Is 75 the New 65?
Joseph F. Coughlin is director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab (http://agelab.mit.edu). His research explores how demographic change, technology and consumer behavior drive innovations in business and society. Coughlin teaches in MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the Sloan School's Advanced Management Program. He is author of the new book The Longevity Economy: Unlocking the World's Fastest-Growing, Most Misunderstood Market (Public Affairs, 2017).
How does nearly six decades of work sound? We have all read the promising stories – ‘60 is the new 30’. According to some observers, 60 year olds may be just hitting their stride in work, relationships and ‘what’s next’. People are more youthful, have more expectations for their later years and are generally healthier than previous generations. Now it looks like they are going to need that energy because there is a new number to think about – 75 – very possibly the new retirement age.
According to Bank Investment Consultant, My New Financial Advisor’s analysis of 1,600 records gathered from their online service FreeRetirementReport.com reveals that baby boomers may have to work another ten years to offset poor planning, loss of income, taxes, inflation and other factors that have devastated their savings and turned their 401Ks into 201Ks. Comparing data from baby boomers who have input their financial information for current income/expenses and future income/expenses with industry standards of what is ‘needed’ for a secure retirement My New Financial Advisor’s analysis suggests that another decade of work may be required to pay for life after work.
Implications? A whole new ballgame for ‘retirement planning’ - it’s possible that we must now plan for a longer life that will demand the physical, mental and attitudinal capacities to remain vital to work well into what most have defined as later life.
Let’s leave the money questions aside for a moment. If 75 is the new 65, baby boomers (and all future generations) must invest in their:
Health – Continuing to work means being healthy enough to work. Few of us will get out of life alive or without a few chronic conditions, but how well we manage our overall well-being and vitality will predict both our health costs as well as our capacity to work later in life. (See my previous post You Say You Want to Work Past Retirement: How’s Your Health?
Education – Seniority is old news. Today’s workplace moves at Internet speed, at least in successful companies. Do you? Going back to school to refresh, renew or even retrain for an entirely new profession will fast become the new norm. Get ready to be the ‘new kid’ in the office at age 60.
Adaptability – Above all, surviving and thriving will be the prize for those who are able to be flexible and willing to adapt to new workplace demands, technology and knowledge.
The good news is we are all living longer and it looks like there will be plenty to do.
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