Monday, July 17, 2017

Working (and spending) longer - the Japanese way

For those of you with a WSJ subscription, this article is about how Japan is leading the way in keeping staff in the workplace for longer. Well worth reading.

If you don't have access then watch the video and look at the chart, showing the percentage of 65+ in the workforce. I think it gives you the storyline.

What it doesn't say is that if the workplace must be capable of supporting older workers it has to adapt to their changing physiological state. A nice way of saying it has to cope with poor eyesight, hearing loss, limits to body strength and flexibility plus a host more things.

There is a strange and useful symmetry about making the workplace suitable for older workers and ensuring they are also able to spend their money by buying your products. There is no magic about how this done (well a little bit). Have a look here and all is explained. Dick Stroud

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Good and bad news about how older people use their pensions

This report from the Financial Conduct Authority is the most authoritative research I have seen about what older consumers do when they reach the age they can access their pension savings (that is 55 years old in the UK).

The good news is that it seems they are trying to be sensible and not blow the money on a Lamborghini (the purchase most often quoted by the media).

The bad news is that many of them (40%) made this financial decision without taking any advice. This is not because they are ultra bright and don't need professional advice - the exact opposite.

What it shows is the financial illiteracy of many older people (same applies to their kids and grandchildren). In the past the Financial Services Industry saw the ignorance of their customers as benefit but now it is under so much scrutiny it has become a problem. Dick Stroud

The film: 'Coming of Age in Aging America'. Watch it. Soon.

Watching this film will take an hour or so of your life. It is time well spent. Do it soon since I think it will only be available until the end of July 2017.

Hopefully this link will take you to the Vimeo video. If that doesn't work you can read about it on Next Avenue.

The content of the film asks most of the right questions about the impact of increased longevity and provides some outline answers.

What I most liked about it was it stripped away the sugar-coating of ageing that so often happens. Watch any of the keynote speakers at the mega ageing events in the US and you will see the converted talking to the converted about a small subset of the older age cohort. You know, the stereotype baby boomer.

This film doesn't fall into that trap. It tells it pretty much as it is. Lots of opportunities alongside the reality, for many, of living longer without enough money and good health.

It was nice, but a little disappointing, to see some old favourites like the Agnes the ageing suit and Ms. Daisy the car simulator that I first wrote about in 2011. 

Hopefully the guys at MIT AgeLab are working on something new? Maybe not.

To be honest the programme raised in my mind a lot of questions that are not connected to ageing but about the state of the US economy and the simplistic assumptions we have about demographics. Maybe I will cover these topics another day.

Do watch the film. It will bring you back to the real nitty gritty of what increasing longevity means and maybe it will stimulate some new ideas about opportunities in the ageing business. Dick Stroud