Breaking the Ageist Paradox: A Futurists View of Demographics and Society

Welcome to another fascinating episode of “Hey, Boomer!” In this episode, our host Wendy Green sits down with guest Bradley Schurman, a futurist and an expert in navigating disruptive population change. Bradley shares his insights on the ageist paradox and how it affects our view of aging and older adults. We dive deep into the impact of aging populations on business, the labor market, governments and society as a whole.

Shifting Demographics: We delve into the fascinating world of changing demographics and how it is reshaping our society. From slowing population growth to depopulation in countries like China, Russia, and Japan, we discuss the implications and opportunities presented by these shifts.

Rethinking Work and Retirement: The concept of retirement is evolving, and we discuss how extending working lives can be a win-win situation for individuals and organizations. Learn about examples from Germany, where the labor market has been transformed to retain workers for longer periods, and how companies like BMW have adapted their workforce to address the needs of an aging population.

Listen to the full episode to gain deeper insights and discover how changing demographics and ageism impact various aspects of our lives. Let’s challenge our personal biases about aging and embrace a society that celebrates the vitality and contributions of individuals of all ages.

Takeaways:

> The Need to Address Aging Populations – Governments, societies, and businesses addressing the aging population – Challenges and opportunities presented by an aging population

>  Value of Work in Society – Views on the value of work, whether paid or unpaid – Staying engaged in work for personal value and fulfillment

> Unique Challenges for Older Women – Unique challenges faced by older single women – Considerations for policy and support

>  Transitioning into Retirement – Gradual transition options for retirement, such as dropping hours or job sharing – Transferring skills to younger workers

Don’t miss out on this thought-provoking episode and be sure to join us for the insightful discussion.

Call to Action:

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You can email me with questions or comments at wendy@heyboomer.biz

Bradley Schurman can be reached at Bradely@BeHumanChange.com

Visit his website at https://BeHumanChange.com

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Become a Boomer Believer at https://buymeacoffee.com/HeyBoomer0413

Transcript

Wendy Green [00:00:32]:

Hello, and welcome to the Hey Boomer Show. My name is Wendy Greene, and I am your host for Hey Boomer. And at Hey Boomer, we are changing the conversation about retirement. Rather than seeing it as an ending, we're seeing it as an opening to an exciting new and vibrant chapter, a time for exploration, self expression, and fulfillment. By the way, happy Halloween tomorrow. Are you afraid of the aging of our populations? There are things that governments and societies and businesses will need to address to face the fact that by 2050, 1 in 6 people worldwide will be over 65 years old. I reached out to Bradley Sherman, our guest today, when I read his article that was titled Too Old to Run, The Case Against Age Limits for Elected Officials, It was lovely to find that Bradley was aware of Hey Boomer and occasionally listened when he had time. But the idea of age being a factor in someone's ability to perform well in business, Government or other areas of society did not sit well with me.

Wendy Green [00:01:53]:

I mean, age is just one factor in our ability to be productive. And as the population around the world ages, It does not make sense to me to exclude such a large majority of the population from contributing Just because we are over a certain age. As Bradley summed up this article, he said, Age should not be a proxy for ability or fitness to serve in public office. So we're gonna be talking about some of that. We're gonna be talking about some of the research that Bradley has done in his book, The Super Age, And how the changing demographics are going to affect all of us in all aspects of our lives, and how many of us May need to look at some of our own biases about aging as we enter the super age. But before I bring him on, I want to tell you about my new favorite online magazine called Crunchy Tales. Crunchy Tales is the 1st illustrated magazine, and the illustrations will blow you away. They are so much fun.

Wendy Green [00:03:09]:

So it's the 1st illustrated magazine for unconventional late bloomers founded by lifestyle journalist, Michele DiCarlo, who will be a guest in a couple of weeks. Mikaela is on a commission is on a mission to reframe midlife As a time of renaissance rather than winding down. It's packed with helpful tips, clever ideas, Great advice for today's busy women. Crunchy tales is designed to inspire and inform. It's the antidote to ageism and boring cliches, the one stop destination for modern ladies who don't believe In the midlife crisis, I wanna get the most out of life. So I really do encourage you to sign up for crunchy updates and download your free pocket guide on how to age playfully. You can find that at crunchytales.com / join dash us. Fun.

Wendy Green [00:04:13]:

Really. It's fun. Go get it. Alright. I want you to meet Bradley, my friend Bradley. Hi.

