Tuesday, 30 June 2009

All party committee backs end of default retie

At last we have an all party committee of MP's demanding the ending of the default state retirement age at 65. We still of course have the 20th century thinking of the CBI to deal with. The IOD will shortly be announcing their support for abolition of this discriminatory practice.

Retirement in rich countries is becoming unaffordable

Look at this excellent video from the Economist which graphically describes what lies ahead. I noted with interest that state pension age in the USA is already 66. When are some brave politicians going to start to tell people what the problems are? Given the dancing about and fabrications from this G'ment regarding the impact of the demographic time bomb - not in the immediate future.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Beware of growing oldies

This is the title of an excellent essay in the Times by George Magnus the author of The Age of Ageing. Please read it and if you know any politicians please get them to read it as well.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Why is this not a surprise?

Despite the challenging economic conditions, some 1.8 million grandparents are regularly putting money aside for their grandchildren. In fact, a fifth of grandparents are saving £400 a year or more, which could provide their grandchildren with a nest egg of up to £10,000 when they turn 18, according to Saga. A further one in ten are saving additional funds for their adult children to help them through these challenging times, despite the fact that many of them are retired or live on limited means themselves. The research also shows that seven in ten have provided financial help to their family over the course of the last five years, as well as putting money aside for them. Proving that the bank of mum and dad stays open well after their kids have left home, almost half of over 50s admit to having helped out their adult children with money when they have fallen on hard times. Furthermore, 15 per cent of grandparents have helped fund luxuries for their grandchildren, contributing to the cost of treats such as a computer or a family holiday.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Ageing population putting increasing pressure on family finances

As the Department of Health prepares to publish its green paper on long-term social care funding this month, research reveals a potentially difficult financial future for Britain's ageing population.

The Aviva Cost of Family Care study says six in ten (62%) over 50s worry that their pensions and savings are unlikely to see them through retirement.

In the Rainbow Years we discuss the problems of the 'sandwich generation'. This research echos this in a big way as over 50's worry about facing the prospect of simultaneously financing both their elderly parents and their own children:

Almost three quarters (71%) of adults in the UK fear their parents' shortage in retirement funding could cause severe problems for their own financial futures

Six in ten (60%) are concerned their parents will not be able to afford to stay in their existing homes in retirement - a quarter (25%) plan for their parents to live with them

One in ten (11%) say they are ready to cash in their savings and investments to fund their parents' retirement

Almost ten per cent are worried that their parents might not be able to pay for any required medical care during retirement

Many would like to support their elderly parents financially during retirement but, for two thirds (67%) say their own financial situation makes that impossible.

In fact almost half (43%) are delaying financial plans for their own retirement because of the current economic climate.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Bingo is good for you!

As someone still suffering with bruised ribs from my fall in last weekends Leeds 10k I am wondering if I should be rethinking my leisure time pursuits. Some new research from Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago claims that playing bingo and having an active social life in old age can help stave off disability and even death.By up to two thirds.

Even just chatting regularly with friends can slow down the rate of decline in motor function which comes as people grow older, the study found. Maybe I should just mix in with the crowds in future and chat! Actually I am planning to run the first Jane Tomlinson 10k in York on August 2 - assuming I can breathe again by then.....

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Are boomers and Gen Y's really so different?

A fascinating article in the FT describes 2 studies, one from the US and the other from the UK, which shows a remarkable convergence of values between the over 50's and the Gen Y's. The US study showed that : *More than 90 per cent of Gen Ys and 85 per cent of boomers seek new experiences at work *Flexible work is important to 89 per cent of Gen Ys and 87 per cent of boomers *Almost as many boomers as Gen Ys want to work remotely some of the time (63 per cent and 69 per cent respectively) *Only 14 per cent of boomers and Gen Y are work-centric *Over 60 per cent of Gen Ys and boomers see a parent-child dynamic in work relationships between their generations *Some 58 per cent of Gen Ys look to boomers for advice and 58 per cent of boomers like helping them "navigate" work.
This is great news for organisations who are wishing to use older workers as mentors and coaches and also for those who fear that these 2 huge population groups have little in common.

