Saturday, 28 November 2009

Record number of older workers forced to shelve retirement plans due to financial crisis

A report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Developmen shows that 70 per cent of workers aged 55 and above said the financial crisis had left them with no option but to shelve their retirement plans.

The figure was just 40 per cent in the same survey two years ago.The research reveals that private sector workers are the biggest losers.

Only 36 per cent of workers in the private sector have a company pension, compared to 90 per cent of public sector workers.

The research will fuel the debate about 'pensions apartheid', with public sector workers enjoying gold-plated pensions - but almost nobody else.By comparison, few private sector workers even get a company pension, and even fewer get one that will pay for a decent retirement.

Without an adequate company pension, they have no alternative but to keep working beyond state pension age, currently 60 for women and 65 for men.

Private sector workers represent around 80 per cent of the workforce, but more and more are being left to face a financially tough retirement.

The survey, which interviewed around 2,000 people of working age, shows how the recession has escalated the financial crisis facing older workers. When the same question was asked two years ago, 40 per cent of workers aged 55 and above said they would have to work beyond state pension age.

But, just 24 months later, nearly three- quarters of workers are planning to stay in their jobs at an age when most of their parents and grandparents had retired.

This research unfortunately does not mention the other studies which show that more and more older workers want to continue in paid work but they do not want more of the same. Our book discusses this in great detail.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Voice of Older People

Do have a look at Dame Joan Bakewell's new report on the Voice of Older People - just published.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

12 reasons for employing older workers

Came across an excellent article in Entrepreneur by Stephen Bastien and reproduce an edited version of here. Please show this to all business owners.

"So where can businesses find a dependable, steady workforce that has no plans to move up and out? A workforce dedicated to the job at hand and that takes pride in its work? Who will cost them less to hire, train and maintain?

The answer? Older workers.

Below are twelve reasons why hiring older workers can help you maintain a reliable, dedicated workforce and provide a significant cost savings for both the short and long term.

1. Dedicated workers produce higher quality work, which can result in a significant cost savings for you. Stories abound of highly committed older workers finding others’ potentially costly mistakes regarding everything from misspelling of client names to pricing errors and accounting mistakes.

2. Punctuality seems to be a given for older workers. Most of them look forward to going to work each day, so they're likely to arrive on time and be ready to work.

3. Honesty is common among older workers, whose values as a group include personal integrity and a devotion to the truth.

4. Detail-oriented, focused and attentive workers add an intangible value that rubs off on all employees and can save your business thousands of dollars. One business owner I know once told me that one of his older workers saved his company more than $50,000 on one large mailing job. The 75-year-old clerical worker recognized that all the ZIP codes were off by one digit. Neither the owner's mailing house nor his degreed and highly paid marketing manager had noticed it.

5. Good listeners make great employees because they’re easier to train--older employees only have to be told once what to do.

6. Pride in a job well done has become an increasingly rare commodity among younger employees. Younger workers want to put in their time at work and leave, while older employees are more willingly to stay later to get a job done because of their sense of pride in the final product.

7. Organizational skills among older workers mean employers who hire them are less likely to be a part of this startling statistic: More than a million man hours are lost each year simply due to workplace disorganization.

8. Efficiency and the confidence to share their recommendations and ideas make older workers ideal employees. Their years of experience in the workplace give them a superior understanding of how jobs can be done more efficiently, which saves companies money. Their confidence, built up through the years, means they won't hesitate to share their ideas with management.

9. Maturity comes from years of life and work experience and makes for workers who get less “rattled” when problems occur.

10. Setting an example for other employees is an intangible value many business owners appreciate. Older workers make excellent mentors and role models, which makes training other employees less difficult.

11. Communication skills--knowing when and how to communicate--evolve through years of experience. Older workers understand workplace politics and know how to diplomatically convey their ideas to the boss.

12. Reduced labor costs are a huge benefit when hiring older workers. Most already have insurance plans from prior employers or have an additional source of income and are willing to take a little less to get the job they want. They understand that working for a company can be about much more than just collecting a paycheck.

Any business owner who's hesitant to hire an older worker should consider these twelve benefits. Older workers’ unique skills and values--and the potential savings to your company in time and money--make hiring them a simple matter of rethinking the costs of high turnover in a more youthful workforce vs. the benefits of experience and mature standards older workers bring to the mix. You simply do not have the time or resources to deal with high employee turnover. The next time you need to make a hiring decision, you should seriously consider older workers: Their contribution to your company could positively impact your bottom line for years to come."

Right on Stephen!

Monday, 16 November 2009

The future - 3 or 4 generations in the work place?

An interesting article by Shefali Rekhi reports work from researchers of life expectancy at the Ageing Research Centre of the University of Southern Denmark who are calling for a massive change in how we look at work. They point out current work practices requiring people to work five days a week, eight hours or more a day, till perhaps their mid-60s date back nearly half a century.

