Episode 38 – The Baby Boomer Generation Redefines Ageing and Retirement

Being a generation that never really wanted to accept the status quo comfortably, Baby Boomers like to recreate and redo everything in our world – including the concept of ageing and retirement. In this episode, our panelists headed by Dr. Drew Dwyer talks about how they would like to redefine retirement – baby boomer style.

Transcript

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Boomsday Prepping, our regular podcast for Baby Boomers, having a look at how we see the world. And we’re joined by our regular panel, Brian Hinselwood, Bron Williams, Amanda Lambros. My co-host Dr. Drew Dwyer is with us once again. And being a generation that’s never really accepted the status quo terribly comfortably, we’ve always liked to redefine, recreate, re-edit, redo everything in our world and I frankly don’t see why retirement shouldn’t be one more thing that fits that category. To lead us off this morning, Dr. Drew Dwyer how do you like to redefine retirement Boomer style?

Dr Drew Dwyer: Oh hello everybody. What a great conversation to have. One question I’m often asked or confronted with as a gerontologist in consultation with older people because there’s a couple of things, issues that sit around this as a philosophy or a vision or an understanding and how people like to look at things such as age and retirement and language. So I’m going to begin the conversation there with the panel and have a look at understanding particularly how we look at retirement and how we feel about retirement, but Boomers are actually very quickly and aggressively redefining life after retirement or retirement itself. They’re redefining aging and they’re redefining the act of senior living so I think first and foremost the conversation sits around how Baby Boomers and older people redefine and understand the notion of age because age is the issue I think around ageism that we look at. You see, we’re living longer, probably living better in many countries. The Boomer Generation is dedicated at the moment changing the way how the society thinks about age and how people view all the people but we’ve been looking, divide ourselves out in a Western modern world, first world country, it is the ageism process that is under attack. I mean we do categorize age at 70 for retirement because of pensions and superannuation and of course 85 is the geriatric age that we look at for geriatric processes. Moving to third stage and into end of life but I think that the Boomer Generation first and foremost, as we always all discuss usually now in our podcast is the art of gaining and building emotional intelligence first and foremost because I personally don’t think that Boomers need to focus so much negativity around the point that they are older people and the words such as ‘seniors’ or ‘retirement’ that they would find so offensive given the fact that one: they are breaking the molds and entering what you would perceive as retirement earlier than their parents did because of their financial gains in life and two: we are living longer and of course what we used to consider ‘old’ is not considered ‘old’ anymore so with healthy aging, active aging and positive aging concepts now in place, Boomers more critically look at themselves as removing the stereotype and fighting what other people perceive and see as aging. So it really ever sits around an ageist thing, but I want to talk, get the panel to talk about how they review age and retirement. Let’s talk about the word ‘seniors’ and how you think about it, what you feel about it and what do you believe for yourself as people who work with Boomers or are with Boomers and older people, how your perceptions of redefining retirement sit with you and then I’ll throw in some questions and some challenges. I’m going to first to Brian because he is our most senior Boomer on the panel.

Brian Hinselwood: Hello, thanks for that Drew. I would like to point out for people who don’t know that Drew is the tallest, so that is his handicap.

Dr Drew: You left out best-looking

Amanda Lambros: Oh that’s for Bron.

Brian: I was coming to that Drew.

Dr Drew: Thank you Brian. How do feel about age Brian and the word ‘age’ and ‘seniors’ and ‘retirement,’ all these yucky things that people don’t like to talk about?

Brian: It’s interesting. You said earlier in your preamble that we look at it differently and I’m not sure how different we look at it insofar as I don’t know that my grandparents when they were sixties and seventies or whatever, whether they didn’t think they were old. I mean we thought they were old because we were like four or five or ten or whatever age we were at the time so we thought they were old. And maybe ten year olds now think we’re old, we don’t think we’re old because we’re living in this time and the other problem, not problem, the other consideration I have is that we tend to talk obviously about our own lives. And for my life and I think for everybody on the panel, I mean we are, when I say comfortably off, I don’t mean we’re all comfortably off but we’re able to buy food little food on the table, we all have somewhere to live whether it’s our ideal place or not, we all have fairly good health as far as I know, I hope you do and so we’re kind of looking at it, in my opinion, from this point of view and I’m not sure how good older people are when they’ve got awful health, when they can’t afford to put food on the table, they can’t afford to pay the rent etc. So from my point of view, I just think getting older lets me get away with a lot more. I think as an older person, you’re allowed to say things, not allowed to but you do say things that maybe you wouldn’t have done in your twenties or thirties or something like that simply because at that time it would seem rude. Whereas now you’re a just a silly old bugger, do whatever. So I don’t have a problem you’re getting older. I’d like to be younger, don’t get me wrong, but there’s not a lot we can do about it. There’s not an awful lot you can do, time ticks on and we all get older. I think we just have to accept it enjoy it to the best of our ability and obviously having reasonably good health or very good health is a prime mover with all that because without good health, you kind of got nothing. I don’t care how much money you’ve got, without your health, you’ve got nothing.

