With the advent of the Longevity Revolution you and I, and all baby boomers and future generations have the potential to live a longer and healthier life than any previous generation could even have dreamt of.
This is good news for us personally, and for Humanity in general. The world cannot afford to waste the vastly under-utilised and under-rated resources that experienced and highly trained older people possess.
Unfortunately, to a large extent, the developed nations are still ignoring these dramatic changes and consigning people to the scrap-heap to become a potential burden on their social security systems, when they could be continuing to contribute, to earn money and reduce this looming burden on society that has every government in the developed world worried about how they will fund the increasing social security and medical costs.
Now this is not me on a hobby horse. It’s me trying to help people, society in general and governments to understand the new reality and the opportunity that exists to easily overcome any under-funding issues that governments believe they are facing with their social security systems.
In most, if not all Developed Nations, the rights of the growing numbers of older people to be given equal opportunities and respect are being ignored as a result of long-held beliefs, which have resulted in an ingrained age-prejudice.
In fact, it is so ingrained that no matter how skilled or experienced you are, even for people as young as 45, trying to get a new job today can be a real challenge.
It is in the interests of all Nations and the World to utilise the wisdom and knowledge that older people have gained on their life journeys to make the present and future world a better place.
For the first time ever, in many developed countries, the percentage of the population over 65 is equal to or exceeding the percentage that are 14 or under, averaging around 15%.
This is due to the above factors, exacerbated by the baby boomer generation, born after World War 2, between 1945 and 1964, now reaching retirement age.
This trend is set to continue, and it has been concerning governments and policy makers for some time. Keeping this growing ageing population healthy and active has become crucial if we are to avoid unsustainable growth in Government debt and unsupportable strains on our health and social security systems.
So there are many reasons why it is in everybody’s interests to solve the problems of ageing; to allow this growing generation of older people to remain healthy and active, so that they can continue to contribute to society, rather than becoming a burden that society has to bear.
Many Baby Boomers can’t afford to retire-and don’t really want to anyway.
- Research is showing that many baby boomers simply don’t have enoughmoney put aside to maintain their lifestyles, especially with a potentially longer active life. In a recent article in USA today 34% say they haven’t saved enough, 19% want additional income, and 9% need health benefits. Only 21% of respondents expect to immediately quit working when they retire.
- The USA Today article also reported that, according to a recent report from the Social Security Administration “Without some type of reform, Social Security benefits will need to be cut by 23% in aggregate by 2033.
- Significantly, the article also said that “Employment is
no longer a taboo retirement activity. Sixty-five percent of Baby Boomer workers (in the US) plan to work past age 65 or do not plan to retire at all.”
- Given all the above factors and the likelihood of a longer healthier life – coupled with the positive outlook on life that baby boomers are renowned for, this is hardly a surprise, but is welcome news for Social Security Systems and Governments.
- A big factor in this has been the progressive move by corporations to unwind their “defined benefits’ retirement funds, under which members were guaranteed a specific retirement income, in favour of defined contribution funds, where the amount that employees and companies contribute is defined, but the return received is dependent on the investment decisions individuals make, and to market fluctuations.
- To make matters worse, the Nations of the developed world are reeling under the burden of their social security systems from the growing number of Boomers reaching retirement age, with a high percentage relying on social security as their primary source of income. The Global Financial crisis which started in 2008 made this far worse as the value of people’s pension, superannuation or 401(k) pension funds was slashed.
- In 2011 in the US, among those over age 65, 87 percent of married couples and 85 percent of singles received money from Social Security. These benefits represented at least 50 percent of income for 52% of couples and 74 percent of single recipients, according to the Social Security Administration.
- The simple fact is that once people get past 65, certainly once they get past 70, the overwhelming majority of Americans collect a Social Security check, and that Social Security check constitutes the largest single element in their retirement income.
To meet the long-term care needs of Baby Boomers, social and public policy changes must begin soon. Meeting the financial and social service burdens of growing numbers of elders will not be a daunting task if necessary changes are made now rather than when Baby Boomers actually need long-term care.
A major public policy concern in the long-term care field is the potential burden an aging society will place on the care-giving system and public finances. The “2030 problem” involves the challenge of assuring that sufficient resources and an effective service system are available in thirty years, when the elderly population is twice what it is today.
The concept of Retirement has changed forever.
Employers are concerned about a skills shortage and that there won’t be enough people working to fill the jobs required.
The government is concerned about the cost of health, aged care and pensions and the bottom line is that we need more taxpayers to support this growing cost
The solution to both these issues is staring us all in the face. Why is it being ignored by the people that matter?
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