A study of life expectancy trends in the past century shows that many people can expect to live longer and the majority of those born after 2000 will likely cross 100.

Based on this, Professor Kaare Christensen and his colleagues are suggesting that people should have the option to work fewer hours during their prime years, have more time for family and leisure, and the opportunity to retire much later.

With technological and medical gains, those growing older in the current generation will be more active than earlier generations and will likely suffer much less disability, they project. Besides, working longer may even contribute to their life expectancy and health, they add.

‘Very long lives are not the distant privilege of remote future generations – very long lives are the probable destiny of most people alive now in developed countries,’ the researchers write in their paper. Titled Ageing Populations: The Challenges Ahead, it was published in The Lancet medical journal last month.

The researchers said that if their suggestions are implemented, productivity issues would be automatically addressed in the redistribution – because many people in their 60s and 70s would prefer part-time work to full-time labour. This will open up part-time work opportunities for younger people.

‘The average amount of work per year could stay at about the same as it is at present,’ the researchers said, emphasising that it will mean a net gain for society.

Prof Christensen said: ‘We have to think about making place for three, if not four, generations in the workplace.’

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The underpants controversy

According to a survey by Debenhams once we men reach 44 yet alone 50 we stop buying our own underpants. Prior to that our mothers bought them for us until we were 19. Apparently we only buy our own underwear if we are looking for a new relationship. I would like to register that I always buy my own underpants. I have been married most of my adult life - though not to the same person - and my current relationship is almost 25 years old. So Debenhams - what do you have to say to that! And does anyone else out there have anything to say about this?

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Sex really is good for you!

Caroline Jones has an excellent piece on this topic which I am sure all of visitors will want to peruse. Highlights are:
  • having sex three times a week could halve your risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • having sex once or twice a week has been found to raise your body’s levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A which can protect you from viral and bacterial infections.
  • During sex, the natural steroid DHEA is secreted throughout the body and after an orgasm the level in the bloodstream soars to five times its normal amount. Known as the anti-ageing hormone, high levels of DHEA are thought to keep your body fitter and disease-free, helping you to live longer.
  • An Australian study found that people who had an orgasm at least three times a week had a 50% lower chance of dying from any medical reason than those who only climaxed once a month.

  • Couples who have sex at least three times a week look more than a decade younger than people who make love less often.
  • Thirty minutes of sex burns up to 150 calories per half-hour, which is equivalent to a small glass of wine. If you have moderately active sex twice a week, you’ll burn an extra 15,600 calories a year!
  • It also helps you sleep better, reduces stress, eases depression, boosts self esteeem and reduces pain.
So why are you wasting time reading this!

To whom it may concern

Came across this story on Lily Fu's blog based on a story from France where a poster featuring a young, thin and tanned woman appeared in the window of a gym. It said, "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"

A middle-aged woman, whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster, responded publicly to the question posed by the gym.

To Whom It May Concern,

Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans.) They have an active sex life, get pregnant and have adorable baby whales. They have a wonderful time with dolphins stuffing themselves with shrimp. They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia, the Bering Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia.
Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs. They are incredible creatures and virtually have no predators other than humans. They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.

Mermaids don't exist. If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human? They don't have a sex life because they kill men who get close to them, not to mention how could they have sex? Just look at them ... where is IT? Therefore, they don't have kids either. Not to mention, who wants to get close to a girl who smells like a fish store?

The choice is perfectly clear to me: I want to be a whale.

Attack sexism at any age and any place!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Over 50s jobseekers treated like second class citizens

One in six jobseekers aged over 50 feel that they are treated like second-class citizens when applying for jobs, according to a survey* to determine the views of older jobseekers, carried out by online recruitment agency The survey also showed that it is common place now for the majority of job applications to go unacknowledged – 70% of those surveyed said that they had received responses to only a quarter or less of their submissions, and 15% of these complained that they had not had any replies at all.
The survey demonstrates clearly that the way a company responds to its job applicants can impact corporate reputation. Of those surveyed, nearly nine in ten (87%) felt badly disposed towards the companies who treated them so badly, more than half (53%) said they lost respect for the companies concerned, one in five (18%) would think twice before buying their products and 16% would go to the length of telling as many of their friends, family and colleagues as possible exactly what they thought of the company in question. Nearly two in five (38%) thought that those recruiters who failed to acknowledge or feedback on vacancies were generally lacking in manners and treated applicants like second class citizens.
It’s not only companies that came in for criticism from jobseekers - Government funded Job Centres came in for some stick too. Job Centres were variously described as patronising, unhelpful, disrespectful and totally failing to understand the value of experienced older workers within the workplace.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

And What Do You Do? 10 Steps to Creating a Portfolio Career

Do have a look at the new website that explores the concept of portfolio careers. This is now completely redesigned. You can download the first chapter from the new book and get free emailed tips. I know from the many people that I interviewed for the book that this is a career pattern that the over 50's find increasingly attractive.