Dr Drew: Well I mean I think primarily what you’re talking about there is the first concept of redefining retirement and that is the concept that sits around as I said, redefining the notion of age and what age means to older people and people as they age, even younger people. I have millennial children and I can tell you, the constant that comes out of their mouth is “Oh my God, you’re so old.” But I understand that from a Millennial’s perspective because of course thirty is  old to a Millennial. The Boomer Generation specifically as a society is redefining age and how it looks. Most critically though Boomers have an issue around giving up control and you see age is about control because you have no control over aging. We think we have control over aging, you only have to examine and pull apart my wife over that who I love dearly, but there isn’t very many new devices that come on the market through her internet shopping that are guaranteeing to knock off five years where she hasn’t spent twenty dollars purchasing this item that’s arrived in post. At the moment, I’ve got her sitting up in bed beside me at night with some I don’t know what it is, ultra violet intensive light device that goes ‘kkkk’ as she’s laying in bed attacking her underlying nutrients for her skin and trying to rejuvenate her cholesterol levels and it drives me insane and if it’s not that it’s something else she’s burning or stabbing into some part of her body to make her look ten years younger when in actual fact I think is a natural independent and strong woman, she redefines age all on her own just by being sexy. But then redefining a critical incident we have in a counseling space Amanda is something that I deal with because what I find is the older person’s needs and wants have wide-ranging implications for themselves, for their families and for their societies that they grow in and is this, I believe it is, but is this an issue that you Amanda are finding counseling that age is pretty much a concept of control around people? And that more or less as they do age, they want more control over it because they’re losing control of much more other things, particularly for me they should be focusing on and then not.

Amanda: Yeah, I would actually second that. I would say that there’s definitely a level of control so when people come in to see me, they talk more about life transitions and how to manage each one of those transitions. So as they’re aging, there’s a lot of different things that they have to manage. And definitely when you’re younger, you don’t have near the amount of control that you have when you’re older and I think for exactly the reason you’ve said is they put those levels of control in because they feel that they’re losing control in other areas. So they go “Okay, this is something I can manage and I’m going to go pull out and just manage it because that’s what I can do.” Now the problem becomes when they transition beyond that where even basic controls that they thought they were in control of like such as where they’re going to live, what their health is like, stuff like that, gets like swiped from underneath them and so it’s like they get to a point in their life where they actually have like, I call it ultimate control, like they really can get a lot of their stuff in control and then it starts to slip backwards where they have to start putting their kids or other family members, kind of delegating that control out because they know at some point they won’t be able to do those things for themselves.

Dr Drew: Yes and I think as human beings, it’s a general across all generations so it’s a generational thing that we always want to do things different to our parents so retirement and age as we look at our parents, even from a younger perspective, let’s say younger into 30s, 40s, people are always considering ‘I’m not doing what my parents did. Oh my god, I’m going to  make it different. I’m going to change it. I’m not going to age or retire like they did.’ So Boomers today generationally have a really strong intimacy with retirement, with senior living and with age so they want to do it different to previous generation. They’re going to redefine it. This is very very heavy in the literature, well-known in the social sciences and we’re now looking at how their interaction, I still believe in the re-definement of retirement. I think this again too much focus given to the aspect of age because I believe that as human beings, it’s something we know we can’t control. We want to control it but we can’t and I really don’t think that age is something that has a large or a strong impact on retirement because many people retire young or younger if they have the finances to do it. And many people retire later because they can’t, given their social economic position. But someone, let’s move across to Bron who’s a single woman in her 60s who’s reforming her life and transforming into not retirement, but what is it what would you call it Bronwyn a transition of I don’t know, is it a semi retirement? Is it senior living with a re-definement of life so that you’re not retired but you’re heading into that path your way?

Bronwyn Williams: Yeah. Look, I think it’s probably, for a long time I’ve looked at other people, I tend to be fairly for an extrovert, I seem to be fairly reflective. And I’ve looked at the people who often respond in the past have achieved great things have done so in that last third of their life. In their 60s and 70s, they’ve started something and so I took that on board and decided “Well look, I’ve raised my children. I’ve been through some difficulties in my life and I’ve got to this age.” And now so there’s a sense of control and what you’ve been talking about Drew about yes, I’m going to take control and set the path for this last third of my life and that includes having a purpose. I’ve always been a purpose driven person, that gives my life meaning and value. I’ve always wanted to contribute, to impact and so I’ve doing that through coaching in a niche field because I think what I’ve got to offer is help so there’s that sense of it. But there’s also that sense of ‘Yes, I am defining what this part of my life looks like.’ I’m not letting other people say ‘Okay. Bron is 62, she should be…’ Yes I have a senior’s card. I’m very happy to have a senior’s card.

