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“Purpose and productivity, not just perpetuity”

“Purpose and productivity, not just perpetuity”

And, I quote. This is from an article by Marc Freedman, founder and chief executive officer of Encore.org, that was published in the Wall Street Journal entitled “How to Make the Most of Longer Lives”. The article takes a new look at longevity and what it means to have (and finance) an increasingly longer post midlife.

At the highest level, there are 2 compounding factors which year-over-year are reshaping the demographics of the US and our world: 1) all baby boomers have crossed the 50 years of age threshold as of 2014 with >10,000 turning 65 daily in the US, and 2) thanks to modern medicine and healthier lifestyles, people are living longer. Today, according to the article which sites several resources the average life expectancy for a 65-year-old American is 19.3 years. But, what do we do with those years? Are older Americans an asset or a liability?

Just to provide a bit of context:

  • Today 13-14% of people in the US are over the age of 65. By 2050 it will be 20% (CMS).
  • In 2011, for every retiree there were 3.3 members of the workforce helping to finance retirement. By 2030 this will fall to 2.3. (Medicare Trustee 2012 Report).
  • Healthcare costs have reached an unsustainable 3.2 trillion in the US (and growing) driving 1 in 4 seniors into bankruptcy (Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2013).
  • Caregiving, itself, has become a real financial burden on our economy. The cost of informal caregiving in terms of lost productivity to U.S. businesses is $17.1 to $33 billion annually (MetLife Study of Working Caregivers and Employer Health Costs: National Alliance for Caregiving. 2010).
  • This is not just a Boomer problem. As the last Boomers turn 85, the first Millennials will turn 67, and as of this year, Millennials outnumber Boomers.  This means we can expect at least a century of demographic shifts towards a more mature population.

So is it even conceivable to finance 50+ years of retirement? Must these years be productive?

In the late 1800’s life expectancy reached ~40 years. Then midlife was 20 years. Is it time for us to think about changing our perception on age and aging again?  Is 65 the new 50 and 75 the new 65? What would this mean in real terms…pushing out the retirement age? Clamping down on discriminatory employment practices (think ageism)? Redefining the role that seniors play within our society to tap into their experience, knowledge and wisdom in support of meaningful contribution?

Denying the problem exists is not a winning strategy. This is not a Boomer-only problem. Allowing our support systems to collapse will have wide ranging impacts on all generations. Time to heighten the conversation.

We’d love your thoughts and ideas.

Creating the World We Envision

Creating the World We Envision

As members of the sandwich generation, we know what it feels like to have careers, kids at home and/or in college, and aging parents who need (and deserve) some help. Over the last couple of years we’ve had the opportunity to experience this up front and personal. Having seen what’s actually available and attainable in the form of services, products and support systems was a real eye opener for all of us.  We can, and should, do better!

Our motivation: You are either a part of the solution, or a part of the problem.  We opted for the former. Our mantra from day one has been to create the world we envision. We agreed that assuming someone else would address the huge needs associated with our shifting demographics was simply ill-advised. Of course, our agenda has been, admittedly, self-serving — always a tremendous motivator.

Our approach: When you bring smart people together with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and life stages, provide an environment of mutual respect and a framework to facilitate the dialogue, magic happens! Our beginning did not disappoint in this regard. We’ve had no shortage of ideas, passion around the subject, nor willingness to roll up ones sleeves to get things done. A HUGE shout out to all of you who have participated and continue to participate in this endeavor.

The Result: The ThriveOn Group.

ThriveOn is a collaborative effort to build a cluster of technology businesses that tackle opportunities in the longevity space. The umbrella organization provides a shared infrastructure, domain expertise, shared go-to-market, and generally seeks to improve the quality or the businesses while speeding time to market.

Like to learn more?  Please reach out to any one of us. We’d love to have the conversation.