The Changing View of Retirement

Think-2177813_1280A revealing new Harris Poll conducted by the firm Age Wave has confirmed substantial shifts in Americans’ perceptions of aging and longevity. The study surveyed over 2,000 U.S. adults, including over 900 adults age 50 plus.

Here are some key takeaways from the survey.
 
“OLD” ISN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE

The survey found that 79% of adults 50+ think today’s older adults are more active, and 58% say they are more open-minded and curious compared with the previous generation.
 
Correspondingly, the definition of what’s considered “old” today is changing. The survey found that while age 60 was considered “old” in their grandparents’ time, now age 80 is the median age considered “old” today.
 
Our vocabulary is starting to reflect this shift. When discussing growing older, 69% of U.S. adults 50+ find the term “longevity” more appealing than “aging.” The positivity felt by older adults is in stark contrast to the bias against them in the media, where they are still frequently portrayed as frail, grumpy, or incoherent. In fact, older adults are seven times more likely to be represented with negative stereotypes in the media.
 
OUR HEALTHSPANS DON’T MATCH OUR LIFESPANS

In recent decades, we have successfully extended our lifespans, but our healthspans (i.e., the years of dependable good health) have not kept up, remaining at an average of 66 years. Americans will spend a median of 12 years living with a disability or serious disease. Looking globally, the U.S. ranks #1 in healthcare expenditures per capita but only #68 in healthy life expectancy.
 
TRADING THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH FOR THE FOUNTAIN OF USEFULNESS

In this new age of aging, the importance of youthfulness has been replaced by usefulness. The survey found that 83% of U.S. adults 65+ say it’s more important for them to feel useful than youthful in their retirement years.Today’s elders increasingly want a continued sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.
 
ANXIETY PLUMMETS, HAPPINESS SOARS WITH AGE

Modern elders feel happier, more free, and less anxiety-ridden than younger generations. Today’s modern elders aren’t just looking back, reminiscing on the good old times. 71% of Americans 65+ say the best time of their lives is right now or in front of them.
 
THE DEFINITION OF “RETIREMENT” IS CHANGING

Today’s modern elders are dismantling long-held cultural beliefs and social norms about how older adults are supposed to look and act. They are eager to pursue new dreams, adventures, and goals, with 97% of adults 65+ agreeing that it’s important to stay curious and be willing to learn new things throughout life’s later years. Similarly, 66% of Americans age 50+ see retirement as a new chapter in life, while only 16% say it’s principally a time for rest and relaxation.
 
With these changing views of what retirement should look like, 59% of pre-retirees and retirees say they want to work in some form in retirement. Employee benefits like flex-work, remote-work, sabbaticals, and paid leave can help retain older workers and fuel economic growth.
 
LIFE LESSONS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT LEGACY

As famous psychologist Erik Erickson wrote, “I am what survives of me.” The study shows that 65% of adults 50+ think that values and life lessons are the most important thing to pass on to their heirs and loved ones. Only 22% said financial assets and/or real estate were the most important.

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Rewiring Retirement as a Tech-Savvy Boomer

Laptop-g0096615c7_1280In general, Boomers are given far less credit than they deserve when it comes to embracing information technology. The fact is, Boomers are very plugged in to the use of online tools and streaming services. The AARP 2022 Tech Trends report indicated the following: "Three in four people age 50-plus say they rely on technology to stay connected, with those in their 50s (76%), 60s (79%), and 70s (72%) all exceeding 70%."

You may be part of the healthy segment of the Boomer demographic that is tech-savvy, which could translate into opportunities for personal gratification and supplemental income. An increasingly common way to take advantage of technology is to become part of the "gig economy." There are almost limitless opportunities for online gigs that don't discriminate on the basis of age. The tech-savvy Boomer can easily compete for projects of all types as long as you have the know-how in a specific discipline.