Dr Drew: Absolutely.

Bron: I’m quite okay with getting

Dr Drew: Five dollar medications and discount in travel. Go hard or go home.

Bron: Yeah, that’s right. So I don’t have any problems with that at all but I don’t want to be defined solely by the number that sit with my birthday because I’m still the same person.

Dr Drew: Do you feel it’s a control thing? You’ve got control of that, that’s what you want Bron?

Bron: Yeah and look, I was going to say too I’m looking at my mum and I’ve spoken a lot about my mom and she’s 93 and she’s had four hospital visits in the last nine months and two lots of breaks and two lots of pneumonia but this last time that she went to hospital, she pressed her medi alert she couldn’t breathe, she was still taking control. She said “I can’t breathe. Well I need to go to hospital.” She’s put things in obviously with the help of the Department of Veterans Affairs, she’s been able to put other things in place now in terms of she has somebody coming in seven days a week to help her dress and undress, to shower, all of those things. So although there’s the sense of delegating of control which I think Amanda spoke about, there’s still very much a sense in which because my mum is so cognitively aware and like as sharp as a tack, she is making decisions around the things that she can’t control which is how well her body is because her health is failing but she is still taking control of what she can take control of.

Dr Drew: In regards to retirement, I mean if you look at the statistics that sit here currently, that rather than retiring, Boomers are actually redefining through a control mechanism so they realize the workplace is probably not the best place and they’re not going to survive much longer so I can tell you now between 8 to 18 to 26 percent which is it’s a good variance there but our Boomers are moving across out of the work space or the employment sector into this control of being a start-up of a new business, their own business, a consultancy and now nearly 20 to 25 percent of them over the age of 65 are becoming new startups, engaging with their active lifestyles as a Boomer starting new businesses or becoming consultants and this is now accounting for nearly 80 percent increase in the statistics of Boomer entrepreneurs. Now of course they’re doing this because they feel they have the better control of their work-life balance if they step out of their workforce itself, use their skills to recreate themselves. I think this is a redefining aspect of retirement for Boomers, taking that control back, redefining themselves with some of the modern technologies and ways, starting a business, moving into a business and planning and setting their retirement up so they’re still active and they’re working but they’ve got control of their income and their finance. Brian, as an actor and someone who relies this this in space how do you see this and do you know any of your other peers that are starting business when others maybe should see them as needing to retire?

Brian: Yeah, look I do. I know a couple of people who since they’ve retired from a nine-to-five type job, have started businesses and a couple of them quite successfully and I think one of the lovely things about today, it’s so much easier to contact literally millions of people because of the world wide web. And I just think it’s amazing, years ago I guess when somebody had an idea, they would tell their friends and hope they will tell their friends and it might snowball in that way. Now you can get it out to tens of thousands of people almost within the hour and I think that’s driving it an awful lot. I think the other thing is that with retirees and older people, obviously they’ve got more time to think about these things. They’re not going into the office at nine o’clock or getting home with 5:30 at night or whatever. So they’ve got a lot more time to think “Hang on a second, what can I do? I’ve got this idea about doing whatever it might be.” And I think it’s brilliant, apart from the money that they may or may not be making, I think he gives the brain an active path to keep thinking “Oh all I do crosswords all day. I can do this business.” And so I think it’s brilliant.

Dr Drew: Yeah, I live in Noosa which is I mean considered a big retiree space and it is. But I’ve been noticing of late and asking and interviewing a few people in my district who I’ve noticed have just started up businesses and they’re in their 60s and other people have commented “Oh you’re crazy. Who would like to start a business in their 60s for God’s sake? Who wants to be working their backside off for the turnkey operation?” And these people have turned around quite jokingly and said “You’re missing the concept here. We don’t work, we manage” And they’re using skills that they’ve built, these people had quite high-end managerial, human resource type jobs and they’ve pulled their money, they’ve got together and have gone “You know what, let’s set up the structure, the infrastructure, the framework, hire other people to do the job. Let’s sit back and let’s manage them using our skills and our entrepreneurial abilities and our age.” Amanda, is this a more positive mental health space for retirees or do you think it will bring them more stress?

Amanda: No, I actually think it’s a much better way to go because I think what it does is it gives the person, not necessarily responsibility but it kind of puts them within their court so it’s  a really actually positive thing to be able to do. To say like take control of this, find a way to actually move forward with it and I absolutely love that even in Australia recently we’ve had this discussion of potentially the age of retirement changing and stuff like that. And it’s kind of like well why do we have to have this designated number? If I want to retire at 40 or I want to retire at 80, that should be my choice and I should be able to put whatever in place that I want and if I want to retire at 40 and then live my life hanging out doing whatever and then at 60 start a new business, go for it.