Bradley Schurman [00:04:21]:

How are you?

Wendy Green [00:04:22]:

Great. Thank you so much for being with us today.

Bradley Schurman [00:04:25]:

And thanks for having me.

Wendy Green [00:04:27]:

It is my honor. Bradley Sherman is the author of The Super Age, Decoding Our Demographic Destiny, and he's the founder and CEO of the Democratic Strategy Firm, Which I don't think is called the super age anymore, Bradley.

Bradley Schurman [00:04:45]:

No. We've gone through a brand transformation. We're now known as human change.

Wendy Green [00:04:50]:

Human change. Okay. And they help public and private sector organizations navigate disruptive Population change and improve organizational resilience. Bradley has written for Newsweek, been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today. He's appeared on NBC News and CBS News and regularly appears as a guest on podcast, radio, and television shows, And now we are lucky to have him here with us. He has been involved in, working with elder population through Leading Age and with AARP. Bradley holds an undergraduate master's degree from the American University of oh, the American University in Washington DC, both an undergraduate and a master's degree if I did not say that correctly. Sorry about that.

Wendy Green [00:05:41]:

So it was your article, Bradley, that made me reach out because I wanted to understand the mindsets that were creating all of this concern about this Candidate's too old. That's candidate too old. And, you know, we have talked about some of them that are definitely showing signs of aging.

Bradley Schurman [00:05:59]:

When

Wendy Green [00:05:59]:

we talked initially, you gave me some historical perspective starting back with Reagan.

Bradley Schurman [00:06:05]:

Sure.

Wendy Green [00:06:06]:

Will you talk through that?

Bradley Schurman [00:06:07]:

We know when Reagan was in office, he was the oldest president we had ever had, and the population was concerned about him running for a 2nd term. In fact, a lot of the same comments you're hearing about president Biden and and former president Trump's fitness to run for office because of their age were levied against President Reagan at the time, and the polls all suggested that Reagan should pull out. Reagan won that election in 1984, securing 49 of the 50 states for the Electoral College. So even though there might be this consternation, at least through polling and perhaps through the media, about An elected person's ability to serve, if people can actually see action, if people can actually trust in what they're doing, They tend to put that aside at the end of the day, and elect these folks back to office. That's part of the reason why we have now the oldest senate By average age in American history, we trust older adults to hold our republic together, despite the concern that you hear nearly every day in the news.

Wendy Green [00:07:22]:

Well and it's surprising, you know, because you look at people like Us and people that listen to the Hey Boomer Show, and, you know, we're in our seventies and, don't see ourselves as old. And One of the things that is curious to me is if we don't see ourselves as old, then why do we see Some of these other people as old and ineffective.

Bradley Schurman [00:07:49]:

You know, it's always been Mind boggling to me that some of the most ageist folks are people who are older. My grandfather, who was born in 1914 had a neighbor in his nursing home who was born, a month prior to him. They lived right across the hall from each other, had relatively similar health outcomes, relatively similar life experiences. Until my grandfather's dying day, he referred to that man as the old guy across the hall, even though they were peers. So there is a disconnect between The way we see ourselves and our own personal abilities versus the way we believe others have and have their potential. It's troubling.

Wendy Green [00:08:36]:

It is troubling. We still we still hold on to that image that we got from Archie Bunker. Right? And Yeah. Edith Bunker. Right? They're all they're They were old. Yeah. Yeah.

Bradley Schurman [00:08:48]:

Well, and, of course, we've had popular media and popular culture that have Emphasize that point about older adults as persnickety or cranky or out of touch. Essentially, for most of the 20th century, there were one of 2 types of older characters, if they even showed up in public media popular media. They were the doting grandparents or the wacky aunt. Like, those were the 2 types of people that we saw in popular culture. It really wasn't until the 19 nineties that we started to see a much more fuller picture of later life With, The Golden Girls, a long running television show, one of my favorites, but also movies like Cocoon that started to Chip away at this idea of what later life meant and looked like. And we're seeing more of that today, obviously, with a program on ABC called The Golden Bachelor, but also in other media as well. And I think this is a sign of change, and change will continue to come.

Wendy Green [00:09:54]:

So would you describe what the super age is, and then we'll get into Its impact on our world.

