Monday, 31 August 2009

Born again bikers

Saga plans to extend its financial services to include motorbike insurance next month.

At a time when their mothers and fathers were thinking of putting their feet up, hundreds of thousands of fifty +'s today are hitting the road in search of thrills. To be precise, about 700,000 people in this age group now own motorbikes and Saga's research suggests another million wish they did so.There is a current advert on TV which accurately presents this picture. In the UK we call them born again bikers.

Bank holiday - good news day!

Hardly! After the revelations about aspirins and red wine we now get the latest data from the Office for National Statistics which show that if you analyse the data correctly then younger people are not doing as badly in terms of job prospects as was first thought and the over 50's are doing decidedly worse. Prime have produced a paper on this topic.

Though both groups have a hard time in a recession, the over 50's who drop off the employment ladder are having a harder time even than the youngsters taking their first steps onto it. It is this story - about the difficulty that older people have finding work, that is rarely told.

Too many commentators appear to have rushed in and grabbed the first figure they could find, so anxious were they to “expose” a huge rise in youth unemployment. They all made the elementary error of assuming that those who were economically inactive were all unemployed and completely forgot that nearly one million people aged 18 - 24 are in full-time education.

When the data is adjusted for full-time education amongst the 16/17 year olds and the 18 - 24 year olds, it is quite apparent that these cohorts are faring betting than others. That is not to say that everything is rosy - one person in ten aged 18 - 24 economically inactive is not good news. But compare it with worklessness in the 50 to State Pension Age cohort. One in four is economically inactive in this age group according to these data.

PRIME are calling for programmes for the 50+ workless and especially for more help for 50+ self-employment and enterprise?

Some voices are now calling for such action. The TUC has just warned that long-term unemployed people aged over 50 are at risk of never working again - unless they get proper tailored support to get back into the job market.

The TUC quotes research that shows that people aged over 50 who are unemployed are 10 times more likely to still be out of work after two years than they are to have found a new job.

Maybe some more red wine is called for!

An aspirin a day? And some red wine?

Writing as someone who was told to take an aspirin a day about 4 years ago it was with some surprise that I picked up on an article in the Times today. In essence

Healthy people should not take aspirin to ward off a heart attack because the risks outweigh the benefits, researchers say.

At the same time, unfortunately for those who believe that red wine can ward off heart disease, scientists said that drinking more than ten alcoholic drinks a week can increase the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat.

The claims were made in two studies presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona.

Every year about 46,000 patients in Britain have an abnormal heart rhythm, known as atrial fibrillation, diagnosed, which greatly increases the risk of having a stroke, heart attack or other cardiac problems.

The study into alcohol, carried out on 8,830 men and women in Britain, Scandinavia and the United States, found that those who drank the equivalent of ten standard drinks — about 15 units a week — had an 80 per cent increased risk of having the condition diagnosed within five years.

Meanwhile, a study of healthy adults found that those who took a daily aspirin for up to eight years did not reduce significantly their risk of a heart attack or stroke but did increase their risk of stomach bleeding.

The findings cast doubt on a “blanket prescription” of aspirin for the over-50s or as part of a polypill, a multidrug tablet being developed to help to prevent heart problems.

GPs prescribe aspirin to people who have already suffered a heart attack or a stroke, or those who are considered at high risk because of high blood pressure or diabetes. Thousands more Britons are thought to be taking the drug as a precaution against developing blood clots. A study published last year suggested that most healthy men over 48 and women over 57 would benefit from having aspirin prescribed but researchers from the University of Edinburgh believe otherwise.

Professor Gerry Fowkes said that his study was designed to find out whether aspirin could cause a reduction in cardiovascular events by 25 per cent or more. But among the 3,350 people in the trial, who were all aged between 50 and 75 and considered at risk of heart disease but had not yet developed symptoms, there were 357 heart attacks and strokes — 181 occurred in the group taking aspirin and 176 among the group who were taking a placebo.

At the same time 2 per cent of people taking aspirin were hospitalised owing to gastrointestinal bleeding, a known side-effect of the drug, compared with 1.2 per cent of the placebo group. Professor Fowkes said: “At least six previous trials had suggested that taking aspirin could lower the risk of cardiovascular events [but] our research suggests that aspirin should not be prescribed to the general population, although it does have benefits for people with established heart disease or other conditions.”

Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said the message “for those who have not got clear-cut vascular disease is that the benefit [of taking daily aspirin]. . . is offset by a worse risk of haemorrhage, and potential fatal haemorrhage”.

So - as usual with these kind of pronouncements where does that leave us? Should I cut down on my aspirins, give them all up or continue to wash them down with red wine? Help!!

Friday, 28 August 2009

More on children returning to their family home..

Around a third of parents over the age of 50 have offered their adult children a room in the family home as they prepare to buy their first house, according to new research from Saga. Commenting on the figures, Graeme Moran, managing director at Metropolitan Home Ownership, said that returning to the family home can be a great way to repair any negative credit rating for hard-up adult children. He said: "Some people may be choosing [to move back in with their parents because] they are so worried about their own employment prospects and income that at the moment they don't want to risk taking on a new tenancy," The National Housing and Planning Advice Unit recently released research which showed that nine out of ten 18 to 34-year-olds could not afford to purchase the typical property suitable for first-time buyers.

How the 50+'s shop

Money-off coupons and in-store promotions are more likely to influence the over 50s than any kind of loyalty to a particular brand, according to a new survey conducted by specialist mature marketing consultancy, Millennium. The survey of almost 400 people aged between 50 and 80 also reveals that more than a quarter (26%) shop for groceries online, which is said to dispell any myth that people in this age range are uncomfortable using computers. Over half of the sample spend in excess of £150 on groceries per month; with 49% believing that this figure is higher than their average spend at the same time last year. The most important factors to them when out shopping are, unsurprisingly, quality and price, which rank neck-and-neck. One finding is that 48% of those questioned said that publicised health reports did not affect their decisions to purchase or avoid particular grocery products. But, products claiming to be beneficial to health such as wholegrain, probiotic, vitamins and cholesterol-lowering products were particularly popular amongst the over 50s. Packaging and ethical concerns were also quite high on the agenda.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Do you really want your kids back living with you?

Despite growing up and spreading their wings, a third (31%) of parents have welcomed their ‘boomerang’ adult children back to the family home according to new research out today.

The research conducted by Saga Home Insurance, reveals that over three-quarters (78%) of over 50s enjoy having their children move back in with them – and today’s turbulent economic times are a contributing factor.

Over one-in-ten over 50s who have ‘put up’ their adult children again after they first left home did so to help their children out in times of financial difficulties. A further 17% have provided accommodation for their adult children following a divorce or separation.

While many children return home after completing university (26%), planning for a short stay while they find their feet, it seems many children may be outstaying their welcome.

Almost a fifth (17%) have moved back in with their parents for over a year, suggesting parents may be making their lives a bit too comfortable!

A quarter (27%) of parents asked for a financial contribution towards the increased household bills, but 28% didn’t want any financial assistance. 16% of children contributed financially even though their parents did not ask for help, whereas, 15% of children are unwilling or unable to contribute at all.

Even if their children do contribute to the household bills, many over 50s could still find themselves out of pocket as a fifth (16%) of parents even go so far as to make changes to their own property to house their offspring comfortably.

The over 50's entrepreneurs

A new report by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) found that so-called ‘third age entrepreneurs’, aged between 50 and 65, were behind 27% of successful UK start-ups between 2001 and 2005.

During this time, more than 350,000 new companies were established, with third age founders at the helm of 93,500, resulting in the creation of almost 400,000 jobs.

The report also suggested that the presence of more experienced entrepreneurs often translated to success for start-ups, with the businesses displaying the most impressive growth co-founded by a team of young and older entrepreneurs.

NESTA argued that older entrepreneurs would be critical to the UK’s future economic growth. By 2025, it is estimated that half the adult population will be aged 50 or over.

Jonathan Kestenbaum, chief executive of NESTA, commented: “At a time when an ageing society is being viewed as a problem, our study shows that there is a wealth of experience driving the UK economy today. Many third age entrepreneurs are setting up exciting new companies which are employing thousands of people.”

According to NESTA, there are 122,300 third-age entrepreneurs in the UK, of which 47,000 are the sole founders of their businesses.