An obvious area you can leverage is social media. For example, while TikTok has been under fire lately, it remains one of the most lucrative online channels available for influencers. A recent article in The New York Times spotlighted older TikTok creators, suggesting:"No matter what their age or finances, some elder influencers are finding that being on the app can bring them extra cash, or even help them extend their careers."

According to the article, "These creators have been finding success by sharing life lessons and fashion tips, cooking, interacting with grandchildren or just being funny — while also promoting products. ...For the vast majority of influencers, the income from these gigs may not be enough to retire on, but it can help give their later-year finances a boost and even give them extra money to invest."

LinkedIn is another useful social media avenue for professional and business pursuits. Boomers can create a richly detailed personal profile, make connections, join groups and find opportunities by building a personal network. There are also many online job boards that offer tech-related gig opportunities.

With the dramatic increase in and acceptance of remote work, it is no longer necessary for Boomers who want part-time work to be limited to in-person jobs. Working from home offers the kind of convenience and flexibility that could be ideal for semi-retirement. The tech-savvy Boomer (or one who is willing to learn) can take full advantage of this new work environment and get the best combination of a part-work/part-leisure lifestyle.

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How Passion Translates Into Part-Time Income

Investment-3247252_1280The Boomer version of retirement is a new paradigm -- utterly different from past generations. One thing that has dramatically changed for Boomers is the reality that living longer means saving longer. In order to support themselves as they age, many Boomers are realizing they need more money than they originally thought to live comfortably.

A recent article appearing in PlanAdviser.com does a good job of characterizing the challenge. As retirement coach Nancy Collamer points out, “The fact of the matter is that a lot of people have gotten to this point [of retirement], and they haven’t saved enough. Working on a part-time basis becomes a real area of interest for these people.”

A main reason Boomers consider part-time work is to supplement other income, such as Social Security and retirement savings. For some Boomers, these sources simply don't provide enough of a financial security blanket. Research conducted by AARP suggests that the "gig economy" is alive and well for Boomers. According to PlanAdviser.com, "For those age 60 and older, [AARP] found the top ways of earning money without a full-time job include freelance or contract work (48%), teaching (16%), providing pet care (8%), doing home repair, such as handyman, lawn care, or snow removal (6%), shopping for others (6%), and making or growing things (6%)."

The PlanAdviser.com article cites this quote from an AARP executive:

“Among the 65-plus age group, entrepreneurial, gig, or nontraditional work has exploded,” says Carly Roszkowski, vice president of financial resilience programming for the DC-based AARP. “COVID has made us rethink how we want to live and the kind of flexibility we want; the gig or freelance work allows people to work when they want, be their own boss and have that work-life balance.”

Interestingly, the recent pandemic probably helped Boomers feel more comfortable using digital platforms and websites to engage in part-time work.

The key to part-time work for many Boomers is to combine their passion with an income-generating opportunity. George Fraser, managing director at the Fraser Group of Retirement Benefits Group, tells PlanAdviser.com, “[Retirees] can look for things they already like to do and get paid for it. Let’s say I like golf, but rather than pay for a membership, I get a part-time job at the club. If I like to ski, I could get work as a ski instructor.”

I can attest to this strategy. For several years after I first retired as a direct marketing professional, I pursued my passion for writing, both for personal enjoyment and for part-time income. In addition to writing articles and books for my own benefit, I freelanced for a few clients, generating modest but steady income. This offered me a bit of "fun money" and reinforced my professional self-esteem.

Even if your passion is not in the same area as your career, you can pursue something that could turn into part-time work. It doesn't have to be anything very lucrative. Your goal should be to do something you enjoy while bringing in a little extra money. The idea is to reduce some of the financial pressure by supplementing your other sources of retirement income.  

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Is America Ready for an Aging Population?

