Is It My Imagination Or Are People Starting To Embrace Their Age?

Left: Michele Lamy, 75, with her husband, Rick Owens (56), Top Right, Lustre Founders, Bottom middle: Linda Rodin (68); Bottom Right: Joani Johnson (67)

 

“Seventy is NOT the new fifty. But it is the NEW seventy.”

 

The above quote from Karen Wagner and Erica Baird, co-founders of Lustre stopped me in my tracks. So spot on. And love that photo of them (top right). Absolutely gorgeous.

I’ve been reading Lustre since January and find it extremely relevant and inspiring. The two founders, Karen and Erica, are longtime friends, both former lawyers, partners at prestigious firms.

And then, as will happen to many of us, they found themselves retired and realized there were no role models for them. So, they set about reinventing what modern retirement would look like for the modern career woman.

I cannot wait to meet these two dynamos. We are getting together for lunch next week.

Staying on this topic, I also read the great interview the NYT did with Emma Thompson. She spoke at length about how shocking it was to turn 60. Not because of the years but because she was suddenly unsure of who she was and where she would fit in. As she saw it, the culture had shifted, and roles for women went, seemingly overnight, from domestic doyens to badasses and nothing on the badass spectrum resonated with her. What I also relate to is Emma Thompsons’ total disdain for all that “60 is the new 40” or “70 is the new 50” nonsense. I’m with Thompson when she calls out the denial of aging as being unhealthy. It’s total bollocks in her opinion, and I could not agree more.

 

Read on below for the $15 trillion opportunity that the “new business of growing old” represents.

 

The New Business of Growing Old (Source: Fast Company)

“The aging of populations represents the most profound and guaranteed change to come to countries everywhere.” 

(Per Joseph F. Coughlin of MIT’s AgeLab and author of The Longevity Economy)

What is most important about this projection is that it is GUARANTEED. As Coughlin points out, many trends represent opportunities, but it is uncertain how they will ultimately play out, e.g., climate change needs to be addressed, but specifics are sparse. The demographics of aging, however, are real and 100% sure to occur.

  • By 2050, we’ll see a twofold increase of that 50-plus group for a total of 3.2 billion people.
  • In the United States, the 50-plus demographic accounted for $7.6 trillion of economic activity in 2015, almost half the country’s gross domestic product – and yet, less than 10% of marketing targets people over the age of 50.
  • Worldwide, spending among older consumers is anticipated to reach $15 trillion by next year.

Fast Company’s new series The New Business of Growing Old examines burgeoning categories such as:

 

Active Aging Week 2019 will kick off on October 1st

I was not familiar with this organization or this event until recently. For companies curious about the opportunities that an over-50 demographic represents, it might be worth checking out.

 

 

It was initiated in 2003 (way ahead of their time!) by the International Council on Active Aging® (ICAA). The weeklong campaign calls attention to the positivity of aging today. Humana is the lead sponsor.

The theme of this year’s Active Aging Week is “Redefining Active” because active aging is about much more than exercise. It’s about broader engagement—physically, socially, cognitively, spiritually, professionally, and civically.

 

Bottom Line.

For the first time, I am seeing aging reframed in a way that is reflective of how those of us over 50 are living our lives.  And, it’s finally gaining traction because we’re doing the reframing ourselves. At this point, we’re just ignoring the drivel agencies and marketers are targeting at us.

Let me leave you with the wise words of Keith Richards, who at seventy-five said: “Getting old is a fascinating thing. The older you get, the older you want to get!”

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