Bradley Schurman [00:10:03]:

Sure. We are going through quite possibly the most dramatic and disruptive Demographic event in the history of mankind. I can't emphasize that enough. Birth rates have all but collapsed In most of the western world, falling below replacement rate, which is for your for your listeners and your viewers, 2.1 babies on average per woman to maintain the population. We've dropped below that, and we're down about 22% since 2007 or so. At the same time, one of the great success stories of the 20th century is that we extended life, Healthy life. So people are living longer than they ever have before. So when these 2 things come together, they create disruption.

Bradley Schurman [00:10:53]:

The first is a lot fewer children. The second is a lot more older adults. So by the end of this decade In this country, 1 out of 5 people will be over the age of 65. That's a first. We're also starting to see That there's a great disparity in demographics across the nation already. So there are some states that have already met this super age designation, like the state of Maine, for example, Where at least 1 out of 5 people are over the age of 65. But if you if you go into rural counties, farmland, the heartland, You'll find some places where at least 1 out of 3 people are over the age of 65, mimicking what's happening in Japan, which was the 1st super age country in the world.

Wendy Green [00:11:37]:

So 1 out of 5 is the definition. 1 out of 5 over age 65 is the definition.

Bradley Schurman [00:11:43]:

Mhmm. That's the starting line for super age.

Wendy Green [00:11:45]:

Okay. And then the the problem is that we're not reproducing at the rate that we need to to Kinda balance it

Bradley Schurman [00:11:55]:

out. Population.

Wendy Green [00:11:57]:

Maintain it. Right? And that we're not adjusting. So people are probably moving out of some of these older communities because there's nothing for them to do there, leaving the older population. So What's happening to that society, and how is government business addressing that?

Bradley Schurman [00:12:17]:

It's pretty dystopian, And it's a harbinger of things to come, for suburban and even urban communities because demographic change isn't adjusting. It the birth rates aren't coming up. They keep going down. And what you find in rural communities is that A slow erosion starts to happen. Typically, it starts with businesses on Main Street closing or perhaps A school shuttering or schools merging together. There are places where children are now, receiving school in a virtual One room schoolhouse. Essentially, they've gotta do their classes online because the distances are so far between school and where they live. That's the first thing.

Bradley Schurman [00:13:05]:

Schools, businesses. The second thing that happens is the health care infrastructure starts to erode. So Since about 2005, a 175 rural hospitals have closed across this country. So Hospitals are closing in places with the oldest populations with the most need. To add insult to injury, the caregiving burden then increases for, working age adults and for spouses. And we know that the caregiving responsibilities have a detrimental effect on a person's health. Lower immune response, for example, higher higher rates of, depression with this group of this population. They also miss out on on making money.

Bradley Schurman [00:13:54]:

They miss out on labor, because they have to take time out of their schedule to care for Mom and dad or perhaps a spouse. Then, you know, just to put icing on the cake, we've seen a precipitous Collapse of pharmacies across rural America, too. So it's a triple threat that's happening there, at least within the health care sector right now. And I'm not sure how easy it's going to be to recover from this. Now this all sounds gloom and doom. I know it's scary, and I know it's Pretty dystopian. But at the same time, this opens up a great opportunity for organizations to step in and say, we can solve for these challenges. We can take modern technologies.

Bradley Schurman [00:14:40]:

We can bring in novel thinking, and we can actually modify the way in which rural lives are lived, in large part around health care, which is something that is is grossly missing.

Wendy Green [00:14:53]:

So I'm curious, you know, you hear all about these country doctors. Are they leaving because the hospitals are leaving too?

Bradley Schurman [00:15:01]:

Country doctors are old. In fact, the

Wendy Green [00:15:05]:

new doctors moving into rural communities.

Bradley Schurman [00:15:08]:

You have none. So you have, You had an older population of rural physicians, nurses, etcetera, and they just have not been replaced. And despite, I think, some real concerted efforts by local governments and local hospitals to incentivize People from urban areas, doctors, physicians, nurses to move there, they really haven't had a good result. I've had friends who have been in medical school, and they were offered 2 or 3 times the salary they would have earned in a New York City, for example, to work in a rural county, and they turned it down because they didn't see a life for themselves there. So money isn't drawing people the way, we'd hope.

Wendy Green [00:15:57]:

Now you you suggested opportunities, and you and you, in your book, Try to pull on historical perspectives of things that have occurred similarly. Is there any Parallels to what we're seeing now to what we've seen in the past.