Dr Drew:  It’s the ‘no standing still’ factor I call. It’s the ‘I will not stand still. I will not go on a cruise, play shuffleboard, do bingo. I’m just not going to do it.’

Amanda: You may want to do those things.

Bron: Sometimes, but not as often.

Dr Drew: Not as often as people think as retirees would be doing those things.

Amanda: Exactly.

Bron: My brother is two years younger than me and his wife is I think four or six years younger than him. He took medical retirement sold his business and then he’s got back into the workforce part-time. I can’t believe that they’re doing this, they go and relieve at motels while the motel owners go. So my brother, hello, does the irony. What? My sister and I are quite amazed that my brother actually does that.

Dr Drew: So Bron, they’re getting paid to house sit?

Bron: They are getting paid to house sit, which I don’t.

Amanda: Nice.

Bron: Now they’ve taken three months off between now and Christmas. They’re traveling in their van, they’re going down to see our mom and going around. So they’re combining a, it’s not their own business, they’re working for like there’s another company that contracts them to go and spend time that they’ve been out of Dubbo and different places in motels. But then they get to choose, “Well no for the next three months, we go be caravanning. We’re going to do the gray nomad, stuff.” So it’s again, it’s about control it’s about choice, it is about redefining how do I spend this part of my life and I actually think we need to just do away with the word ‘retirement’ because I don’t see them retiring from life. I don’t see myself retiring from life, it’s just a new stage.

Dr Drew: And this is the point. I mean, does the word ‘retirement’ even resonate anymore with people? Because I think it’s built over the years quite a negative connotation because of ageism and how people see it. But recent surveys, particularly coming out of the U.S. show that people just do not want to resonate with the term ‘retirement.’ Currently, I mean given that the U.S. has a different system they call it at the moment a retirement crisis in America and so you put those two words together, immediately people have not got or wanted to be attracted to the term retirement. Pensions are an issue.

Brian: Retirement more attractive to people who are actually in the workforce “Oh I can’t wait until I get to whatever age I can retire because I hate my job sort of thing.” But when might you get there, it’s a totally different thing. I mean a lot of people retire too early, a lot of people of course never retire, they just keep going until they fall asleep at their desk sort of thing but I think a lot of people in the workforce probably which I was retired I could sit all day doing cruises, shuffleboard, whatever.

Dr Drew: Yes. There’s been a large intake and I don’t know if you’re aware particularly in Australia this year, they had a large franchisee-franchisor type big conference in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane because what they’re trying to do is attract the retiree towards buying a franchise because of course these franchises cost a bit of money. And I do warn listeners to be mindful, get really good commercial and financial advice on this stuff because yes, your retirement and it might look lucrative to own your own business, you’re semi-retirement years but sometimes these franchises are not what they seem, do not offer what they’re being offered and you will end up flogging your backside out in the years that you wanted to retire. So as Amanda spoke before about yes, it’s good control and give them a different mindset, less on being on control you may make the stake stepping over into the void to be sucked into owning a franchise, a big brand franchise, think Subway or McDonald’s or something but you could be end up having to run like the wind bullseye.

Amanda: I want to just kind of interject there because that’s exactly what’s happened to a few of my clients is that they’ve retired and then a few years on, they went “You know what, we just want to kind of like open up a cafe.” But it’s a franchised cafe and so they thought “Oh it’ll be really easy. We’ve got the money stored away because we’re going to use it for our retirement.” They put all their money into this franchise cafe and they are running themselves ragged and that’s the main reason they come to me, their relationship is about to fall apart because they’re spending every waking hour in this cafe managing it because they weren’t business people beforehand but then somehow it sounded really attractive to own a business and put all your money into it.

Brian: One of the other things with franchisees of course is that you’re very very restricted by the company. I was quite friendly a number of years ago now with two franchisees that both had for the same company pizza outlets and they were both complaining bitterly at the price they had to sell the pizzas for and I said “Why didn’t they just increase your prices?” And they said “We’re not allowed to. The company said we must sell one at… (whatever the price was).” And they both went broke, they both literally lost hundreds of thousands of dollars and that organization just in case anybody’s thinking if it’s somebody that’s still going, is now no longer going. The whole franchise system closed down so many years ago now.

Dr Drew: Yeah. there’s quite a bit of risk that sits around this and people need to be wary of it. One thing I will say though in consideration to this, I can look at you guys as a panel because I know you, someone specifically like Bronwyn and this sits around the branding of yourself, brand yourself. I think Boomers are really well positioned at the moment to step back for a minute, take a break. If you’re going to retire, have a plan, my book Ageing in the New Age sets this up. Get a plan, mark this plan out but one of the things in this plan and I think I might start publishing a bit of stuff on this and that is set yourself up, get the advice on branding yourself and become a consultant. Not a big time consultant but a small consultant in an area that you have 20-30 years experience in, perhaps management, leadership, decision-making structure, policy, whatever it is and then putting yourself back into the market where you came from as an employee back to the market as an expert consultant, branding yourself. So I mean I would recommend anyone like marketing Amanda, who’s a colleague of mine and you only have to google her, she specializes in helping people set up their own brands of their own persons. And Boomers need to sit back and examine themselves, emotional intelligence, what do you got to offer if you’re going to step aside and offer it back? Most of us know, we can run rings around the ones behind us that are trying to take our jobs and I think if we can plan ourselves as Boomers, we’ve got a lot to offer in our retirement to companies. One thing I will say in this is it companies are missing major opportunity at the moment I believe, in restructuring themselves as companies to make use of their older employees. What do you think Bron?

