Get the Wind Behind You

Success is easiest when the wind’s behind our back.  This means there is good news for boomers who are aware of changing winds with the idea of retirement at 65.

Here is some goods news for Boomers.  This chart from the Wall Street Journal article “Working at 85: The Idea of Retirement Is Dying in Japan” (1) shows that the US has the second largest proportion of people in the workforce who are aged over 65.  I’ll explain why this is good news in a moment.

First, let’s ask, “Why 65?”   The concept of retirement, as we know it, began with a political ploy in the late 1800s.  Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck of Germany announced that he would pay a pension to any nonworking German over age 65.   Sneaky politician that he was, he knew that hardly anyone lived to be 65 at the time.  Politics or not, this set the arbitrary world standard for the age when people retired.  The trick worked.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt learned from this and used this age when he pushed for the creation of the Social Security Act of 1935.  This idea of needing to quit being productive at age 65 grew and still worked because the the average life expectancy then was 61 years.

Now the wind is not behind the back of Social Security.  When the program was created in 1935 there was a ratio of approximately 37 workers for every 1 retiree. Today, the ratio is is less than 3 workers per 1 retiree.

Compounding the problem is the increase in the average life expectancy.  Even though the US life expectancy has fallen behind many other developed nations, the expected age of 61 has lengthened to almost 80 years.  Yet the idea of a retirement age remains at 65.

This compounds the problem.  There are more beneficiaries versus workers and these beneficiaries are receiving payments for much longer periods of time.  This is a demographic gale blowing against Social Security.

A big chunk of the world’s population arrange their entire lives based on a cheap political trick that the nation can no longer pull off.  There is a demographic gale blowing against Social Security.  The numbers no longer work. Fortunately they do not need to.

Here is the good news for Boomers.

The article “Working at 85: The Idea of Retirement Is Dying in Japan” shows how the changes in the winds of retirement are causing the  Japanese government, concerned about the costs of supporting an aging populace, to encourage companies to keep older people in the workforce longer and offering subsidies to some that employ workers over 65.

The article says (bolds are mine):  Companies typically figure they are dumping high-price workers who are past their prime. But some are realizing that can be shortsighted, especially in a sales business when the people walking out the door have client lists that took decades to build. Who better to target consumers in their senior years than other seniors?

Daiwa Securities Group Inc. used to set an age limit of 70 for veteran salespeople working under contract. It recently scrapped the limit.  “This will make it possible for us to have more consultants in the age range of 60 to 80, which is similar to the generation that holds the largest financial assets,” says the brokerage’s chief executive, Seiji Nakata.

The clue in this article about Japan that can help us in North America is the sentence highlighted in bold. “Who better to target consumers in their senior years than other seniors?”

With the rapid technological change taking place on earth, we live in an era where the value of our experience is worth more than the cost of getting it.  Previous generations were worn out when they reached 65.  Today, we can be in perfect health, active, alert and strong, ready to go.  Even if we are not physically strong, who cares?  Muscles are no longer a highly paid asset in any industry except sports.  Intelligence, experience, contacts, value, grit and willingness to work and get the job done are the qualities that receive premium payments now.

As Boomers, we are part of the second largest and wealthiest demographic group that has ever existed.  We are in the best position of all to succeed in this marketplace.  The wind is behind our back.

The fact that the US has the second largest proportion of people in the workforce who are aged over 65, means that Boomers still need help and this problem creates opportunity.

These facts give Boomers a chance to create a pinnacle career connected to their personal destiny.  This is such a benefit because when we are connected to our destiny… to some tiny, but important part we can add to humanity’s existence we gain fulfillment as well as financial stability.

Merri and I have learned this fact as we followed our destiny and shifted the focus our activity again and again to what we loved.  We actually retired in the traditional Western business sense 20+ years ago.  We sold our print publishing business, went to Ecuador, bought a hacienda and lived with a yatchak and his apprentices, to learn more about maintaining natural good health.  We had no business plans but started a small website because this is what we loved doing.  That website grew to be the largest about expat living in Ecuador.

Then our destiny led us to return to Smalltown USA in 2009 and the focus of our writing shifted again.  Now we have AIRBNB rentals  and grow trout.  Plus our website contains well over 6,000 posts that have been sent to tens of thousands of readers every day.  Most of our readers are Boomers, because who can understand the wants, needs and desires of a Boomer, better than a Boomer.  We are still serving and enjoying doing what we love.

A pinnacle career is a destiny career.  Follow the path that nature sends you.  Look for a wind behind your back.   Serve… doing something that is good for a community of like-minded souls that brings you a satisfying and financially rewarding non-retirement.

Follow those steps and I promise… you’ll feel bright and anxious to get going every day.  A Pinnacle Career is a better alternative to retirement at 65.


(1) A wrinkle in Japans retire at 60 rule workers who don’t quit

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