More self employment for the 50+'s in US

In our book we quote the increase in self employment for the over 50's and over 60's so it is with interest that I found an article describing the same phenomon in the US. Sadly of course we know that one of the reasons is the difficulty in getting a new job after 50 but also the research suggests that our age group are less interested in traditional jobs.

Looking at self-employment rates by age groups in November of 2007 to May of 2009,the numbers don’t suggest a big rise in entrepreneurship among young people. Self-employment rates rose among people aged 16 to 19, but were constant among those 20 to 24.

On the other hand, self-employment has risen dramatically among older people from November 2007 through May 2009. This rate has risen from 15.6 to 17.3 percent.

While the self-employment rate has been higher among people 65 and older for a while, the gap between the self-employment rate for the 65-plus age group and the next highest group (55 to 64) has grown.

Regular running is good for you

More research from the Stanford University School of Medicine that has tracked 500 older runners for more than 20 years. Elderly runners have fewer disabilities, a longer span of active life and are half as likely as aging nonrunners to die early deaths, the research found. I am a regular runner of course but the study fails to point out that you also get more injuries! Said with feeling after falling over 100 yards before the end of the Jane Tomlinson 10k at the weekend. Most embarrassing as 11,000 runners and about a thousand people and TV cameras at the finish line! That is me minus glasses (shattered), blood gushing over the steps and bruised ribs. I did finally finish before the chicken and 2 Gorillas..

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Saving for Retirement?

A Guardian report by Philip Inman, reporting research by HSBC into retirement trends, says that 20% of the world's workers have raided their savings in the last year to reduce their debts and 13% have stopped saving altogether in the downturn . Almost 90% say they are unprepared for retirement and 75% say they don't know what income they can expect when they stop working. Reluctance to save in the downturn will add to the 'unpreparedness gap' evident in every major economy and the bank's chairman, Stephen Green, says 'A perfect storm is confronting pensions planning, created by an ageing population, falling pension fund values, a drop in state and employer contributions and an economic downturn which is forcing people to make financial choices.' He suggests governments support education schemes and financial advice centres to help people make informed choices about their retirement plans.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Staying involved and in touch ....

In a recent report 'Social Networking for Seniors' in the New York Times, Carla Winn suggests that one-third of Americans age 75 and over live alone and are increasingly turning to online social networks like Facebook and My Space for their social contacts. The article quotes Joseph Couglin director of the AgeLab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as saying, “One of the greatest challenges or losses that we face as older adults, frankly, is not about our health, but it’s actually about our social network deteriorating on us, because our friends get sick, our spouse passes away, friends pass away, or we move. The new future of old age is about staying in society, staying in the workplace and staying very connected. And technology is going to be a very big part of that, because the new reality is, increasingly, a virtual reality. It provides a way to make new connections, new friends and new senses of purpose.”
Posted by Mike Scally at 09:35

60+'s are doing better.......

UK unemployment rose to 2.261 million in the three months to April, the highest since November 1996, the Office for National Statistics said.
The jobless rate rose to 7.2%, the highest since July 1997.
Young people have been hard-hit by the recession, with the unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds now at 16.6%.
The number of people in work fell by 271,000 over the three months to 29.11 million, the biggest quarterly drop since comparable records began in 1971.
The number of vacancies fell from 659,000 in May 2008 to 424,000 in May this year - a 35.6% drop.
The number of men and women of retirement age - plus 65 for men or plus 60 for women - in employment rose by 2.6% in the same period from a year earlier, the only age group to register a rise.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

More ways of utilising older workers

Chris Ball the CEO of TAEN has written a stimulating piece on what companies can do to utilise older workers. He describes a call centre at insurance company Domestic and General in Nottingham, where the management was keen to find ways of improving retention and recruitment of new workers. They encouraged applications from mature redundant former miners. In an industry characterised by young, highly mobile staff, this was a brave step, but it paid dividends. The former miners were given special training to handle the ICT and telephone equipment. Whilst it took them longer to learn, once the skills were acquired they performed satisfactorily. The company found that introducing older people had a positive impact on the organisation. They were better able to give wise advice to people calling about their domestic appliances. They stayed in their jobs longer and they had a good influence on the younger team members they worked with.

