Some of us Boldies, are in our 50s and contemplating receiving our senior travel cards in the coming years, if they still exist by the time we get there. Other boldies are already happily there. No matter what side of the divide you are on, the majority of us see this threshold as providing an opportunity to think about who we are and what we want to do going forwards.
Some will re-invent ourselves, some will start new businesses, others will go back to learning or volunteer. For the adventurous amongst us there will be that mountain, that river, that ride or run. There is a whole plethora of opportunities out there for us to consider.
So, given all this positivity, why do many of us feel we become invisible to everybody else as we age? Could it be that we feel under-represented in the media?, as a recent report from the Creative Diversity Network showed. Or, is it because as a society we bracket older age, wrongly, with a heap of negative connotations, such as retirement, care, ill-health, mental wellness? Are we ourselves part of the problem because we don’t shout enough about the issues, the opportunities, achievements or the joy of older age?
Whatever it is, enough is enough. We are not invisible nor are we a fringe group that can be pushed aside or forgotten about. By 2038 a quarter of us will be over 65 and by 2050 there will be just 2 or less people of working age for every person in retirement. Furthermore, our spending power in Western Europe, ignoring public spending and social care, will be approaching €5.1 trillion, that’s a lot of noughts and should we be a sovereign nation would put us at number 3 in the world rankings.
Did you know, according to the Harvard Business Review, the most successful high growth start-ups were founded by people with an average age of 45, meaning plenty were Boldies and in their 50s’, 60s’ and 70s’. The Financial Times also found that the over 50s’ account for 43% of those who start their own businesses. Boris Johnson and his chancellor Rishi Sunak should think on about the positive role Boldies can play in creating value and opportunity.
Its not only the government that is going to have to think long and hard about attracting the older amongst us to be a catalyst for growth, so do employers whether in the public or private sector. There is going to have to be seismic shifts in policy, lifelong learning, re-skilling and flexible working practices to attract those of retirement age to re-enter the workforce. Those employers that can demonstrate a real ethical purpose will better align themselves to a workforce that will have one eye on the legacy they want to leave to younger generations.
As Boldies we should no longer be invisible, and it is incumbent on us as a demographic to stand up and realise we are a powerful force for good and a force to be reckoned with.
Go on say it: I AM not I was