I started a new company this fall. It’s called Next For Me. We publish a weekly newsletter that’s a resource to post-50 life for new work, a new purpose, or a new social contribution. You can subscribe right here.
It began to add up for me. There are 76 million baby boomers in total. The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060.
Over 40% aren’t financially prepared for a life without traditional income past 65. People are living significantly longer than when big programs like Social Security were put in place. Pensions have been cut from most careers outside of government. The Government Accountability Office said in an October report, “If no action is taken, a retirement crisis could be looming.”
The companies of today are not prepared to welcome and employ older employees with meaningful work. Hiring and support for the unique needs of the audience is lacking. Most HR departments are just beginning to acknowledge the need to address these workers in new ways. In fact, ageism is as prevalent as ever in the workplace.
And still, 60% say the most important thing they look for in a job is meaningful work.
Many are looking at next careers or how to evolve in their existing industries in ways that will account for the wisdom and experience they bring to their work. In some forward-thinking organizations mentoring programs have emerged. The roles can be exchangeable too. A unique perspective from a younger worker might keep the older worker up to date on industry trends. In return, the more senior worker can provide advice on decision making or some “been there, done that” common sense.
The staggering numbers and the volume of news on the topic is astounding. I want to track the evolution of this roaring tsunami, the outcomes of changing financial models, responses in the workplace and how communities adapt.
How I Got To This Point
Coincidentally or not, two friends were publishing about the subject and I spent time with them both in October when I was in San Francisco to speak at a conference on the topic.
Chip Conley, had just finished a book “Wisdom@Work: The Making of a Modern Elder*” about his time as a mentor to the young founders of airbnb. He introduced the notion of a “Modern Elder” in this Harvard Business Review article “I Joined Airbnb at 52, and Here’s What I Learned About Age, Wisdom, and the Tech Industry“.
Chip was very encouraging when I started with the kernel of an idea and he asked me to follow up with a high level plan. As I started working through the project at the url nextforme.com both Chip and Karen came on board to advise me. Other longtime colleagues came on as advisors too: Pam Kramer, Carole McManus, Clare Martorana, Alex Mostoufi, Drew Domkus and Firas Bushnaq, the Partner of the incubator Boxador where I reside as an Entrepreneur in Residence.
As a new year begins I can report that the subscriptions are doubling every week. I can not keep up with the amount of news on the subject as we find our editorial voice. Doors are opening from far flung and influential circles. It’s all very exciting. I hope you’ll come along.
Now please, Won’t you subscribe?
- photo by Robyn Jay
- Chip Conley’s book will be published in September, 2018 by Crown Books.