Social-media-gdc35ca6f6_1280It is not as if we did not know it was coming -- but new data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau suggests an America that is aging, with people generally living longer. According to the Census Bureau:

  • Between 2010 and 2020, median age in the U.S. grew older due to an increase in the older population.
    • In 2020, there were 55.8 million people age 65 and over in the United States (16.8% of the total population), up 38.6% from 40.3 million in 2010. This growth primarily reflected the aging baby boom cohort.
    • Centenarians grew 50% since 2010, the fastest recent census-to-census percent change for that age group.
    • For people age 70 and over, the male population experienced a larger growth rate between 2010 and 2020 (42.2%) than females (29.5%).
  • In 1970, after all the Baby Boomers (1946-1964) had been born, half of the population was younger than 28.1 years old. By 2020, the median age was 38.8, an increase of more than 10 years over the past five decades.
    • In 2020, the population age 45 and over accounted for 42% of the total population, up from 27% in 1940, the census before the Baby Boom began.
    • The share of the population age 65 and over more than doubled between 1940 and 2020, from less than 7% to nearly 17%.
  • Among the states in 2020:
    • Fourteen states had a median age over 40, twice as many as in 2010.
    • Twenty-five states had higher shares of population age 65 and older than Florida had in 2010 (17.3%), when it had the highest share of any state. In 2020, Maine had the highest share at 21.8%, followed by Florida (21.2%) and Vermont (20.6%).

These statistics tell a cautionary story when it comes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. With a burgeoning older population, a looming question about these social programs is, of course, their solvency. The statistics have other implications; for example, there will be a greatly expanded need for caregivers to serve aging Americans in their homes, as well as an increase in the availability of independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities.

It is important to understand that this is not just occurring in the U.S. but around the world. According to the World Health Organization:

By 2030, 1 in 6 people in the world will be aged 60 years or over. At this time the share of the population aged 60 years and over will increase from 1 billion in 2020 to 1.4 billion. By 2050, the world’s population of people aged 60 years and older will double (2.1 billion). The number of persons aged 80 years or older is expected to triple between 2020 and 2050 to reach 426 million.

While this shift in distribution of a country's population towards older ages – known as population ageing – started in high-income countries (for example in Japan 30% of the population is already over 60 years old), it is now low- and middle-income countries that are experiencing the greatest change. By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population over 60 years will live in low- and middle-income countries.

Is America -- and the rest of the world -- ready to meet the challenges associated with an aging population?

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"Cannonballs, Curveballs and Windfalls"

Old-gf3393bdba_1920The third iteration of a landmark retirement study by Age Wave, Edward Jones and The Harris Poll has just been released. It sheds some intriguing light on three types of events that retirees have experienced: "Cannonballs, curveballs and windfalls." 

According to the study:

Since retiring, a large majority of retirees (75%) have experienced cannonball events, major challenges that can derail a plan, or curveballs, relatively minor occurrences that cause setbacks. According to the research, the most common cannonballs and curveballs include having a family member or close friend pass away (42%), personal health issues (30%), coping with a spouse’s or partner’s health issues (21%) and significant financial setbacks (20%). The most impactful, however, are widowhood and divorce, which retirees say are profoundly disruptive to their lives. For some, retirement itself can be a cannonball, as 3 in 10 retirees (29%) said they were forced to retire unexpectedly.

On the other hand, 80% of retirees have experienced at least one windfall event, a positive gain often described as “good fortune” or a “blessing.” The most fulfilling windfalls for retirees include becoming a grandparent, taking a dream vacation and discovering a new or renewed purpose in life. One of the biggest surprises was that aging and retirement itself appear to provide a kind of windfall to many. The study revealed that feelings of freedom, happiness and resilience all peak in retirement, while anxiety hits its lifetime low.

The study suggested that pre-retirees and current retirees know they will face challenges and are willing to make "course corrections." The study defined course corrections as the positive actions that pre-retirees and retirees are already taking or considering to improve their retirement journeys. Course corrections are motivated, and often necessitated, by life events that change the circumstances and goals of one’s life plan.

