Question- What is the hardest thing for most retirees to understand and put into action?
Answer- It’s what to do next?
On the Internet, EE Wint says, “When are we going to get over this belief that we all have to scrimp and save, do without during our entire working lives, living in self-induced poverty so we can retire and die with a few bucks in our pockets. Change the whole economic system so people can contribute and live a full life, not suffer so a few can live in sickening opulence.”
In my new book, Encore! Encore! Seniors(50 Plus) As Entrepreneurs: Their Time Has Come, Boomers say their generation has changed the world for the worse when it comes to world peace and poverty. This condition will continue if Boomers focus on increased consumerism and entitlements as thy enter old age. We must change this paradigm from wasted consumerism to seniors becoming more productive. More productivity will lead to more joy and more independence. It could also create more peace in the world by striking a better balance between the rich and the poor.
Question- How can we help seniors achieve productive longevity at the municipal level?
Edmonton’s Senior Declaration Act
The Act is 2-years old on June 3, 2012 and this declaration is based on the four ideals:
1. Individuals are respected regardless of age.
2. People of all ages are safe in their homes and neighbourhoods.
3. The City’s transportation system, urban design and physical infrastructure allow all people to participate in full lives.
4. Older people have ready access to programs, employment, business, activities and services that help them stay engaged, respected and appreciated.
Linda Sloan, Edmonton City councillor and serves as a council lead for seniors initiatives across the city. She also said that age is a gift to our city and we want to ensure our seniors’ skills, wisdom and contributions are honoured. Furthermore, Linda said that one way is honouring the creative and artistic talents of our seniors through the annual Creative Age Festival. This encourages seniors to get more involved in arts programs like drama, music, visual arts, literary arts, and dance.
Personally, as a senior myself I enrolled in the Writers Guild of Alberta which is part of the literary arts description above. To date I have written and self-published my new book titled, Encore! Encore! Seniors(50 Plus) As Entrepreneurs: Thir Time Has Come. Although I am participating in the literary arts subject area myself, I would like to suggest here that we must expand the Lifelong Learning programs for seniors to include other subjects such as business and/or social entrepreneurship, biological and natural sciences, internet and social media, and possibly adding civic or community leadership for the benefit of seniors that don’t necessarily take a serious interest in Arts Programs.
Recently, I attended an Open House at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Extension located in the Bay/Enterprise Center Building where a new program, Citation in Entrepreneurship was announced to begin in the Fall, 2012. This should be a great resource addition for those people that are thinking about becoming an Entrepreneur or small business owner.
Some relevant advice on the topic of productive longevity was given by (KFC) Colonel H. Sanders in his book titled, Life as I have known it has been “finger lickin’ good.” Recently I was asked to testify before a U.S. House of Representatives special subcommittee which was studying the problems of aging citizens. I told them that in the Garden of Eden God didn’t tell Adam that he should work just to retirement age. He said in Genesis 3:19 a man should work “till thou return unto the ground”- that is, until he died.
I don’t believe that if we can afford it we should rely on loafin’. Life don’t have to be easy to be wonderful. So I think you should plan your retirement, not as though you are bein’ deprived of somethin’, but with a spirit of havin’ somethin’ added to your life. You see, you are not startin’ out from nothin’, but from the point at which you have assimilated the lessons of a lifetime. Those years are sort of the crown you wear as you begin the next phase of your life.
I think I’ve proved that it can be done, said the Colonel.
Question- So, what might happen if a productive retirement strategy is not undertaken by most seniors?
If seniors are going to be lost about what to do next, many will be found watching television all day long, reading every book they can lay their hands on, increase the sleep to half the day, or sometimes just sit. There is nothing wrong with any of these activities so long as it is done in moderation. Taken to extreme, these can cause depression. You need to be productive and find something you enjoy.
It’s never too late for a new career.
I’m amazed at how many workers aged 50 Plus think they must compete with younger people to secure a traditional job. At a local McDonald’s restaurant, I met a 75-year-old woman who was working part-time to save $7,500. to pay for her own funeral exenses. She also advised me to be careful about eating too many fast foods. I was waiting for my scheduled business seminar to start so I ordered just a coffee while remembering what she told me. It’s just another example of a senior’s wisdom when it matters the most.
D. Weisger, on the Internet says that, “Todays conditions are the new normal, so get used to it and develop a plan that allows you to work until you are 75. That is not doom and gloom speak, that is reality. Everything has changed. That said one thing has not changed, investing in yourself will provide returns no matter what happens globally. Investing in personal training,education and practical skill sets will never steer you wrong no matter what your age.”
To add, many people 50 Plus have the maturity, wisdom, confidence, resources, and networks to start their own small businesses and become more active, creative, productive and prosperous. They should be encouraged to do so with the help of mentors, coaches, angel investors and possibly some new business partners depending on the senior’s individual needs.