A New Day for AgingBy Margaret Franckhauser, President & CEO, NextFifty Initiative September 19, 2017
Opportunities for people later in life continue to expand as lifespans and the desires of the aging populations change. The days of wrapping up a career, living off a pension and staying home to fish and bake are gone (for many, at least). Some people choose to retire – although how that looks has changed; and some choose to restart, launching a new career.
Breaking the Stigma
According to AARP, “A national survey of 2,601 American adults found 67 percent of people age 60-plus are 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with their lives versus 61 percent of people age 18-39 and 60 percent of those respondents age 40-59. While about half (47 percent) of respondents age 18-39 believe it’s 'normal to be depressed when you are old,' just 10 percent of those over 60 feel old age is a depressing life stage.”
Aging doesn’t need to be about what we HAVE to do or what MUST happen when a household income changes after retirement. It’s about the vast opportunities to help people thrive instead of simply survive as they age. Aging can be embraced!
What is an Encore Career?
That said, people are living longer and the cost of living can lend itself to working later in life. For some, it’s about income, but for others, it’s about pursuing passions. Encore careers (a term for a new career launched later in life) are gaining momentum. People are not drudgingly working longer; instead, many are enjoying the pursuit of their passion, making money and contributing financially to society. However, it’s important that we as a society foster opportunities and resources to encourage innovation and inter-generational connection in this changing workforce.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The labor force will continue to age, with the average annual growth rate of the 55-years-and-older group projected to be 1.8 percent, more than 3 times the rate of growth of the overall labor force. The group’s share of the labor force is anticipated to increase from 21.7 percent in 2014 to nearly 25 percent in 2024.”
How does this play into the Longevity Economy?
Earlier this year, Oxford Economics released a report illustrating each state's “percentage of people 50+ living in each county, state population growth by age through 2040, the impact of the Longevity Economy on State GDP, jobs, income, and state & local taxes, consumer spending, workforce participation, and their occupations.”
In Colorado specifically, people over 50 contribute to the economy “in a positive, outsize proportion to their share of the population.” In fact, although this group is 32% of the state’s population the “total economic contribution of the Longevity Economy accounted for 42% of Colorado’s GDP ($134.9 billion).”
A Two-Pronged Conclusion
There are a few key takeaways when looking at the shifting landscape of the aging population.
- The Aging Population is Contributing. The pool of entrepreneurs and diligent workers doesn’t end abruptly at age 55. There are inventors, non-profit founders and employees of the month who are all making a difference in the lives of others and their own well-being.
- There are Vast Opportunities for Innovation. People want to thrive in their later years and the Longevity Economy is focused on finding ways to capitalize on opportunities to make this happen. Whether it is infrastructure, transportation, tech, healthcare or another industry, those entrepreneurs and investors (maybe you?) who want to find a hot market with a lot of potential, look no further.