The study breaks retirement into four key pillars: Health, Family, Purpose and Finances. Sample course corrections in each of the four pillars include:

  • Health: Habits including healthy diet, regular exercise and mental stimulation can dramatically improve healthspan, lifespan and well-being in retirement
  • Family: Spending more quality time with family (and less time with toxic people) can be very fulfilling, but setting emotional and financial boundaries can be just as worthwhile
  • Purpose: There are many personal paths to purpose, and people can explore familiar options — trying new things, expanding their social circles to enrich their lives and even reinventing themselves with new dreams
  • Finances: Given the many tools beyond the basics of increasing savings and minimizing debt, it is wise to seek trusted, holistic guidance when considering options and weighing tradeoffs.

To access the full report, “Resilient Choices: Trade-Offs, Adjustments and Course Corrections to Thrive in Retirement” visit https://www.edwardjones.com/newretirement

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The Loneliness and Isolation Epidemic

Man-gbfa57a5dc_1920Recently, the United States Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, released a new Surgeon General Advisory calling attention to the public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection in our country. Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately half of U.S. adults reported experiencing measurable levels of loneliness.

According to Dr. Murthy, “Our epidemic of loneliness and isolation has been an underappreciated public health crisis that has harmed individual and societal health. Our relationships are a source of healing and well-being hiding in plain sight – one that can help us live healthier, more fulfilled, and more productive lives.”

The notion of a loneliness and isolation epidemic should be startling news to many people, but it may come as no surprise to older adults. As we age, loneliness and isolation become increasingly common. Unfortunately, as the Surgeon General Advisory states, there are health implications: "Loneliness is far more than just a bad feeling—it harms both individual and societal health. It is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, depression, anxiety, and premature death."

The Surgeon General’s Advisory lays out a framework for the United States to establish a National Strategy to Advance Social Connection based on six foundational pillars:

  1. Strengthen Social Infrastructure: Connections are not just influenced by individual interactions, but by the physical elements of a community (parks, libraries, playgrounds) and the programs and policies in place. To strengthen social infrastructure, communities must design environments that promote connection, establish and scale community connection programs, and invest in institutions that bring people together.
  2. Enact Pro-Connection Public Policies: National, state, local, and tribal governments play a role in establishing policies like accessible public transportation or paid family leave that can support and enable more connection among a community or a family.
  3. Mobilize the Health Sector: Because loneliness and isolation are risk factors for several major health conditions (including heart disease, dementia, depression) as well as for premature death, health care providers are well-positioned to assess patients for risk of loneliness and intervene.
  4. Reform Digital Environments: We must critically evaluate our relationship with technology and ensure that how we interact digitally does not detract from meaningful and healing connection with others.
  5. Deepen Our Knowledge: A more robust research agenda, beyond the evidence outlined in the advisory, must be established to further our understanding of the causes and consequences of social disconnection, populations at risk, and the effectiveness of efforts to boost connection.
  6. Cultivate a Culture of Connection: The informal practices of everyday life (the norms and culture of how we engage one another) significantly influence the relationships we have in our lives. We cannot be successful in the other pillars without a culture of connection.

This is a fairly remarkable acknowledgment by the U.S. government that loneliness and isolation require serious attention. You can read the entire Surgeon General Advisory here: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/surgeon-general-social-connection-advisory.pdf

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Covid and Boomers

Pexels-cottonbro-studio-3951600The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended and the FDA  just authorized another Covid booster for adults 65 and over and individuals with weakened immune systems. A recent article in The New York Times cites the following data:

  • Adults age 65 and over make up about 16 percent of the U.S. population (about 53 million people)
  • About 7 million people have weak immune systems
  • Around 250 people daily are still dying from Covid-related causes, the majority of whom are either over 70 years old or have weakened immune systems
  • The median age of those hospitalized for Covid is 75
  • Only 43 percent of Americans age 65 and over have received a bivalent booster shot to date.

As you carry on with your daily life, you may not think Covid is a problem anymore. My personal experience is that I rarely see anyone wearing a mask in stores. I have taken flights recently and noticed that in airports and on airplanes masking is minimal. You hardly ever see, hear or read a story about Covid nowadays. The old saying, "Out of sight, out of mind" seems to apply.

