Media

Identifying Your Ideal Second Act

MediaMy colleague Nancy Collamer specializes in helping Boomers figure out their "second act." I like this concept because it implies Boomers are far from washed up; they have plenty left to be fulfilled and to give to the world. That's one of the reasons I named my blog "Happily Rewired," instead of "Retired."

I highly recommend that you visit Nancy's website, https://www.mylifestylecareer.com/, read her blog posts, check out her book Second-Act Careers, and sign up for her free email newsletter.

When you request the newsletter, you'll also receive a free gift, a workbook entitled "25 Questions to Help You Identify Your Second Act." In it, Nancy makes the point that you should always think about the "why" when you are considering "what" to do next. She gives these examples:

Which of my jobs did I enjoy the most? change the question to: Which of my jobs did I enjoy most - and why?

What were my greatest successes at work? change the question to: What were my greatest successes at work - and why?

What type of people do I like working with? change the question to: What type of people do I like working with - and why?

The workbook covers:

  • Values
  • Skills and Experiences
  • Strengths, Gifts and Talents
  • Hopes, Dreams and (Im)Possibilities

You'll find the workbook very helpful in guiding you toward the future you want.


"RBG" -- A Must-see Documentary that Destroys the Aging Myth

MediaIf anyone typifies the adage that you are only as old as you feel, it is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. At age 85, Ginsburg often works through the night and spends an hour a day with a personal trainer on a physical regimen that would put people half her age to shame. She has even overcome two of the most serious forms of cancer, colorectal and pancreatic, as well as the loss of her husband Marty to cancer.

Her story is brilliantly told in the documentary, RBG, that recently ran in select movie theaters. If you missed it, this is definitely a film you want to catch when it hits the streaming market. While the documentary includes the standard biographical overview of a celebrity, it speaks to the wonderful relationship she had with Marty, who supported and encouraged her at a time when women were not supposed to be working, much less as attorneys. RBG highlights the remarkable achievements of this slight, quiet woman from Brooklyn, New York, who as an attorney won five of six cases before the Supreme Court, paving the way for the equal treatment of women in our society.

Another aspect of the film is invigorating: It depicts how Ginsburg has become a virtual cult hero among young women, proving that age is no barrier when it comes to greatness. The film offers insight into the personal life of Ginsburg, too, humanizing a Supreme Court Justice in an intimate, endearing way. We see, for example, the warm friendship Ginsburg had with Antonin Scalia, her polar opposite on the Court, and her ability to laugh at herself while watching a Saturday Night Live skit parodying her.

Whether you are a Ginsburg fan or not, it is hard not to respect and admire her after watching RBG. I highly recommend it.


Podcast Series Focuses on Creating New Ventures Past 50

MediaIf you like hearing Boomers tell stories about how they've added a spark to life's second half, you might want to listen to the podcast series, "Mature Preneurs Talk." Podcast host and over-50 coach Diana Todd-Banks, who lived and worked in the U.S. for 20 years and is now in Australia, interviews folks in their 50s, 60s, and 70s about starting new ventures.

Recent podcasts have featured a reinvention life coach who has done plenty of reinventing of her own, a blind entrepreneur, and a man who went from mortgage broker to massage therapist to becoming a leading authority on reading people. According to Diana Todd-Banks, "Mature Preneurs Talk podcasts connect guests who’ve created a new venture near or after 50, 60, or 70 with an audience who seek new ideas and options for themselves. Whether a much needed community group, business, or other venture, the guests chat about their earlier life through to deciding what to do, the pitfalls, tips, funny bits, and their unexpected health and life benefits, and in doing so, encourage and inspire the audience of all ages to spring into action to transform their life as they have done. The guests are a dynamic group of inspirational people with extremely diverse activities and amazing stories looking to do more with their third chapter of life. And they definitely are doing that! Mature Preneurs guests demonstrate it’s never too late to start something new, or to follow a long held dream. Taking that step can make the next chapter of life the best ever which the guests and the host clearly demonstrate."

Diana adds, "I’m always on the lookout for more intriguing guests over 50, 60, 70 and yes 80, and if any of your subscribers feel they fit the profile they can send an email to: info@lifestyleagency.com.au  In the subject line put:  re Mature Preneurs Talk Guest Info."

You can find the collection of podcasts here: http://maturepreneurstalk.libsyn.com/

 


Do Yourself a Favor... Age Well

MediaI find stories about people in their 80s and 90s who are relatively healthy and have positive outlooks to be an affirmation that aging is a natural process that doesn't have to be traumatic. It is true that our bodies slow down, creak, and even fail us once in a while, and that our memory isn't what it used to be -- but it turns out that we can do a lot to "age well."