Bron: Absolutely. I think, I know of people who are trying to get back into the workforce for whatever reason. They left a job or whatever and trying to get back into the workforce in their 60s and finding it impossible and I know of others who are may be in their late 50s starting to struggle we’d say some RSI, some workplace injuries that they know are starting to impact their ability to continue doing their job and I’m feeling worried that if they have to leave that particular job because of a workplace condition, that is not actually going to improve.

Dr Drew: Yeah. “Oh my god, we have to pay them out because they’ve been with us for 28 years. It’s going to cost us a fortune.”

Bron: Yeah. Not just that, it’s that sense of “What do I do now?” They haven’t, like so many Australians, they don’t have a huge nesting behind them. They’ve got a few thousands and they’re just uncertain that they’re going to be able to do get another job because there’s this concept that if you’re older, you can’t learn as quickly. Well hello, what I’ve learned about branding, marketing, setting up a business in the last two years, navigating a whole lot of social media platforms, I know you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Dr Drew: Oh absolutely. It’s very aggressive in the employee market, the workforce market at the moment specifically given the global climate change and I mean climate change not weather but that is impact but the climate changes in getting a job, keeping a job, setting yourself up. On average when you read the statistics most millennial employees will not last any more than two years in a job because they’re not looking at longevity, construction and benefit to the organization. They’re looking at self and whereas an older person will look at benefit, quality, branding, giving it to the organization, payback, pass it forward – the concepts that are well ingrained into the Boomer.

Bron: So if they’re giving a 60 year old a job, they’re going to be there for the next ten years.

Dr Drew: Well this is right. I mean there’s a company of course I’ve mentioned it before, but Bunnings in Australia do this extremely well where they value in the short term weekly input of their older staff – their brains, their intelligence, their thinking patterns, their customer service – and they set them up so that “Okay, you’re retired. You get your pension but you’re still allowed to work 10-20 hours a week. I’m going to give you a 15 hours a week at less pay but I want you happy, I want you constructive, I want you to be part of the community that we have here.” And I can tell you, I watch it very closely, it’s booming as far as place and choice of employee. People want to work there.

Bron: It’s competitive to get into. It’s actually quite hard to get a job at Bunnings these days because of that. Because people know it’s a workplace that is welcoming to older people.

Dr Drew: Yeah. I do believe they’re owned by Wesfarmers, I’m not sure. But apart from that, the fact is I strongly believe as we redefine retirement, as we change the concept of seniors living and there’s the other point I’m going to go to next, but I think companies need to listen very carefully, need to understand extremely carefully that they may be potentially wasting a transition and a transformation of their older workforce to step some of these people not out but to the side, put a little bit into retraining their thinking, their soft skills and bringing them back in on a shared experience and a partnership to be consultants. And I think for a lot of older workers, who needs the aggression of the X generation and the Ys and everyone else behind you trying to take your job, burn you out of your job, when you could be a separately paid consultant coming into lead, mentor, train, teach, educate?

Brian: I think one of the other problems Drew is that a lot of companies now because obviously they’re all on computers and they’re all doing whatever programs they’re doing, tend to think that older people kind of can’t wrap their head around that and maybe they can’t, maybe they can’t add a degree that a 25-30 year old might be but what they’re missing out on is that one of the problems, take Telstra as an example, it’s all done online, everything. ‘Press number one if you want this,press number 27 if you want something else.’ They’re missing the personal contact that the older person could do.

Dr Drew: You’re absolutely right.

Brian: A lot of companies are missing out I think on massive amount of business because they have no personal contact.

Dr Drew: Well this is coming back in the surveys and Amanda, you might want to talk on this that people are missing in a millennial world, there’s two concepts here. One, businesses are too busy trying to make their brand sexy and attractive to the Millennial. Now I get it but the Millennials are not the largest cohort of the employee workforce. Yes, they are the next generation of workers, however, not every brand can be that sexy and exciting and digital and go rush. But also as Brian stated there, people are missing the human contact. Amanda, tell us what that means as a sexologist because it relates to intimacy, does it not?

