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A Golden Opportunity

Tap into this $300-billion market with a new senior-service business.

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This story appears in the November 1997 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

An aging population points to a growing business niche. In 1900, life expectancy at birth in the United States was 49 years. Today, it's 76. Thanks to better nutrition, medical breakthroughs and healthier lifestyles, people who have reached 55 can expect to live into their 80s. There will be a 50-percent increase in the over-70 population in the next three years and a 90-percent increase in the next 10 years, according to Age Wave Communications Corp., a marketing company in Emeryville, California. This aging population represents $300 billion in spending power.

But the incredible news for potential business owners interested in serving this population is that, between now and the year 2030, the number of people over 65 will almost double, according to Sandy Weinberg, a professor of entrepreneurship at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. "This growing market will require products and services that meet its needs," Weinberg says.

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