Still, Boomers, particularly those age 65 and over, are the most vulnerable for Covid infection. Some Boomers have weakened immune systems, which makes Covid even more potentially deadly.

Boomers like to think we are the generation that promoted health-consciousness. After all, we were the folks who started the wave of interest in natural and organic foods and called attention to dangerous food additives. We grew up at a time when vaccines protected us from such serious diseases as polio, measles and mumps. Today, vaccines protect Boomers against shingles, pneumonia and influenza.

Why, then, have more than half of Americans age 65 and over failed to get a Covid booster? 

The low percentage of boostered Boomers is a puzzling dilemma for public health officials. While there could be many reasons for this, the implication is clear: Boomers who are unprotected by a Covid vaccine could risk serious illness or death if they contract Covid.

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Retirement Planning: What to Consider

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Guest Post by Lilian Lewis

Are you about to retire? How are you preparing for it?

Perhaps you have already retired.

Having a retirement plan to accomplish your later life goals is the ideal course of action to take. However, if you haven't adequately prepared for this eventuality, it's never too late. 

The financial moves you make in your last 5 - 10 working years can make a difference in your life. 

What financial moves can you make to increase your savings or investments to boost your retirement package? Let us explore a few ideas to get you back on track.

  1. Automatic saving plans are best

The fact that you should save for retirement is evident to many of us; the problem we face is saving money consistently due to the many obligations competing for our income, including mortgages, college payments, among many other responsibilities.

Surmount this problem by creating an automatic saving system that deducts money from your salary every payday and sends it to a retirement plan of your choice.

  1. Determine your retirement needs 

According to pension experts, most people require a minimum of 70 percent of their pre-retirement income to live. This is money for daily needs, like housing, food, and health expenses. 

Determine how much you have put away already and to determine how far along you are.

That will help you to find out how much more you can put away to increase your savings. It will also show you when these savings become vested so that you know they are fully available to you.

  1. Start saving retirement money in IRAs

IRAs offer attractive tax advantages for savers that will make it worth your while. You can choose from two varieties: traditional IRA accounts and ROTH IRA accounts.

The money you save in traditional IRA accounts is pre-tax, while ROTH IRAs get you tax breaks in the form of tax-free withdrawals.

The maximum amount of money you can contribute to an IRA account if you are over 50 is $ 7,500. That's a standard $6,500 contribution and an extra $1,000 for people 50 years and older.

Married couples can contribute savings to two IRAs if they file their taxes jointly through a spousal IRA savings plan. This is a great way to create a comfortable nest egg for your old age with your spouse.

  1. Use financial retirement tools

There are many savings tools that we can use to put aside money for our later years including 401 (k), 403 (b), and 457 savings plans, which are not subjected to tax until you withdraw.

These are workplace savings plans that you can fund to the max. People under 50 can contribute up to $23,000 to a 401 (k) plan annually. If you are over 50 years, you may add $7,500 to this standard amount as catch-up contributions.

  1. Social security retirement benefits

The amount of social security benefits you can get is calculated based on your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME). These calculations are done during your 35 highest-earning years. 

You can start getting money from your Social security fund typically from age 62, but you will receive your maximum benefit if you wait until age 70. The benefits from your social security can make up as much as 40 percent of your pre-retirement income.

Therefore, make sure your social security documents are up to date and follow the rules concerning this scheme to secure your social security benefits.

  1. Talk to retirement investment experts

You will find retirement experts in many financial institutions, be it banks, labor unions, government savings organizations, and even the human resources/financial section in your workplace.

A retirement expert can help you explore other options to diversify your savings including blue chip stocks, government bonds, certificates of deposit (CDs), and real estate investments.

Bonus point!

Document everything that you have invested in by drawing up a will. This ensures all your loved ones are well cared for in case of your demise or incapacitation. Get legal counsel to assist you with this. 