Amanda: Yeah. And I think that’s from a big corporate perspective, that’s one of the biggest things that they’re missing, is that they’ve kind of gone “Yep, we’re going to make it sexy. We’ll  put everything online because that’s what young people do.” And like you said they’re missing the largest cohort and by missing the largest cohort, like actually having contact with a real human being, that intimacy like even though it’s intimacy with a stranger type thing but it actually drives brand recognition because then you’d pick up the phone and you’d be like “Oh wow everytime I call Telstra, there’s actually a human on the other side who sounds like they care about my needs” or whatever whereas now it’s like I pick it up and I push 2, 2, 2, I get frustrated, I hang up, I pick it up again, I wait an hour,

Dr Drew: Yeah. And also and you have to understand too, these call centers don’t specifically work but these smaller banks I’ve noticed, the Bank of Queensland is one of them in Australia, they’re redefining the franchise or banker, the privately owned banker in the system but now when you ring up you get to speak to people at your bank. That’s a very important aspect to drag you away from the large four banks in our country because as you say intimacy is a different concept to sexuality. Intimacy is the concept of connection, a touch or feel or emotion and it is. To be able to speak to another human who is connecting with you means that you become emotional to that brand.

Amanda: Exactly. So I guess that’s how like the big corporates need to see it, is that it’s intimacy equals connection, connection equals more clients, more clients equals higher revenue. So when you start looking at it, it’s like well it’s a giant return on investment if you look at it that way.

Dr Drew: Yes, there’s a whole new platform of speaking and business for us if we want to get our heads together there, fans and air conditioners.

Brian: From the company’s point of view of course, employing people, actual people as opposed to a machine cost money so I can see from their point of view but I do think that they’re missing dreadfully in not having when you ring up, actually speak to a person because quite often, when they have these bloody awful voice recognition answering machine thing, whatever they’re called, and you explain in your clearest slowest voice what it is you want and “I’m sorry. I can’t understand that.”

Dr Drew: Yeah. There is nothing more frustrating than getting that.

Bron: If I can say something that maybe they can understand very short two-word exclamation.

Dr Drew: Immediately when I get these types of phone calls, I normally ask straight away “Is this phone conversation being recorded and can I speak to a supervisor?” That seems to be the first things that come out of my mouth, but one of the funny things here as we wind up our day and we understand, I want to look at the statistical data on the amount of Baby Boomers that are actually starting to realign their focus in financially supporting the younger generations below them, their own children or people they know, who they are connected with and I mean here as in supporting them in the next phase of their lives as in setting them up in business, setting them up entrepreneurially in the modern world, financing it and making a return on it. Amanda, have you got anything to add here because for me, this is an interesting concept. It’s really savvy thinking for a Boomer in their 60s with a bit of money, ready to retire thinking or semi-retired “I might fund my 30 year old children, 40 year old children now, who are looking to brand out, go modern. They need a bit of a financial support, maybe I can do that and make some money off them.”

Amanda: I actually think that’s a really good idea but having said that, there’s a caveat with everything. You need to know that your kids are ones who would be willing to take that on board and not kind of throw away the money or if you’re going to invest in your kids, have a really good understanding of what your payback is with regard to that investment.

Dr Drew: So stay away from your own kids and invest in someone else, is that what you’re saying?

Bron: Well I think there needs to be a business plan and a business agreement. Like just because it’s family.

Amanda: It doesn’t mean they know what to do.

Dr Drew: So the rule is don’t go into business with family and friends.

Brian: Yeah.

Bron: Or if you do, actually have a business agreement that is signed.

Amanda: Absolutely.

Bron: That is witnessed.

Brian: This is where the lawyers come in of course.

Dr Drew: Yeah, that’s right and just so you know you’re dead right Brian because part of the concept when you and I read through the data on it, and that is the Boomers have much more borrowing power and so the Millennials or the younger ones below them that will approach older investors are actually working that debt, that reverse mortgage. Harvard University has done a great study on this, the amount of people who are being approached by younger people as a consortium of older investors, saying “Here’s a concept. Here’s my idea. Here’s what I’ve got. How about you oldies reverse mortgage, invest you Super, invest your money into my idea and I’ll give you a 20% return because the banks are only going to give you 6%?”

Brian: Yeah. But again, as Amanda pointed out, you’ve got to make sure that whatever business the younger people wanting to go into is going to last. Otherwise, you end up with a reverse mortgage which is now you’ve drawn 500,000 or whatever the figure is against and they walk away saying “Oh sorry, the business didn’t work.”

Amanda: Yeah.

Brian: And you’ve ended up with a significant hole in anybody’s bank account.

Dr Drew: And one of the other concepts too if you want to have comment is too many many Boomers are now restructuring their transitions and transformations overseas, away from where they have grown up because the opportunities are existent there. They’ve got the finance and capital to invest and they’re actually repositioning themselves in, I mean let’s say in third world countries or easily structured tax-wise companies where they can go overseas, invest a bit of money in the development of other societies as respected, older, more savvy business people. And do you think there’s an avenue there Bron? Do you think is it fortuitous for people to do that or it’s a risk?

