Are Baby Boomers Doomed

Focus of SWFL - - Beauty & Style - 64 FO­CUS of SWFL 2014 By Ginny Grim­s­ley

Boomers may want to re­call one of the po­ets they grew up read­ing, Dy­lan Thomas, and his most fa­mous poem, named for its first line, “Do not go gen­tle into that good night,” a des­per­ate ap­peal to re­sist the trap­pings of old age. “As they re­tire, baby boomers need to stay true to their rep­u­ta­tion for grand state­ments, and to mo­bi­lize their skill set in the business world,” says me­dia ex­pert Steve Kayser, au­thor of “The Great­est Words You’ve Never Heard,”. “In fact, many older Americans may have lit­tle choice but to adapt their mind­set and sur­vive longer in their ca­reers if they want to main­tain some­thing re­sem­bling their cur­rent life­style dur­ing re­tire­ment.” Kayser lists a few trends that may in­cen­tivize ag­ing work­ers to clock in for a few more years: • The num­ber of Americans 55 and older will almost dou­ble be­tween now and 2030 – from 60 mil­lion to­day to 107.6 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the United States Cen­sus Bureau. That will likely strain pub­lic safety nets such as So­cial Se­cu­rity and Medi­care. • Amer­i­can life ex­pectancy is at an all-time high, and death rates are at an all-time low, which means some peo­ple will out­live their re­tire­ment sav­ings. • The global eco­nomic cri­sis has wiped out or se­verely af­fected mil­lions of mid­dle- and se­nior-aged peo­ple’s life sav­ings. But with an in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive pool of pro­fes­sion­als whose skill sets need to be reg­u­larly up­dated, how can boomers stay in the game? Kayser quotes Alvin Toffler: “The il­lit­er­ate of the 21st cen­tury will not be those who can­not read and write, but those who can­not learn, un­learn and re­learn.” He dis­cusses his method for how older work­ers can main­tain their value – by stay­ing “R-E-L-E-V-A-N-T.” • What it means to learn, un­learn and re­learn. The ever-shift­ing sands of tech­nol­ogy pose a spe­cial chal­lenge to older work­ers. Younger pro­fes­sion­als not only grew up work­ing and en­ter­tain­ing them­selves with screens, they also learned to adapt to tech­no­log­i­cal leaps. A pro­gram you learn to­day may not be rel­e­vant in a few years, so keep an open and flex­i­ble mind. • Be­ing R-E-L-E-V-A-N-T… Take this mnemonic de­vice to heart: Risk, Ex­per­i­ment, Lis­ten and Learn, En­gage, Value, At­ti­tude of grat­i­tude, No to neg­a­tiv­ity, and Time. “This is an on­go­ing, evolv­ing note to keep in your mind no mat­ter your pro­fes­sional sit­u­a­tion,” Kayser says. “I’ve been around a lot of charis­matic and ef­fer­ves­cent folks in their 70s and 80s who are still suc­cess­ful and grow­ing, both on a per­sonal and business level. The acro­nym en­com­passes the ideas that seem to pro­mote a proac­tive life.” • An­swer the ques­tion, “What res­onates with you?” This is a de­cep­tively deep ques­tion when you ap­ply it to your life’s tra­jec­tory. If life hasn’t turned out to be what you ex­pected it would 30 years ago, then it’s time to re­cal­i­brate how you see your­self, es­pe­cially if that’s as a per­pet­ual pre-re­tiree. If you’re not sure of how you see your­self in to­day’s set­ting, start with what the spir­i­tual writer Joseph Camp­bell called the “mov­ing power of your life,” which can be sensed by the things that res­onate within you. The things that res­onate within you, such as an un­usual book, may just be the com­pass you need to find your way.

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