Final thoughts on what to consider when planning for retirement

In summary, here's what to focus on for your retirement:

  • How much money do you need to retire comfortably? 
  • How much interest would you like to earn from your retirement savings yearly?
  • Which retirement savings options are available to you?
  • Are there other ways to save money for your later years?
  • Are you prepared for accidents, death, or incapacitation in your later years?

Remember, there is no limit to what you can save for retirement. Aim to set aside the highest amount you can.

Lilian Lewis is a writer who works closely with New Jersey Law firm, Aiello Harris. When not hunched over her computer writing on various legal matters, you can find her baking all sorts of goodies, and hiking the local trails to work off the goodies. 

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5 Positive Traits of Boomers

 

Pexels-towfiqu-barbhuiya-9821386 Guest Post by Julie Gorges

Editor's Note: My colleague Julie Gorges writes Baby Boomer Bliss, a blog I highly recommend. She recently posted an article that referred to "5 positive traits of boomers." At a time when there seems to be a fair amount of boomer bashing in various media, I asked Julie for permission to share an excerpt from her article because I think it does a great job of highlighting some of the really good things about the Boomer Generation. Here they are...

1. Boomers are Good at Reinventing Themselves

Not being content to sit in a rocking chair reminiscing about the past after retirement – like some of our parents and grandparents – many boomers are still active, eagerly learning new things, and becoming more creative as they age.

Boomers may not be up on all the latest trends, but they remain young at heart.

Boomers tend to consider themselves a work in progress. Many are making spirituality and personal growth a priority, opening themselves to new experiences (like learning sign language and shark cage diving, in my case), and striving to reach their full potential.

Thanks to boomers, turning 60 or even 70 is no longer a professional death sentence as it was in the past. Many boomers are postponing retirement, both for financial and personal reasons. This has opened the doors for younger generations who, if desired, have a better chance of working as long as they want.

Often boomers are maligned for being technically deficient. However, many boomers have embraced new technologies like texting, videoconferencing, online banking, tablets, tech savvy homes, and social networking sites. A lot has changed, but boomers are enthusiastic about technology that’s valuable to them.

In my opinion, we’ve changed the way people age. And that’s a good thing for upcoming generations.

2. Boomers Value Family Relationships

Personally, I grew up in a traditional family that ate dinner together every night, watched The Wonderful World of Disney every week, attended religious services, and took camping trips together.

As a result, I practiced these same values with my own children and grandchildren. As a reward, we all remain close.

Just proves different generations can get along and even love each other!

3. Boomers Influenced Rock and Roll

As the article, “27 Amazing Things Baby Boomers Have Done for Humanity” points out on their website Mercatornet, the boomer generation changed music forever. “Popular music will never be the same after the 70s. These musicians [Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys, and the Bee Gees] passed on an undying legacy with their lyrics, experimentation and harmonies.”

Of course, the 60s also changed music in a major way, becoming a vehicle for social change.

Brian Ward, a professor in American Studies at Northumbria University wrote in his article for the Gilder Lehrman Institude of Natural History, “What’s That Sound? Teaching the 1960s Through Popular Music: “Even students far too young to have experienced the decade first-hand often recognize a whole range of sounds as evocative of the era. The Motown soul of the Temptations and Marvin Gaye; the folk revivalism of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez; the folk-rock syntheses of the Byrds; the surfing sounds of the Beach Boys; the free jazz of Archie Shepp and Ornette Coleman; the girl-group sounds of the Chiffons and Crystals; the southern-fried soul of Percy Sledge and Otis Redding; the lush Nashville countrypolitanism of  Eddy Arnold and Tammy Wynette; the country-rock blends of the Flying Burrito Brothers; the progressive, psychedelic sounds of the Grateful Dead and the Doors; the self-reflective meditations of singer-songwriters James Taylor and Laura Nyro; the daring blues-rock-jazz blend of Jimi Hendrix; the pioneering funk of James Brown; the garage rock of the Standells and Seeds; and the avant-garde noisescapes of Captain Beefheart and the Velvet Underground.”