Bron: Look, I think the sky’s the limit to be perfectly honest. I think whatever we’ve got, the sort of the cognitive capacity to make decisions around what we do with our lives and what we do with our money, we can choose to invest it wherever we want to. Whether we invest it in a  business of that for our children, whether we invested in a business for ourselves, whether we take it overseas and do something different with it, I think what we’ve got now are opportunities that were not available to our parents’ generations but I would never have considered starting a business for myself in my 60s when I was thirty, that just wasn’t an option. So I personally think that Boomers are always as they always have been, they’re open, they’re exploratory, they’re pioneering in so many ways and I just see that this is going to continue. While there’s a Boomer left on the earth and who’s got a bright idea, they’re just going to go for it and whether it does succeed or not, it doesn’t really matter, I don’t think.

Dr Drew: It doesn’t seem to be much fear about risk. They’re not actually risk avoiding which is what many older older cohorts have done, ‘save it for a rainy day,’ ‘invest in the property, hand a property down, make a legacy for the family.’ Boomers now have more the tendency to be going spend the kids inheritance, “Stuff you. I made it on using it and I’m going to make the risk and if I  end up on the knees, well I will end up on my knees.” So Amanda is there is there a mental health issue that sits around this for Boomers? Do you think it’s a risk or do you think it’s encouraging all for them not to be risk avoidance and to be just risk savvy and manage it? And when I ask a question, I would probably put that in pension portfolios, Super portfolios, property Portfolios. Should they make that risk?

Amanda: Oh I think that’s one of those like ‘tread carefully and get to know what you’re doing before you do it’ kind of situations.

Dr Drew: Prior preparation prevents a pisspoor performance

Amanda: Exactly. So I think it’s one of those ‘if you’ve worked really hard for it all your life and you have it, invest it wisely.’ Regardless of what that investment is if it’s share or property or even yourself, I think is really important but I think we get back to the conversation like is this mentally healthy? Is this a good way of doing it from like a mentally healthy perspective? I think as long as you’re having really decent, open, honest, genuine communications with family members so that they know what you’re doing and the reasons and the purpose for what you’re doing, then they’re not like “Oh mom’s lost her mind. She’s going off. Did you hear that? Mom did this.”

Dr Drew: Well that’s how they feel. I suppose it’s emotional the end of the day, there’s “I can see my inheritance walking out the door and going down the street.”

Brian: Yes.

Amanda: Yeah.

Dr Drew: Many younger people get upset. They’ll talk to me and my wife of course is coming to me because they are saying “I’m really concerned about what Mom and Dad are doing with their money now that they’re getting older and they should be retiring and making use of their nest egg” as they used the language. And I go “Well baby your mum and dad are quite savvy about what they’re doing.” “Drew, they’re old.”

Amanda: Yeah, that’s the whole thing. It’s like that’s their perception on it but it’s like if the parents turn around and say “This is what I want to do.” Go for it.

Brian: Yes.

Dr Drew: I mean I love hearing people say “Mom, Dad spend it. I don’t care. Go for your life, have fun.”

Brian: Yeah. I know we’re getting towards the end of our time, but I have the answer to all of this.

Dr Drew: What is it Brian? Enlighten us all.

Brian: You will all be stunned and amazed with this. There is a lovely magazine that comes out once a month which is called The Monthly. This month, is the front coverage this man invented a pill that make him 31, a few years of age, he’s 49. Now this is a doctor, a scientist rather whose name is David Sinclair. He works for the Harvard Medical School so he is up there with the good ones. He has invented a pill that reverses aging.

Dr Drew: Beautiful.

Brian: I need to get in touch with him.

Dr Drew: Absolutely. What is his name again Brian?

Brian: David Sinclair and he works as I say out of the Harvard Medical School in the United States.

Dr Drew: Well Harvard’s about to make a lot of money out of him.

Brian: Yes, you can bet your life on that. Even if it doesn’t work, but I just think that by next week Drew once I’ve got these pills, you will have to introduce me as totally different person as the youngest man on our group Drew.

Dr Drew: The youngest looking member of our group. So yes, I will be interested Brian.

Brian: I hope we’ll have these commissions to come on.

Dr Drew: Let’s use you as a case study and record you and get the data. We’ll do an ethnographic study on this David Sinclair’s work.

Brian: Yes. Actually there is, about six to eight pages long, maybe even longer. It’s a very good article and it’s mainly about him but other people obviously are mentioned within the article about what they’re doing to stop people aging as quickly and in his case, to reverse it.