Look at the Buzz section too and see the early reviews and recommendations that Katie Ledger and I have already received.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Daily portion of chocolate 'protects against ageing'

We have posted before about the health pluses of eating chocolate daily. Nothing to do with the fact that I am a chocoholic of course.

But the latest research, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, is believed to be the first showing a chocolate treat can prevent against the visible signs of ageing.

Researchers at European Dermatology London, a private Harley Street skin clinic, recruited 30 healthy adults, including 22 women, with an average age of 42.

For three months, half the volunteers ate a daily portion of 20 grammes of dark chocolate droplets that were very high in flavanol.

The remainder ate identical-looking chocolate drops that had much lower flavanol content.

During the three-month experiment, researchers regularly exposed volunteers to controlled doses of UV light to see how long it took before their skin reacted by becoming inflamed.

The results showed that, among those on low-flavanol chocolate, there was no change in the amount of UV light their skin could tolerate.

But among those on the high-flavanol droplets, there was a significant improvement in the skin's resistance to the sun's effects.

In a report on their findings the researchers said: 'Our study revealed, for the first time, that high-flavanol chocolate protects the skin from harmful UV effects.

'The main mechanism is likely to be the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of cocoa flavanols.

'But conventional chocolate had no such effect.'

Previous studies have found flavanol-rich dark chocolate can lower the risk of blood clots, protect against bowel cancer and even help prevent premature births.

Earlier this year, Swedish scientists also reported that heart attack victims who snacked on dark chocolate at least twice a week slashed their risk of dying from heart disease by about 70 per cent.

Not quite such good news for someone like me who largely eats milk chocolate!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Its good to grumble

Well, this goes against much of what we tend to preach but we should at least examine the research from Australia which states that being grumpy makes us think more clearly

In contrast to those annoying happy types, miserable people are better at decision-making and less gullible.

While cheerfulness fosters creativity, gloominess breeds attentiveness and careful thinking, Professor Joe Forgas told Australian Science Magazine.

The University of New South Wales researcher says a grumpy person can cope with more demanding situations than a happy one because of the way the brain "promotes information processing strategies".

He asked volunteers to watch different films and dwell on positive or negative events in their life, designed to put them in either a good or bad mood.

Next he asked them to take part in a series of tasks, including judging the truth of urban myths and providing eyewitness accounts of events.

Those in a bad mood outperformed those who were jolly - they made fewer mistakes and were better communicators.

Professor Forgas said: "Whereas positive mood seems to promote creativity, flexibility, co-operation and reliance on mental shortcuts, negative moods trigger more attentive, careful thinking, paying greater attention to the external world."

The study also found that sad people were better at stating their case through written arguments, which Forgas said showed that a "mildly negative mood may actually promote a more concrete, accommodative and ultimately more successful communication style".

So do you sometimes feel that you would like to have an Eeyore day?

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Over 50s Perform Best in Financial Markets

Not only is 80% of the nations wealth vested in us and we contribute 60% of the nations savings but apparantly we are also the most astute investors. Maybe that could explain the statistics above.

A new five year study of financial trading shows that the over 50s are by far the most successful, profitable traders and investors: a full 40% more profitable than their 20-something counterparts, ending the myth that risk and results are the stuff of youth. The research – conducted by financial trading coach and author Vince Stanzione of – studied the trading of 1000 UK individuals between October 2004 and October 2009, covering bull and bear markets and the volatile 2008/9 markets.

Time spent trading was a factor for all three groups. The 18-30s and over 50s spent more time on their portfolios, which may be because the 30-50 group had greater work and family commitments elsewhere. But clearly the over 50s had much greater productivity.

Risk insights also came to light from the research. Stanzione continues: “Another myth that the research busted was that older people are less willing to take risks. The 50+ traders took higher risks for higher returns than the 30-50 group, with a strong appetite for commodities and commodity companies: gold, crude oil and silver featured highly in their portfolios.”

The secret to the difference between youth and age lay in discipline, says Stanzione: “The 18-30s tended to break trading rules and failed to follow systems through. Maybe they had poor attention spans as they would often close out winning trades too soon. Older traders kept better records and managed their money better.”


We talk a lot about keeping up to date with new technology if you are to be successful in any of your life roles so as we discover things which we find helpful we will pass these on to you. This is one such tool that enables you to search with google and bing at the same time. Check it out.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Rainbow cupcakes

Thought you might like to see these little beauties. Wonder why I like them so much! They are actually the product of Hannah Miles who has a portfolio career which Katie and I describe in our new book on portfolio careers. As well as being a high flying freelance lawyer, she was a Masterchef finalist and is now a professional cook and author. It is quite dangerous to look at her site!