Companies till blinkered about effect of boomer retirement

A new poll by the Boston Consulting Group and the the European Association of People Management has found that nearly half of European companies do not even plan their workforce requirements more than a year in advance.

What this means is that, once we are through this current recession, the twin pressures of falling birth rates and baby boomers heading off into retirement are likely to resurface with a vengeance, it has argued.

Companies that have been forced to cut costs and reduce headcounts during the recession may well struggle to find the people they need when growth eventually returns.

Managers therefore need to be doing more to consider the long-term impact of their recruitment and retention actions, even in times of crisis, it emphasised.

"In 10 years, the scarcest resource for a company will be people," said Rainer Strack, co-author of the report and senior partner in Boston Consulting's Dusseldorf office.

Last month research by recruitment firm Manpower, for example, suggested that nearly a third of managers worldwide were still struggling to fill skilled salespeople and technical positions, despite the fact that more people were now out in the jobs' market.

Boston Consulting also sounded a warning on this issue in April last year, arguing in research with the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations that the combination of ageing workforces in the West and intense demand for skilled workers in developing nations could in time create a global "talent crunch" that could be as damaging to the financial credit crunch.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Impact of the recession on older people

Dick Stroud has been at it again! This time his company joined with Mature Insights to undertake a survey of over 1,600 older people, using Mature Time’s national newspaper and web site. The task was to examine the impact of the recession on the UK’s over-50s.

Amongst the findings were:
Over 25% say the recession has had little or no effect with a third reporting that they have not changed their spending patterns.

Over 60% say the recession has resulted in them only making a few cutbacks in their expenditure.

Despite older people holding 80% of savings and investment assets in the UK, the fall in interest rates has seriously affected only 20% of respondents.

Not all of the news is so positive - 12% have cut back drastically on spending.

The banks and the Labour Government are blamed for the economic problems resulting in a significant swing to the Conservatives and minority parties.

The over 50's are giving far more financial support to their families than they are receiving.

Charitable donations have been very badly hit by the recession.
If you want to read the detail then all you need to do is download the report.

How do you address the over 50's?

Discovered this fascinating piece on Dick Strouds blog which raises all the issues as to what we like to be called. he came across this from a the recent Older Richer Wiser conference at which there was a presentation from Warner Leisure Hotels. I have posted on this before but just what do you like or not like to be called?

How to stay mentally alert

An 8 year study from the University of San Fransisco of more than 2,500 men and women through their seventies and eighties has found that the four key factors involved in preventing mental decline were e exercise, education, social activity and not smoking.

Just over half the participants showed a normal rate of age-related decline while 16% suffered a major reduction in their mental faculties. However, 30% of the study volunteers remained unchanged and in some cases even showed an improvement in performance over the years.

The researchers then examined what lifestyle factors stood out among those people who were able to remain quick-witted in old age.

Study leader Dr Alexandra Fiocco, from the University of California at San Francisco, said: "To this day, the majority of past research has focused on factors that put people at greater risk to lose their cognitive skills over time, but much less is known about what factors help people maintain their skills."

The research, published in the journal Neurology, revealed a unique profile that distinguished people who avoided mental decline with the passing years. Those who exercised moderately or vigorously at least once a week were 30% more likely to "stay sharp" than people who did not.

Individuals with a good education were nearly three times more likely to maintain their mental faculties than those with less education. Likewise, high levels of literacy were associated with a five-fold better chance of side-stepping age-related mental decline.

Non-smokers were nearly twice as likely to remain mentally fit than smokers. And people who were socially active - either by working or volunteering, or by living with someone - were 24% more likely to avoid mental deterioration in later life.

Not surprising perhaps but more confirmation of what we need to do to stay sane, fit and healthy.

