I’m sure you’ve heard these numbers before, but they are worth mentioning again to set the stage for the huge potential that is at our doorstep. There are over 80 million Americans born between 1945 and 1964 with over 40 million reaching retirement age. That means over 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every day! There seems to be a lot of hand wringing and concern about the impact that this onslaught of retirees are going to have on our economy and society as a whole. I would like to offer an alternative perspective.
PBS Newshour recently did a great TV segment called, “Reinventing Old Age: The Good We Do When We Work Forever” which highlighted people working well into their 70s and 80s. PBS news anchor Paul Solomon, interviewed Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Encore.org prior to the TV segment. Marc talked about the opportunity that our society has to recognize the full potential of this population and to use it in a way that benefits everyone. Marc sees this group of 50-70 year olds as an enormous economic engine of productivity and innovation that will turn the dependency ratio into an abundance ratio.
The Economic Benefit
PBS pointed out two examples of economic benefits which occur as a result of people choosing to work longer (whether it is within a company or sole entrepreneur) One, they are less likely to draw down on social security benefits. Another example is a longer more continuous influx of income tax revenue as result of more people generating income for longer periods of time.
A Legion of Problem Solvers
In a recent interview Marci Alboher (author of Encore Career Handbook) talks about Encore Careers as a second or third act that provides meaning and purpose along with social impact. She talks about this same age group as a tremendous resource, rather than a problem, a legion of problem solvers.
Jane Pauley shared an example of problem solving. Ken Wood, a retired well-driller helped his church solve a problem it was working on in a village in Ghana. Ken jumped into this project and flew to Ghana to help educate and assist the village people in drilling more than 1,000 wells to find safe drinking water. Pauley cited another example of Jenny Brown, the mother of a 2-year-old orphan from China who was not able to talk or walk when the child was adopted. Jenny decided to use her skills and experience to set up an agency that recruits and trains nannies in China to nurture orphans and prepare them for adoption. Encore Careers utilize people’s skills and experiences while at the same time tapping into something that is important or meaningful for them. The real bonus is when that career or project has a positive impact on society!
The Cleveland Foundation recognizes this potential and has launched a new program that will encourage the 50+ community to get involved and help solve pressing issues in Cleveland, such as poverty and education. The program will model some of the elements of the Encore Fellows paid intern program and encourage Baby Boomers to utilize their skills and experience.
What about Tampa Bay?
I believe it is time for Baby Boomers to get out of the house, step out of your comfort zone, pay attention to that small voice in your head. What are some ideas you have for your second act? What skills, talents, and experiences are you willing to tap into to make this community a better to place to live? Maybe it is time to start thinking about your Encore Career: it will be good for you and for everyone!! It was 227 years ago this week that our founding fathers made a similar decision- a choice between liberty and bondage. Today, you have the freedom to choose what kind of life you want to live in the second half!
Call to Action: I want to hear some local, inspiring, personal Encore Career stories. Once a month I will be featuring people in our community who are living their Encore Career. Please email me at email@example.com to share a story about you or someone you know.
If you liked this blog- send it on to other friends and folks who might be ready for their Encore!
Happy Fourth of July!
Encore Tampa BayE