Bradley Schurman [00:16:16]:

The only other time in history where the global population has actually started to shrink, Was during the Black Death, the Black Plague. Pretty grim time for the world. There is, though, some opportunity in having a population shrink. I mean, we had 2,000,000,000 people on the planet in 19 Twenties. We have 8,000,000,000 people today. We grew exponentially over that period of time. So this is almost like a correction, in terms of how many people we can actually support on the planet, it could be good for the environment. It could be good for older adults Because we could go back to a norm where people are working and engaged for longer periods of time.

Bradley Schurman [00:17:01]:

This whole idea that people retire Consistently across the board at 65 is new. It is new. It is less than a 100 years old in this country. And when Social Security went into effect in 1935, a lot of people rejected it as an idea, as a concept. Why would I stop working? It's largely believed that prior to Social Security going into effect, people stayed into work, you know, 70% of people over the age of 65, 80% of people over the age of 65. There were a lot fewer of us that were that that age, but we were still here. Even in 19 fifties America, 1 out of 2 men over the age of 65 was in the workforce. But because we had this boom of population largely driven by the by the boomers themselves, then by, the millennials, Labor became really cheap.

Bradley Schurman [00:17:53]:

Going after young labor was what you did as a business. And we slowly began erasing older adults from the workforce. It was the 19 nineties when that bottomed out, where about 1 out of 8 workers over the age of 65 Was in the workforce. That's the lowest it ever was. We've crept up. It's between 20 25% today, and it will continue to grow. In fact, the 75 plus, are the fastest growing demographic in our workforce today, followed by the 65 plus. So Change is afoot.

Bradley Schurman [00:18:28]:

It might not feel like it, but the numbers don't lie, and we have to look at the numbers to see where we're going for the future.

Wendy Green [00:18:35]:

This thing. But, you know, you hear in the popular culture, you hear the the younger generation saying the old people need to move out because They're taking our jobs. There's no room for us to advance. And then you hear on the other side, but there's never gonna be Social for us because there's not gonna be enough people to pay into the Social Security system. Mhmm. So As a futurist Yeah. What do you see as some solutions, some possible solutions

Bradley Schurman [00:19:07]:

Yeah. It's a great parent it's a great paradox, and it's also part of, our collective history that younger generations and older Generations have a degree of friction between them. Younger people have always wanted to make their stamp on the world, And they are not necessarily as patient as they should be, to make that stamp. Now where do I think the real opportunities are? The the biggest one is is slowly extending working lives. That is the greatest opportunity At our doorstep right now, the challenge is is that all of us grew up in a world with with which felt like it was never gonna stop growing. You know, the fact that we had a quadrupling of the population over a 100 years is nothing short of extraordinary. But that is coming to a change. You know? Big economies, China, Russia, Japan are all depopulating now.

Bradley Schurman [00:20:07]:

Meaning that year after year, they're losing population. Russia has lost over 4,000,000 people since 1992. Japan has lost over 3,000,000 people since 2014, and China, which we think it was constantly growing, Lost about 850,000 people last year.

Wendy Green [00:20:27]:

Yeah. Is this because of death and old age?

Bradley Schurman [00:20:30]:

It's because deaths outpace births. Outpaced birth. And you'll find deaths outpacing births in 3 quarters of the counties in half the states now. The only reason the United States continues to grow, albeit at a very sluggish pace, is because of immigration.

Wendy Green [00:20:51]:

Interesting. Okay.

Bradley Schurman [00:20:53]:

So if we did not have immigration in the United States, robust Immigration in the United States, our population would depopulate much faster than it is. We have probably another 20 or 30 years of growth based on all the current models before the country plateaus and begins to depopulate.

Wendy Green [00:21:17]:

So what are what is business gonna do? I mean, they're they're not gonna have the labor. They're not gonna be able to finance their Social Security and Medicare and four zero one k's and

Bradley Schurman [00:21:27]:

Yeah. I

Wendy Green [00:21:28]:

What are they gonna do?

Bradley Schurman [00:21:30]:

What are what are we all gonna do is the big question because we've never had to deal with this before. We know that based on projections, the world's population will stop growing in 2086. That's the most conservative, conservative, sorry. A fire alarm went off in the house.

Wendy Green [00:21:53]:

Oh, no.