Thankfully, Tara Parker-Pope, the wellness columnist for The New York Times, has prepared a very handy and very comprehensive guide to aging well. It includes brief but authoritative sections: Eat, Move, Think, Connect, and Live Well. It is brimming with simple steps and helpful advice in a short, easy-to-read format. Embedded in the text are numerous links to other articles and research that backs up the content.

Parker-Pope writes, "While you can’t control your age, you can slow the decline of aging with smart choices along the way. From the foods you eat and how you exercise to your friendships and retirement goals — it all has an effect on how fast or slow your body ages."

I highly recommend this useful guide. You can find it here:

https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/how-to-age-well


What "The Vietnam War" Should Mean to Boomers

MediaI've heard a number of reactions from Boomers to the Ken Burns-Lynn Novick film, "The Vietnam War," currently playing on PBS television stations. Some folks are watching it with a sense of deja vu. Others feel uncomfortable investing the time in a documentary that revisits a painful chapter of their lives.

As a piece of film-making, "The Vietnam War" is monumental -- 10 episodes, 18 hours. It took over 10 years to complete. I for one find it quite compelling, less so because of the inevitable violence and gore of war. Some scenes leave me sickened and, I admit, make me hesitant to continue viewing additional episodes. Still, I find the behind-the-scenes story of the war fascinating, as told via previously private presidential tapes, excerpts from hearings, and reporting on the growing war resistance movement. Perhaps most of all, the personal interviews woven throughout the film (including rare commentary from North Vietnamese soldiers), along with the vignettes of those who participated in the war, have a lasting impact. The story of "Mogie" (Denton) Crocker, for example, a young patriot who, despite being underage, joins the Marines and eventually gets killed, dramatizes the very personal and devastating effect of the war on American families.

The Vietnam war was the war of the Boomer generation. It was also the first war that invaded our living rooms on a nightly basis. Whether you were for it or against it, whether you served in the armed forces or were a committed protestor, the war remains inextricably linked to our lives as Boomers. For many of us, the war upended our lives when we were the most vulnerable. For some of us, it ended our lives prematurely.

Yes, "The Vietnam War" is a film that may cause a considerable amount of discomfort as you relive it on television. But it is an important moment in history we cannot and should not forget. It has an eerie relevance to the war in Afghanistan, and also to the lack of faith we continue to have in the leaders of government. When one looks around our world today, there seem to be plenty of Vietnam-like conflicts that remain. As Edmund Burke said, "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."


Hail the Boomer Consumer

MediaDisregard for the Boomer consumer runs rampant in American advertising. There is a good reason for it: Many advertisers and their agencies believe the future is in youth. The rationale is that it pays to invest marketing dollars in reaching younger generations who will hopefully become long-term customers of a brand. In addition, the demographic shift has just put Millennials ahead of Boomers as the largest segment of the population.

Still, studies indicate it is Boomers that have the most collective wealth and the most disposable income in America. That fact is not lost on at least some marketers. In an intriguing commentary for MediaPost directed to marketing professionals, Mark Bradbury writes, "There is a noticeable momentum shift in the marketing of mainstream brands to Boomers." The reason is that brand marketers now see "a significant loss of Boomer consumers that has not been made up for in the acquisition of new Millennial brand users. Having believed that Boomers’ brand loyalty was set in stone, many had hyper-focused on Millennials, only to learn that Boomer customers were more than willing to migrate to competing brands." Bradbury points to research to validate the claim: "Recent trend research from GfK MRI indicates that literally hundreds of CPG brands have lost 20% or more of their Boomer business over just the past five years."

Brands that have been systematically avoiding advertising to Boomers are now paying the price. You would think a demographic segment as large as Boomers (currently over 76 million) would warrant at least some attention. We are not unaware of brands that ignore us, and we are just as capable of switching brand loyalty as a Millennial or younger consumer.

Bradbury cites three examples of brands that not only appeal to Boomers, but also embrace Boomers in their marketing campaigns. Read his article to learn about these brands. We can only hope that they will teach a lesson to a marketing industry that has mistakenly and prematurely tended to cast aside the Boomer. 


How Tech Savvy are Seniors?

MediaThe respected Pew Research Center recently shared in-depth statistics about the use of technology by older adults in the U.S. The data presents a fascinating look at people like you and me who utilize smartphones and the Internet.

To put things into perspective, Pew defines "older adults" as those of us who are 65 years of age and older. That is currently 46 million Americans, or 15 percent of the population. That percentage is projected to grow to 22 percent by 2050. Almost half (42 percent) of these older adults own a smartphone now, a dramatic increase from 18 percent in 2013. Over two-thirds (67 percent) use the Internet, and 51 percent now have broadband connectivity at home. About one-third (32 percent) own tablet computers.