Contrary to the preconception that tech companies are usually started by young people, the report found little difference in the sectors chosen by older and younger founders or their attitudes towards risk.

If anything, third age entrepreneurs were typically less concerned about having their homes repossessed, due to having other sources of income to fall back on, and just half had plans to retire at 65. Older entrepreneurs are also often motivated by the desire to give something back, NESTA added.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Looking forward to retirement?

Probably not according to new research by retirement income specialists MGM Advantage. This highlights that UK workers are delaying retirement after seeing the value of their pension funds plummet.
A third of older workers in the UK have been forced to delay their retirement after seeing the value of pension funds and other investments dip in the recession. Apparently, around 35% of people aged over 55 who are still working said they had put off plans to retire while they waited for the value of their pension savings to recover. One in ten people said they were planning to boost their retirement pot by either releasing equity from their home or by moving to a smaller property. But the MGM survey found that many people are poorly prepared for retirement: one in five Britons who are within ten years of retiring have not started saving or making provision for their post-work years. Which doesn’t leave them with much time to build up that nest-egg… Not surprisingly, this is influencing how people feel about retirement. Whereas once workers might have been looking forward to retirement many are now expressing real concerns especially those in the 25-44 age group. And with good reason: some 44% of people who have now retired expressed regret about their financial decisions ahead of retirement, and 6% said that these regrets caused ‘real pain’. This pension panic isn’t just an issue affecting the UK’s senior citizens – it could have ramifications for the entire job market. Over a fifth of UK pensioners are now heading back to work – mainly due to financial problems, but also due to boredom. So young people, who are already being hit hardest by the rise in unemployment, are now facing extra competition for jobs from their grandparents. And even if they do get into work, they’re unlikely to have the benefit of final salary pension schemes (possibly any kind of pension scheme, in fact), or generous interest rates on their savings. So retirement is looking a lot less fun than it once did...

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Who'se afraid of new technology then!

Over-50s are increasingly relying on broadband internet to help them communicate with friends and family, new research has shown.

According to the study by Just Retired, 90 per cent of older people use email to keep in touch, while 65 per cent regularly head online to do their shopping.

Commenting on the findings, Nancy Johnson, technology and digital inclusion development manager at Age Concern, said that it is important over-65s are given help and support to allow them to make such good use of the web.

"Access is important, but the key to getting older people online is making sure education and training is available to demystify online technology and also demonstrate the potential benefits of going digital," she stated.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

I'll have a Big Mac from an older person please...

A study conducted by Lancaster University Management School has revealed that levels of customer satisfaction were on average 20% higher in restaurants that employ staff aged 60 and over.

More than two-thirds of people surveyed said older workers connected well with customers, while 47% said they went the extra mile.

The study also revealed 44% believed workers aged over 60 brought mentoring skills to the workplace, helping younger colleagues develop and mature.

Professor Paul Sparrow, who undertook the study, said the results showed the value of employing older workers.

He said: "For McDonald's, we can show that the presence of older employees improves customer satisfaction and, in a service-led business, this drives the bottom line.

"Mature employees are a key part of the performance recipe.

"Employers must rise to the challenge of adapting to Britain's ageing workforce and this research shows that there can be a sizeable prize at stake for those which succeed."

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

PRIME’s Olderpreneur Roadshow

PRIME, thanks to sponsorship of Bank of America, are running a series of roadshows for the over 50's who are considering self-employment, or wanting to start their own business.

The first is in Bristol on 23 September.

PRIME’s Olderpreneur Roadshow is part of a practical package of support the charity offers over 50s including a Business Club, Olderpreneur Loans Scheme and Mentoring.

At the FREE roadshow anyone over 50 who wants to find out whether self-employment or setting up their own business might be for them, can come along. They will hear from local ‘olderpreneurs’ about their experiences, and inspirational business speaker Tom Edge author of Age Is No Barrier. They will also be able to quiz local business support organisations and network with other 50s wanting to start up on their own.

After Bristol, the roadshow will be moving onto Leeds on the 14th October, Birmingham on the 4th November, and Manchester on 9th December. A London date is soon to be confirmed.

