Retiring Minds Ought to Know
Think your working life is almost over? Think again.
Jesse Kuhn / www.rawtoastdesign.com
If you’re over 60 years old and reading this post, it’s probably too late. Good for you if you’re under 30. You’ve got a better chance if you’re younger.
Age discrimination? No. The end of retirement as we know it—an emerging unpleasant reality that will reshape the quality of life and standard of living for billions. Start dealing with it. Now.
If you are a knowledge worker, you will not be retiring at 65. Period. Even if you are in a protected public union with cosseted pension funds, you are at extraordinary risk. Just ask the Greeks, the Californians, or the Japanese. This is a global phenomenon. Demographics and structural deficits don’t lie. Unless the global economy comes roaring back in ways that stimulate sustainable growth, even the most talented professionals can expect to work for at least an additional five years.
Of course, with stimulating careers, good health, and longer life spans, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it is surely not what most midcareer professionals have planned. (Indeed, there’s no shortage of optimists who still expect to enjoy the fruits of early retirement.) Forget the “saving for retirement” shibboleths. Strategically addressing those 60 (or more) additional months on the job may be your most significant long-range planning investment.
The simple reality is that retirement planning as we know it is obsolete. Take 15 hard minutes to ruthlessly reassess the reality of the “new” final years of your future career. The finish line has become elusive; the goalposts have been pushed back. Based on your current skills and competences, what do you think your workday will look like when you’re 70? Are you comfortable with the probability that you will be managing employees younger than your grandchildren? Temperamentally, do you think you’ll add more value as a mentor, a partner, or a part-timer? More importantly, what will your (much) younger boss think?
Do you honestly believe that, when you have to work five more years than you anticipated, you can get away with not being more facile, adept, and productive with emerging technologies? The inevitable aging of the (for now) wealthier Western economies guarantees a surge of innovative devices compatible with slower fingers and tired eyes. You will, of course, be taking web-enabled professional/technical development courses at 58 or 62, or you will be fired for cause.
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