Issue No. 1 – February 10, 2012
In This Week’s Issue:
• Shift Your Thinking
• RIPE Review
• Next Friday’s Pulse
“I think retirement in any profession is death, so I’m determined to keep crackin’.”
Actor Christopher Plummer
SHIFT YOUR THINKING
Billy Crystal is hosting this year’s Oscars because he delivers. And not just some of the most memorable opening monologues, he delivers audience numbers. Big numbers.
Ever since he bowed out of hosting eight years ago, Oscar ratings have slipped. The show’s producers attempted to fill the void. Last year they tried young people and ratings tanked again – a drop of 10 percent from the previous year to 37 million viewers. In fact, viewers in the very age group co-hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco were designed to attract – 18 to 34 year olds – actually fell 12 percent.
Crystal’s ratings, in contrast, were the highest ever. In 2004, the last time the 63-year-old funnyman took the stage, 43.5 million people tuned in. And that’s why the master or the true master of ceremonies is back.
Crystal’s comeback sets us up for the rest of the program. Just take a look at this year’s list of nominees.
George Clooney, 50, and Gary Oldman, 53, for best actor. Meryl Streep, 62, and Glenn Close, 64, for best actress. Kenneth Branagh, 51, Nick Nolte, 71, Christopher Plummer, 82, and Max von Sydow, 82, for best supporting actor. And Martin Scorsese, 69, and Woody Allen, 76, for best director.
A very talented group of people over the age of 50 doing what they do best. They’re also what we call ‘Ripe Masters’ – those who find new passion for their chosen field and stretch themselves in unprecedented directions. Case in point: Close is nominated for her portrayal of a man in Albert Nobbs, while Scorsese is up for directing Hugo, his first-ever children’s story in 3D. Another unexpected twist is seeing Nick Nolte in the lineup – the last time he was up for something was in 1999. Just as Crystal was yanked out of Oscar retirement, Nolte is back in the game.
So what does all this mean to you, other than that the Oscars will be hugely entertaining? As noted in Ripe, Hollywood is a perfect cultural barometer. And the message is clear: retirement is so last century.
Pensions were first introduced in Germany in 1889. At that time, the eligible age for benefits was 70, but the majority of Germans only made it to 45.
Since then, the average pension age in the Western World has shrunk to between 60 (i.e., women in the UK and Italy, both sexes in France) and 65 (men in the UK and Italy, both sexes in Canada), while life expectancy has increased to about 80.
Given the numbers, it’s not all that surprising that governments around the world are moving the goalposts of retirement age – the U.S. and Australia, for example, have implemented gradual increases that will set the age of eligibility at 67. What is surprising, though, is they’re just catching up or rather catching on. The concept of retirement is already changing in the minds of millions.
A 2010 study by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), found “70 percent of mature workers plan to work into what they view as their retirement years.” For about 30 percent of these people, the reason is financial – they will keep working to keep earning. What has not been as widely reported, however, is a similar number will keep working because they enjoy it.
It’s not just the Christopher Plummers and the Meryl Streeps who will keep working. Millions of us will. Millions already are.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 25 percent of Americans age 65 to 74 are currently in the work force (an increase of more than 5 percent since 2000). And, it’s predicted that number will jump to more than 30 percent by 2020.
Simply put, we are retiring the idea of retirement. Not by force, but by choice. Here’s Julia on the topic in an interview with the Globe and Mail’s Rob Carrick.
There is a shift taking place, alright. But contrary to what you hear in the news it is not all about a greying population. The real news is a shift in perception – our understanding of the meaning of work and life after 50.
61.5 million ‘senior’ citizens in North America x 70% who plan to continue working = 43 million people 65-plus in the workforce by 2020.
For readers of RIPE: Rich, Rewarding Work After 50, each issue of Pulse will offer additional ideas. We’ll share what’s working for others and suggest new exercises like this one.
Once you get an idea in your head, it’s uncanny how often you start to see that very idea reflected in the world around you. The same thing will happen with the concept of the ‘shift.’ Aside from paying closer attention to all the 50-plus nominees when or if you watch the Oscars (and with Billy Crystal as host, you know the producers are pulling that you will), you’ll also start noticing other examples. Some will be positive, others not so much.
Take Madonna. Her recent Super Bowl halftime show, according to NBC Sports, was the most-watched event ever, with higher ratings than the actual game itself. Nonetheless, within seconds Twitter went crazy with people picking at the pop star like she was carrion. (As Liz Garcia noted on Forbes.com, “What’s so funny about a 53-year-old woman performing the halftime show? Tom Petty was 57 and Bruce Springsteen 59 when they did their respective halftime shows.”) Possibly just anti-Madonna sentiment, but watch out for ageism.
In fact, as you move through the week, having conversations, listening to the news, notice how being 50-plus is framed – the end of the road or a new beginning? And make note of any shifts you’re noticing … including your own.
Next Friday’s Pulse
More on the most important (and most misunderstood) trend of our time.
Julia Moulden is an author, speaker, and columnist. Trisse Loxley is a writer and editor for media and corporations.
Copyright 2012 Julia Moulden and Trisse Loxley. All rights reserved.