Bradley Schurman [00:21:54]:

I everything's fine. I'm very sorry, of course. The Challenge that exists here is that, we have a population that that will continue to grow for the period of time, the next 20, 30 years or so. However, business is not adapting itself fast enough to really take the most advantage out of this period. The single greatest thing that workers, businesses can do is engage workers for longer periods of time. That's a great source of labor, a great opportunity in the labor market to grab on to these people, And to keep them as active employees because when people stay actively employed, they also stay active consumers. When we're making money, we spend money. That's just the reality.

Bradley Schurman [00:22:47]:

So we can move from a pretty vicious cycle that we have today where people are pushed out of work, Whether made redundant or they choose to leave because of retirement thinking that it's gonna be this great deal into one where people stay longer. And because the labor markets are tighter now, we certainly have a great opportunity at hand To make some transformation, think about the labor market differently. Think about why is Why do we have this preconceived notion that 16 to 64 is working age and everyone else is not? That's backwards, And it's contrary to human history. Businesses have made some some moves already. They are typically businesses within companies, Countries, rather, that have a demographic pressure on them, like like Germany, for example. Germany made a really great transformation around its labor market, which they're still working on, mind you, to keep workers for longer periods of time. In my book, I talk about BMW as being one The first companies, the luxury automaker BMW, not known for old people. They typically thought of as a young person's car, But BMW made a massive transformation in their workforce because they realized it was getting older.

Bradley Schurman [00:24:04]:

And if they wanted to continue to stay Operationally sound, they needed to engage people for longer periods of time. So they started modifying their Physical plant, they started modifying the way they did business. They started reconsidering benefits, what businesses were actually offering to their workers. And then all of a sudden, people stayed longer. Well, wow. Wow. Guess what happened? The product improved. Yeah.

Bradley Schurman [00:24:31]:

And they were able to sell to new customers older customers because the ideas that older customers brought to the table, BMW was putting into the cars.

Wendy Green [00:24:43]:

Yeah. And there is a real restructuring with all of the different generations in the workforce now to, You know, be able to mentor both ways

Bradley Schurman [00:24:52]:

Mhmm.

Wendy Green [00:24:52]:

To the the the wisdom, the system that we I have built and, oh, this is the technology. Y'all need to understand that. So, you know, handled well, I think it can be very productive all the way around.

Bradley Schurman [00:25:07]:

Yeah.

Wendy Green [00:25:08]:

I'm curious about particularly solo agers. You know, women in my generation

Bradley Schurman [00:25:16]:

Yeah. Are

Wendy Green [00:25:16]:

probably more solo agers than the men because we outlive them. And so, You know, owning a a home by yourself, there seems to be, it's not a good safe place for a long term as far as caregiving as we age.

Bradley Schurman [00:25:34]:

Yep.

Wendy Green [00:25:35]:

Are you seeing some trends on different ways that Society, older women particularly, might be addressing some of those issues?

Bradley Schurman [00:25:44]:

Yeah. I mean, you know, every situation is gonna be unique. There are 2 prevailing trends right now in living situation. The first is that multigenerational houses are growing. They're becoming much more commonplace. And then, of course, as you say, the the rise of solo agers, a pretty significant and steep increase from there. There are a couple things that people can do. The first thing is that, you can bond together with your friends Into a cohousing type arrangement.

Bradley Schurman [00:26:18]:

That is becoming much more commonplace. There's also this thing called, the village to village network, Which is basically setting up a cooperative arrangement within your community to bring in services and supports as needed as you as you age. Obviously, there are platforms like, Airbnb, and the like that allow you to rent out rooms in your house, or maybe if you have an apartment in your house, to travelers, that can help increase, your your income during this period of time. And then, you know, we're starting to see, both, at the policy level. Of course, it's not consistent across the board, but In places like the Netherlands and Israel, I think in Denver, Colorado, they've set up these cohousing arrangements between students and older adults, where you essentially trade, space for services, or or make a little income off of it. And those have all been been very beneficial too. The situation for for older women is unique. The situation for older single women is even more unique.

Bradley Schurman [00:27:28]:

Lesser income over the lifetime, and you're gonna live longer. So just from the financial preparedness point of view, that's hard. So I think that, for those those of you who are single and female. And in this very active part of your life, look at where you can make those those connections now. Don't wait, because this help will help build financial resilience for you, and it will help build, even to some degree health resilience Because you'll have that support network behind you.

Wendy Green [00:28:03]:

Yeah. I think that's important, Bradley. And I think there are other areas that we, As we age, our our having to refigure out how we manage. You know? How do you Provide yourself meals if you're you know, you don't buy a lot of food because it's gonna go bad if before you eat it, and Do you own a car? And, you know, all of those things that our society has become so This is what we all do. Right.