“The over 50s are an increasingly important part of our economy. Yet in many cases their energy, creativity, experience and sheer ingenuity is being unfairly discarded. At least 3.5 million 50 to 65-year-olds have no work. Over 50s who are out of work for six months after being made redundant only stand a one in ten chance of ever having the chance to be an employee again”, says Laurie South, Chief Executive of PRIME.

PRIME’s founder Prince Charles says. “The experience and skills which people build up over a lifetime are an invaluable resource”, he says. “It is madness for society not to make use of this.”

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Job help plea for older unemployed

A recent press release from the Press Association quotes the TUC claiming that older people are

being forced into early retirement when they lose their jobs because of a lack of support in helping them find new work.

It warned long-term unemployed people aged over 50 were at risk of never working again unless they were given tailored support to get back into the jobs market.

The TUC said research had shown that people aged over 50 who were unemployed were 10 times more likely to still be out of work after two years than they were to have found a new job.

It added that every year spent unemployed by a man in this age group increased the chances of never working again by 24.3%, and almost half of unemployed people over 50 had been out of work for more than a year.

Unemployment among the over 50s is currently running at 4.3%, lower than the overall rate of 7.8% and only a quarter of the rate of 17.3% among people aged 18 to 24. But despite praising the Government for prioritising tackling youth unemployment, the TUC said it must also look at offering tailored support for older people to prevent them from being forced into early retirement against their will.

The group said it was particularly concerned about the 'work for your benefits' scheme for the long-term unemployed, which has been proposed in the Welfare Reform Bill. Under the scheme, unemployed people will have to do compulsory work experience, earning as little as £2 an hour.

But the TUC said the scheme would do nothing to improve the job prospects for older workers, most of whom already have plenty of skills and experience.

It said the Government's job guarantee scheme, which is currently on offer to some young people, under which employers receive subsidies for taking on an unemployed person for at least six months, was a far better way to tackle long-term unemployment.

The group is calling for the scheme to be better funded and extended to include older workers. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "The Government must introduce tailored support for older people to prevent them being forced into retirement against their will and face old age in poverty."

Friday, 14 August 2009

Living longer: the ageing population

Have a look at a great BBC piece on global ageing. Facts and some interesting interviews relating to the huge social and economic implications of the ageing population.

By 2040, the world's population aged 60 and over will more than treble to two billion people.

In the next 30 years, for the first time in human history, there will be more people on the planet who are over 60 than those under the age of 15.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

People ‘get happier as they age

....according to a review of the available studies on emotions and ageing. Dr Laura Carstensen, a psychology professor at Stanford University found that mental well-being generally improved with age, except for people with dementia-related ill health.

She asked volunteers ranging in age from 18 to mid-90s to take part in various experiments and keep diaries of their emotional state.

She found the older people were far less likely than the younger to experience persistent negative moods and were more resilient to hearing personal criticism.

They were also much better at controlling and balancing their emotions - a skill that appeared to improve the older they became. It would appear that older people are increasingly aware that the time they have left in life is growing shorter.

“They want to make the best of it so they avoid engaging in situations that will make them unhappy.

“They have also had more time to learn and understand the intentions of others which helps them to avoid these stressful situations.”

Saturday, 8 August 2009

This photo amused me - that's all..

Saturday, 1 August 2009

We now know - we are fitter than our kids!

THE average 50-year-old is now healthier and fitter than someone half their age, a study has revealed.

It found the average 25-year-old in Britain consumes more than 2300 calories a day, exercises only three times a week and scoffs 12 types of junk food a month.

But the typical 50-year-old has only 1990 calories each day, does at least four forms of exercise and treats themselves to just one piece of junk food each week.

And while those in their mid-20s have three takeaways a month, the older generation have only one.

Around 4000 people aged 16 to 80 were quizzed as part of the diet and lifestyle study, which was commissioned by global nutrition and direct selling firm Herbalife.

The survey found over-50s were more likely to walk during the day - to the shops or with the dog - while those in their 20s tend to drive everywhere. But when it comes to excuses for not exercising, more than a third of 25-year-olds blame lack of time, compared to 22 per cent of over-50s.

Is this generation really going to live longer than us.......