What do you get when you sit a dozen free-thinking, creative, entrepreneurial coWORKers around a big white table and apply coffee? A lot of brainstorming! Last week I gave the group a challenge: invent a way to monetize the 40 years of hard-earned knowledge my back-to-the-land parents have accumulated so that they can support themselves through a pseudo-retirement.
In actuality, this thought experiment could apply to most people entering their “golden years.” Our expectations are changing as the reality of the price tag of a full retirement is setting in. There aren’t many pensions left to be had, Social Security is withering away, and though we are thankful for the advancements in healthcare, it’s hard to save for the last chapter of your life when you may live to 75 or 105. An extra 30 years is awesome, but how do you pay for it?
Our other obstacle is that we live in a youth-obsessed culture. Many people get pushed out of their jobs long before they want to stop working, it’s hard to stay current as technology and trends go thundering ahead, and blatant ageism in the hiring process is alive and well.
So, back to the question at hand: How do you take the wisdom that comes with age, and turn it into an income stream that will keep you afloat? The abundant practical life-skill knowledge of my do-it-yourself hippie parents must have value to someone out there; I know I continue to benefit from it. But I’m pretty sure grandma and grandpa, as young at heart as they are, won’t be starting their own YouTube channel anytime soon. And what is the monetary value of the wonderful stories told by my 90-year-old neighbor who’s sharp as a tack and has lived on my block for 60 years? And what about me in 30 years -will I really be able to save enough to live comfortably from 73 to 103?
This is where the concept of pseudo-retirement comes in. I know a lot of 75-year-olds who have plenty left to give. Maybe they don’t have the energy or desire to put in a 40-hour work week, but there must be a creative way to put their talents to good use for the benefit of society…and their bank accounts. I challenge all you entrepreneurial go-getters to invent a new platform, or product, or service that celebrates, utilizes, and values those people who have made it so far in life. With any luck, you’ll grow old enough to reap the benefits of your invention, too.
Published August 15th, 2015
Written and photographed by Natasha Juliana.
Photo of Natasha’s dad installing a roof over her backyard trellis, age 70. Edited by Linda Jay, age 76, shown partying with coWORKer Thomas Herold. Both fabulous examples for us all!
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