Monday, 8 June 2009

We are now the fastest growing age group of internet users

Once they were regarded as the “technophobe generation” but, according to a new report, the over 50s are now the UK’s fastest-growing age group of Internet users.

And the affluent ’silver surfers’ are starting to change the way that advertisers sell their products and services on the worldwide web.

For they belong to an age group that controls 80% of the country’s personal wealth, and accounts for 40% of consumer spending.

“That,”; says mature marketing expert Fiona Hought, “makes them one of the most powerful consumer forces in Internet shopping. And they are starting to flex their muscles.”

Fiona is managing director of Millennium, mature marketing specialists that have been tracking Internet usage among the over 50s.

New research has revealed that the over 50s now make up over a quarter of web users in the UK and 14% are over 70. This is a figure that has continued to grow over the last four years.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Beware June 6th

June 6th is the day of the year when the highest number of home burglaries are reported by Saga customers, according to analysis of theft claims data from the past decade by Saga Home Insurance. Nearly half of all burglaries happen when a home is empty and considerably more burglaries happen during the evening or at night. June is a vulnerable time of year as many over 50s are jetting off on holidays to avoid the school holiday price hikes and going out in the evenings, taking advantage of the longer, sunnier days. Interestingly, contrary to predictions that recession would result in an increase in burglaries, the number of home theft claims made by the Saga customers has decreased by 18%. This suggests that vigilant over 50s have proactively stepped up their home security following news of a burglary crime wave set to sweep the nation earlier this year. So if you plan to venture out on the 6th of June you have been warned......

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Do you change your friends every 7 years?

In our book we talk a great deal about the centrality of relationships in our lives so it was with some interest that we discovered that sociologist Gerald Mollenhorst of Utrecht University claims that you lose about half your friends and replace them with new ones after about seven years.

He conducted a survey of 1,007 people ages 18 to 65, and then contacted them again seven years later. From the original group, 604 people were re-interviewed. The survey contained questions such as: Who do you talk with, regarding personal issues? Who helps you with DIY in your home? Who do you pop by to see? Where did you get to know that person? And where do you meet that person now?

The results showed that personal network sizes remained stable, but that many members of the network were new. About 30 percent of discussion partners and practical helpers had the same position in a typical subject's network seven years later. And only 48 percent were still part of the network. This finding goes against previous research which had showed that social network sizes are shrinking.

As we get older many people report that it is more difficult to make new friends. But this is probably because they lose their curiousity which could take them to new places, learn new things or tapping into new social networks. Social media can help here enormously. You are never too old to make new friends- preferably younger ones who will outlive you!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Over 50's coping better with stress at work

This is the conclusion of an Investors in People report which shows that the nation’s workers are more stressed than they were a year ago. 38% of employees it surveyed had seen their stress levels crank up in the past 12 months. They found that older workers are finding everything less stressful than their younger counterparts – possibly because they’ve been through it all before. Only 32% of over-55s reported an increase in stress, compared with 41% of 35- to 44-year-olds, and 45% of 45- to 54-year-olds. This is yet another reason to encourage mentoring schemes where older workers can help younger ones to ride this out.

Britain’s population time bomb? The challenges and opportunities of an ageing society

This is the title of an expert panel meeting at the Royal Geographical Society on Tuesday 16 June at 19.00 until 20.00. Doors open at 18.00

Britain’s 17 million baby boomers are fast approaching retirement age, with over 65’s now outnumbering under 16’s for the first time. What are the challenges and opportunities that this presents Britain?

The expert panel will explore issues such as the changing nature of retirement; the importance of older people in the workforce; the increasing pressures on public services; and how Britain is adapting to an ageing society.


  • Samira Ahmed, Channel 4 News Presenter and Correspondent


  • Rosie Winterton MP, Minister of State for Pensions and the Ageing Society, and Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber
  • George Magnus, author of The Age of Ageing (2009)

Booking & tickets: RGS-IBG members £7, non-members £10. Call the Events Office on 020 7591 3100