Second Acts to Profit From the Longevity Economy
Meet boomers who launched them and see how you can, too
Are you looking for a second act in a growth field? Consider the longevity market — services and products targeting people over 50.
The opportunity is enormous. According to AARP, the economic activity of Americans 50+ is the equivalent of the third largest economy in the world. And by 2040, one out of every five Americans will be over 65. In fact, the demand for professionals is growing so rapidly that this is Careers in Aging Week. Created by the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) it’s designed to bring greater awareness and visibility to career opportunities in the field of aging.
So how can you launch a second act career like this?
Traditionally, caregiving and health care providers have dominated this space. But since boomers (generally speaking) are healthier, better educated and more active than previous generations, a wider variety of services and products will be needed — and wanted — by them as they age.
If you think you’d enjoy working around people in your age group (give or take a few years), below are four examples to inspire your next act. And for more ideas about careers in the aging space, check out the AGHE site’s resources area.
Fitness Classes for People 50+
Working as a physical therapist, Molly Roffman, of Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., saw firsthand the devastating consequences of falls in the lives of her older patients. But she also knew from her studies that those falls were largely preventable. That’s what inspired her to create the Step Wise Now balance program: fitness classes for people over 50 who want to work on their balance skills — before they decline.
Roffman began testing her business concept by teaching balance classes at a variety of local venues. Eventually, the classes became so popular that in 2018 she opened a permanent studio in Briarcliff Manor. Today, she offers a full slate of balance fitness classes to clients from their 50s to their 90s, including Zumba Gold; Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention and Chair Yoga.
Roffman is thrilled by the transformation she sees in her clients, often after just a few classes. “It brings them hope, and they bring me joy,” she said.
Relationship Coach for Women Over 40
After going through a midlife divorce, Sandy Weiner discovered firsthand the challenges of dating as an older woman. “I noticed how clueless most of us are about how to find love,” she recalls.
But as Weiner, who’s based in Fairfield County, Conn., helped her friends improve their online dating profiles, she uncovered a hidden talent for coaching people around relationship issues. When a friend dubbed her the "Man Whisperer," Weiner knew she’d found her calling.
In 2009, she launched Last First Date with services that include private coaching, group coaching, retreats and workshops, both in person and virtually. Weiner, a women’s empowerment coach as well as a life and dating coach, also hosts a podcast about relationships, dating and confidence issues.
“Women who have reached midlife are usually clear about what they don’t want, what they won't tolerate any more, said Weiner. “I love helping them have more intimacy and connection in all their relationships.”
Recommended resources to get started: Weiner earned her life coach certification through the Coaches Training Institute. But much of her training has come from experience, reading continually about relationships and by learning from the experts she interviews for her podcast.
Money Manager/Financial Organizer
In her earlier life as an insurance broker, Karen Rosenberg Caccavo learned how challenging it can be for people to manage their financial lives, especially as they age. So in 2008, she launched Personal Money Manager, a New York City-based boutique firm that offers daily money management and financial organizing services to older adults, their families and caregivers. Two years later, her husband Steve, a seasoned entrepreneur, business consultant and a Certified Senior Advisor, joined the company and the couple are equal partners there.
The Caccavos handle a wide range of tasks for their New York-area clients, including paying bills, managing insurance claims and providing “boots on the ground” support. They’ve also tackled more unusual challenges, such as helping to secure over $10,000 from a client’s pet insurance policy.
“Working with seniors allows me to make a positive impact on people’s lives. And there certainly is a growing need,” said Karen. Added Steve: "I grew up with lots of grandparents, so I always had an affinity for older people. It was an easy transition from business consulting to daily money management — still working with people one-on-one, but I see a greater need for this service. I am using my skills and giving back."
Recommended resources to get started: The couple recommend connecting with the American Association of Daily Money Managers and National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals. You can get a Certified Senior Advisor designation through the Society of Certified Senior Advisors.
Back when Nancy Kessler worked as a therapeutic recreation director at an independent living facility, she loved hearing the residents share their life stories. So, after getting laid off during the economic downturn of 2008, Kessler decided to turn her enthusiasm into a memoir-writing business based in the New York City area, Memoirs Plus.
Kessler works with clients ranging in age from 65 to 100+ to turn their stories into one-of-a-kind keepsake books they can then share with families, friends and future generations.
“I’ve always had a penchant for my elders and now that I have a few grey hairs myself, I find older seniors open up easily to me,” Kessler said.
Recommended resources to get started: Kessler recommends SCORE, a U.S. Small Business Administration-affiliated national group of retired executives for free advice on launching and managing a small business. Many colleges and continuing education programs offer memoir writing classes, too.