Bradley Schurman [00:28:34]:

It's

Wendy Green [00:28:34]:

gonna have to adjust and change.

Bradley Schurman [00:28:36]:

Yeah. And, you know, it's interesting. I've done a lot of work in Japan, and There are businesses in Japan. I've seen this in Germany too. They haven't quite caught on here in the States yet, at least at a macro scale, But grocery stores will sell more single serving items now because there are more people living as Singles. Now, are you paying more per ounce? Yes. On average, it's more per ounce, but you win because you're not wasting as much. And it was across the board.

Bradley Schurman [00:29:07]:

It was really interesting, both in Germany and Japan, how they did this, because it was even for alcohol sales. They even did, like, airline service bottle serving bottles in the store, which I had never seen before. They said, you know, people didn't wanna waste a bottle of wine. They wanted just to have a serving, And this is how the retail market, how consumerism, adapted to the shift in our in our population. So there's always gonna be opportunity even with an aging or declining population to meet the needs of the people that are here. It's just we have to be a bit more creative now in how we do it. There aren't gonna be these hordes of young people like there were in the past. You know, Gen z is sizably smaller than Boomers by about 7,000,000 people.

Wendy Green [00:29:56]:

Yeah. Tell me about that because when we talked, I said, well, I thought the boomers were the largest generation.

Bradley Schurman [00:30:02]:

They were.

Wendy Green [00:30:04]:

But they're not still.

Bradley Schurman [00:30:05]:

Not anymore.

Wendy Green [00:30:06]:

So there's more parity, I think you said.

Bradley Schurman [00:30:08]:

There is greater parity among generations. So about 2,000,000 boomers die every year. That's just part of the deal. Right? So boomers are now down to about 68,000,000 in total, making them, the 4th largest generation. And the largest one is Millennials, followed by Gen X and then Gen Z, and now the boomers. Well, what a crisis Of thinking for boomers, the largest generation for most of their lives is now the smallest generation. And year on year, it will shrink. And what comes with that is, to some degree, diminished Appreciation from businesses as consumers, diminished representation in media, And, you know, diminished representation in the electorate.

Bradley Schurman [00:31:04]:

You know, we have a very old Congress now, as I highlighted earlier, I think there's going to be quite a bit of change. Young people are Surprisingly progressive. 60 plus percent of on average of both the millennials And Gen Z vote for progressive candidates. So that will hasten the divide for a bit longer, and then, You know, might turn into a very progressive period in this country. We'll see. But young people young people, because of their, Upbringing because of the events that they've witnessed in their lifetime. These are the children of 9/11. These are the children of the Great Recession.

Bradley Schurman [00:31:51]:

These and they are the most diverse generation we've In terms of race and ethnicity, well, they want change, and they're pushing for it. Interesting enough, though, Despite their, diversity, they have a lot of the same characteristics as my grandparents' generation.

Wendy Green [00:32:11]:

Is that right?

Bradley Schurman [00:32:11]:

We're the greatest generation. Yeah. They're they're big on savings. They're big on the collective good. They're huge supporters of unions. The fact that we had you know, UAW has Essentially, brokered contracts, favorable contracts in 4 weeks with all 3 automakers. Wow. I mean, that suggests to me that we are in a very, very different period than we were before COVID, and one that's not going away anytime soon.

Wendy Green [00:32:40]:

Yeah. And so I guess the boomers had a collective mindset, but it also became rather individualistic

Bradley Schurman [00:32:47]:

Yes.

Wendy Green [00:32:48]:

More so in gen x. Right?

Bradley Schurman [00:32:51]:

Yeah. I mean, the the individualism of of boomers is is well well, documented. Gen x to some degree. Yeah. But the collectivism swung really around millennials. That's when it really began to swing. And, Gen z, I mean, shocking shocking Collectivism in their Yeah.

Wendy Green [00:33:16]:

I see it. My grandchildren. I love that.

Bradley Schurman [00:33:18]:

Yeah.

Wendy Green [00:33:19]:

Yeah. Yeah. So what what do you think We need to do as a generation to advocate for ourselves so that we're not, you know, left behind Because we like I said in the opening, you know, we still wanna live vibrant, effective, engaged lives.