Younger seniors are more tech savvy than older seniors, reports the Pew Research Center:

"Seniors ages 65 to 69 are about twice as likely as those ages 80 and older to say they ever go online (82% vs. 44%) or have broadband at home (66% vs. 28%), and they are roughly four times as likely to say they own smartphones (59% vs. 17%)."

Another aspect of smartphone ownership, Internet usage, and broadband connectivity is not surprising: the more affluent the senior, the higher the usage and availability of technology.

Generally, seniors have a positive impression of technology:

"Fully 58% of adults ages 65 and older say technology has had a mostly positive impact on society, while roughly three-quarters of internet-using seniors say they go online on a daily basis – and nearly one-in-ten go online almost constantly."

The use of social media is mixed. A majority of seniors do not use social media, with just 34 percent saying they ever use social media networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. However, 45 percent of seniors under the age of 75 say they ever use social media.

One of the more telling barriers to technology adoption is confidence. According to Pew Research Center, "just 26% of internet users ages 65 and over say they feel very confident when using computers, smartphones or other electronic devices to do the things they need to do online. ... Roughly one-third describe themselves as only a little (23%) or not at all (11%) confident in their ability to use electronic devices to do necessary online activities."

For me, the data validates what I generally believe about technology usage. As a blogger and digital marketer who has made use of technology for a long time, I know that my comfort level with smartphones and the Internet is higher than many of my generational peers. However, I definitely relate to the relatively low usage of social media by seniors; while I blog and actively use LinkedIn and Twitter for professional purposes, I am not engaged with Facebook.

 Hopefully the data from the Pew Research Center helps you have a better understanding of tech usage by seniors. How does your use of technology fit with others in your age group?


MacLaine Shines in "The Last Word"

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 3.34.40 PM MediaEvery once in a while, I like to talk about a movie that I think has special relevance to Boomers. "The Last Word" starring Shirley MacLaine is a quirky movie that may have slipped under your radar since it had a limited release and didn't get stellar reviews (which usually means it's worth seeing!). My wife and I are likely to see any movie that features Shirley MacLaine (now a spry 82 years old), and we were not disappointed in this one.

MacLaine plays Harriet Lauler, a retired adwoman who is brash, strong willed and at times irascible. Lauler applies her knack for selling products during her career to an unusual desire: She wants to have her obituary created before she dies. This leads to her enlisting Anne Sherman, a young journalist played by Amanda Seyfried, to write the obituary. It would be accurate to define the movie as a dark comedy.

I'd rather not share more of the plot since it will give away too much. Suffice it to say that MacLaine shines like a very bright light, somehow acting the part with gruffness and warmth at the same time. She turns Lauler into a fascinating character study of a very successful businesswoman who has a giant hole in her personal life. One of the more interesting aspects of the movie is Lauler's mother-like relationship with Sherman and grandmother-like relationship with an adorable waif.

There are many messages in this movie about life, love, relationships, and redemption lost and found. MacLaine's tour de force is reason enough to see it. My wife and I, however, rate movies on the basis of whether or not we have something to talk about when we leave the theater, and "The Last Word" prompted a lively discussion.  


5 Good Retirement Tips for Boomers

MediaA special section on Retirement appeared in the Sunday, March 5 edition of The New York Times. In it were a number of informative articles, including making a retirement plan, when and how to save, reinventing careers and repurposing skills, working past the age of 65, and a perspective on Baby Boomer farmers in Iowa who see the land as their retirement plan.

Also in that section, retirement expert Kerry Hannon shares five good retirement tips to implement if you are in your 60s and beyond. You can read more detail on each of these tips in the article here:

1. Get a grip on your retirement income sources

2. Take control of fixed monthly costs

3. Consider working beyond your official retirement age

4. Shift your investments to a more conservative asset mix

5. Plan your withdrawal rates.

 


The Thought-Provoking Movie "Denial"

Media Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 2.44.59 PMIf you like movies that address contemporary issues and make you think, put Denial on your must-see list. Based on a true story, Denial is a tale of a libel case fought in a British courtroom where, unlike in the United States, the defendant is essentially guilty until proven innocent. The case has been brought by a Holocaust-denying historian, brilliantly played by Timothy Spall, against another historian, also well acted by Rachel Weisz, whose Jewish heritage contributes to her moral outrage at being sued for defaming a thoroughly despicable person. The most complex and endearing character in the movie, though, might be Weisz's British attorney. Sensitively portrayed by Tom Wilkinson, the attorney stages an unorthodox takedown of the Holocaust denier in a courtroom scene that ranks among the most memorable in film.

There are many messages in this intricate, thought-provoking movie. It ultimately exhibits a kind of good vs. evil that leaves one feeling vindicated but not entirely satisfied with the outcome. For a movie with little "action" in the traditional Hollywood sense, Denial had that rare ability to keep my wife and I entranced through the story and dialogue alone. I highly recommend it.