Rhett, based on retiring clients who have approached him and his colleagues for guidance on how to start a new business, thinks we are now seeing "the first inning" of a trend that could reshape the small-business landscape.

(STI) TheStreet spoke to him about how the newest generation of retirees differ from all others.

(STI) What is driving this desire to not only keep working, but to start a new business?

Rhett: Some of it is among people who have been in financial straits, having either been laid off or forced to take early retirement. They are still willing and wanting to work, and they have to find an alternative.

(STI) There are a lot of sleepless nights out there in the Baby Boomer world -- no doubt about it. They are looking at their 401(k)'s, and they are still down maybe an average of 15% to 20% and maybe even more. So they are saying, 'OK, my 401(k) isn't going to do what it would have in the past, what are my alternatives?' "

They are not really comfortable being more aggressive in the traditional sense within their 401(k)'s as far as equities and things like that, so they are looking at other ways to get a higher return, and that entrepreneurial side to things -- starting their own business -- is one of the things people are looking at.

(STI) A lot of this entrepreneurial desire is also more on the social side: "I'm too young to just sit back in my rocking chair or play golf."


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