Dr Drew:  Well we’ve always been on the search for centuries. It’s been a never-ending part of history and ethnography to want to have the Fountain of Youth. It’s biblical, to be honest. However, I can tell you at the moment there is no Benjamin Buttons scenario at this stage. For me going back, I wouldn’t mind stopping it. So let’s have the final discussion around health and retirement. So really it’s important if we’re going to redefine as Boomers’ retirement, redefine the way seniors are seen how they do retire and live in retirement, I think we need to be conscious of the thought of health. So the final point here is healthy aging, active aging, positive aging and emotional intelligence or mindfulness as they’re calling it these days and really getting an understanding as a Boomer, check yourself before you wreck yourself – is what my kids say to me all the time. And know your health, I mean really examine yourself. If you’re going to plan your retirement differently, first and foremost make sure that you’re starting to probably unwind the unhealthy part of your life so you can begin to actually have a healthy Third Age in your life. I’m doing at the moment of course, I’m giving up cigarettes and it’s killing me so I may end up dying from not smoking but I’m doing my best and I’ve noticed I need to do it and I’m reaching a point where now I want to have a different Third Age in my life and I want to do it more healthily. And health is going to be a big aspect of how we do retire, the other concept is ‘forget about the language.’ Unless we come up with another word, we’re seniors. No one likes elders, no one likes seniors, no one likes pension and no one likes older person. And my answer clearly to older people and Boomers is get over it. Stop focusing on the emotional side of language and start empowering yourself with loving the fact that we’re older, we’re sexier, we’re intelligent, we’ve got more power and control and we need to start using it rather than hiding from it. Bronwyn?

Bron: Totally. I was going to say the most important thing is to be proactive with everything. It’s about like there are so many things outside of our control, so control the things that you can. Get your health checked every year so did you stay on top of the changes that happen as you Age. Keep your brain open and active, whatever the activities look like for you. Walk, do whatever activity gets you off the couch. Look, I know if I’m sitting as I do sit often at the computer, my hip get tight, they didn’t used to. I’ve got to walk more now than I used to just to make sure that that doesn’t happen, that’s the reality. I’ve got a 62 year old body but I’ll work with it and I think it’s just about being proactive and taking responsibility for what you’ve got.

Dr Drew: Okay. So talking about hips getting tight there Bron, let’s move across to Amanda. Amanda, give us something about retirement and being sexy and having sex and enjoying your health.

Bron: Lube, lube, lube.

Amanda: Move to be able to lube. Yeah, that’s true. I think one of the biggest things to remember is regardless of what age you retire, right, just because you’re retired it doesn’t mean you have to be sexually retired. And if anything, now you have all your time up your sleeve. Take advantage and use it to your best opportunity. Go get some lube, play with some toys that you may not have previously explored and yeah, start spending your retirement fund on some toys and some fun with your partner.

Dr Drew: Yeah, beautiful.

Brian: I can’t believe we have not been sponsored by a lube company by now.

Dr Drew: There’s a bit of media coming out on us and around us. At the moment we now have a sponsorship pack and I’m going to send it to everybody on the panel to send out. And so if businesses and people listening and they want to know ‘How can I get involved with this group of amazing sexy people on this panel, talking about a subject matter that I need to market to?’ and that’s the Baby Boomer market, worth about six and a half trillion dollars in the market of spending today globally. So we’ll have a little marketing pack for that. Brian, your last words on this, health and retirement.

Brian: My last words Drew comes back to something that you said when when you said just a few minutes ago that you might die from not smoking and I’m assuming because you’re giving up smoking, your life is so cranky that your wife is trying to kill you. So I’m kind of not sure how you can die from not smoking, other than getting hit by a bus which you can do anyway. But I agree with Bron, I think keeping your mind open, keeping yourself as active that you can be given your health and your financial situation. Just keep doing things, don’t just sit and vegetate.

Dr Drew: Yeah, it’s that ‘don’t stand still factor’ for Baby Boomers. Keep moving as everyone says. Stay focused. I think redefining retirement is just going to happen automatically for the Baby Boomer. I believe it’s a leadership issue that sits in the motion or the action of doing and that’s what leaders do. They just do and they motivate and inspire so I think every Baby Boomer needs to focus on that. Just get up, just get active and just do. Use your brains, use your intelligence, cohort. All the things we’ve spoken about today are important. Final words from everybody as a little sentence on our way out the door about redefining retirement for the Baby Boomer. Amanda?

Amanda: Make the retirement your own.

Dr Drew: Bron?

Bron: Don’t be defined by anybody else.

Dr Drew: And Brian?

Brian: Make your retirement fun.

Dr Drew: Yes. And mine is ‘go hard or go home.’

Wayne: If you’ve enjoyed our podcast, please click on the like buttons. Please click on the smiley faces. And if you’ve got questions for me or any of the panelists, please pop them into the social media commentary boxes. We monitor them all and we’ll get back to you or we’ll refer them onto the right person. This is Boomsday Prepping, my name is Wayne Bucklar, thank you for being with us today.

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