I would add The Rolling Stones, Queen, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Eagles, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Elton John, and Simon and Garfunkel to the list of classic rock singers and bands that influenced music forever.

Many younger people still listen to these musicians today.

4. Boomers Tend to Work Hard

Boomers typically do not shy away from hard work. Most boomers grew up in well-structured and disciplined households. Boomers were taught to respect their parents and grandparents and do their chores. As a rule, boomers are self-disciplined, highly motivated, and focused on goals in life.

You would think that’s a good thing. But these qualities are often used against us. Boomers are called “workaholics” and a “greedy generation,” perceived as always putting money first. However, growing up in a spiritual family, these were not the values I was personally taught. I’d venture many boomers would say the same.

5. Boomers Want to Give Back

Now, can we talk a little about the blame game? Boomers are seemingly responsible for all that’s gone wrong in the world. In part, due to the size of their generation. By the way, is it my fault that my parents’ generation had a bunch of kids making the population “boom?” (The basis for the name of our generation, baby boomers.)

Good thing we weren’t around for the Great Depression. Somehow, that would be our fault too.

At any rate, baby boomer blaming seems like a way of oversimplifying extremely complex issues.

Although I do not feel personally responsible for every problem in the world today, I do understand the younger generation’s frustrations. For example, many boomers know how difficult it is for younger people who face challenging economic conditions today.

As a result, many parents have been generous with adult children who often need to live at home longer than expected. Some help their children financially even to their own detriment. And many grandparents are helping care for their grandchildren to help adult children save on child care costs.

In addition, boomers tend to look for a mission in life that offers meaning and purpose. Many of us are involved in volunteer work and our community.

Julie Gorges is a blogger, writer and author of non-fiction and fiction books. Check out her blog at https://babyboomerbliss.net

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How Maria Shriver Wants to Reframe Aging

Screen Shot 2023-02-22 at 4.12.27 PMIn a conversation with Karen Breslau of Bloomberg News at the Century Summit 2022 sponsored by the Longevity Project, Maria Shriver spoke eloquently about the concept of "reframing aging." The 67-year old Shriver is a journalist, best-selling author, entrepreneur, Alzheimer's advocate, film maker and more. The former first lady of California is now part of a task force on aging for Governor Newsom in the state.

With regard to the workplace, says Shriver, "So many industries are stuck in an old model." She observed that there are many people in their 70s, 80s and even 90s who "are at the top of their game," among them architect Frank Gehry and investor Warren Buffett.

Shriver added that people in their 50s and 60s want to keep working but are frustrated because society doesn't look at them as "valuable players." Says Shriver, "I think we need a sea change, a narrative change, a reframing change" and she credits Boomers with driving that change. She believes that workforces are better off when people in their 20s and 30s are working together with people in their 60s and 70s.

Shriver herself is a model for what she believes. She says for the first time in her life, she is free of bringing up children and caring for her elderly parents. She now thinks about where she wants to make a difference -- in aging, longevity and women's health. Interestingly, Shriver is also a model for intergenerational living. She has started a business with one son and says, "I love working with my children. I do a lot of that, and my parents did a lot of that." She says her parents worked up until their 80s.

Another key strategy Shriver has continued from her experience as first lady of California to the present day is putting lots of different people together in the same room -- whether they are different ages, from different walks of life, or with different perspectives. She does it "so people can talk, can share stories and learn a new narrative." Shriver believes in "updating story lines on a continuous basis because people don't hear the new story unless they meet people on the ground who are living that new story."

You can find more of Shriver's comments, as well as recordings of other sessions from the Century Summit 2022, here: https://www.longevity-project.com/century-summit-2022-videos

Image: Maria Shriver speaking at the Century Summit 2022, The Longevity Project, Stanford Center on Longevity

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