Bradley Schurman [00:33:39]:

Yeah. And you should. There should be no barriers to that. We are still dealing with an ageist society, And one that I think is a little less ageist than it was maybe a year ago, certainly 10 years ago, but it still is a prevailing bias. I think we should challenge ageism wherever we see it, but I also think that we should, try to stay centered in the zeitgeist. You know, what what is culture now? How do we tether to culture? How do we show up in culture? Those things require some individual action. I also think we place an incredible value on work In our culture, in our society, and when people can stay engaged in work, whether it's paid or unpaid, it doesn't really matter. People see greater value in you as a person.

Bradley Schurman [00:34:33]:

Retirement pulls you out of the game. It literally Yanks you from the zeitgeist, and I think it's highly problematic for a generation trying to maintain their relevancy, if people walk away from work.

Wendy Green [00:34:50]:

Yeah. And I see that all the time. You know, people Suddenly start to feel like they're invisible, and they don't know where they can add value anymore when they don't have that title. And And a lot of very professional people have a hard time transitioning to unpaid work because it's not as valuable.

Bradley Schurman [00:35:10]:

Right. Yeah. I, you know, I I think what what I think was coming, in the next 5 to 10 years is that we'll see more and more companies offer a better off ramp for people. So today, essentially, the model is You're working one day, you're retired the next. I think that we'll see more companies look to give a runway that allows people to slide into retirement, Dropping hours over a period of time, dropping them out of work over a period of time, job sharing With younger people transferring skills and knowledge and expertise, I think that is that's what the future looks like. It's certainly what the future looks like for an enterprise that understands our demographic change and understands that, yes, you still need to go after these young consumers. No one's saying don't go after them, but there's this whole other group that sits up here that is pretty valuable. And if you're able to capture both during this period of demographic change, you can actually expand your customer base.

Bradley Schurman [00:36:12]:

You can expand your labor base. Like, that's a pretty compelling argument for leaning into demographic change.

Wendy Green [00:36:20]:

Absolutely.

Bradley Schurman [00:36:21]:

And one business you should take on. I mean, it's it's not easy to do diversity. It's not easy to do inclusion within workplaces, But time and time again, every study comes to the same conclusion: it benefits the bottom line. Companies make money off of it.

Wendy Green [00:36:40]:

So Josephine says this is validating the first time she's hearing about this at work, And it's food for thought, and she, does still work. So interesting. And I and you said, DEI, I was Gonna ask you about that. So you work within companies, and, you know, the big thing now is diversity, equity, inclusion. Mhmm. And what about older workers?

Bradley Schurman [00:37:05]:

I you get that you get that response for a lot of companies. What about them? Only about 8% of companies worldwide consider aging or longevity as part of their DEI strategies. It is a really big missed opportunity. Interestingly enough, though, the people that are running these companies are typically older adults. So Of course. Again, bringing it back to that early point we had about older people being ageist against themselves. Yeah. This is This is showing up in, in corporations too.

Bradley Schurman [00:37:40]:

You know, you can have a corporate CEO that's, You know, 65, 75, 85 years old, the 1st place they're gonna cut is older workers. And a lot of times, that Salary. That's what they're looking at as numbers on a ledger. But it but but they they are typically the first ones to go.

Wendy Green [00:38:01]:

Well, there's a lot of work to do.

Bradley Schurman [00:38:03]:

Yeah. And I think I think what companies some companies, I won't say all because that would be ridiculous, I think what some companies are coming to the realization of is that if they have open and honest conversations with their Older employees, about what their goals are. You know? What do you what do you wanna do when you grow up? I think it's a natural question to ask somebody regardless of age. I think you'll start to get a very clear picture from that about what they want. One of the big mistakes that companies make is they start making assumptions about a person's retirement trajectory. They think, oh, well, you know, Wendy's at 60 years old. I'm making this up. Wendy's 60 years old.

Bradley Schurman [00:38:45]:

She's probably gonna be out within the next 5 years. We'll keep her. She does a good job, but we're not gonna invest Invest in invest in her anymore. We're not gonna give the same levels of training. We're not gonna open up the same opportunities, for her to grow. Well, that's a big mistake. That's a big mistake. I I argue consistently that companies today need to invest as much In the 1st 5 years of work for their younger employees as they do at the last 5 years of work for their older employees.

Bradley Schurman [00:39:14]:

Like, we wanna get the most productive opportunity out of people. And if we let them wither on the vine without getting that that growth potential out of them, then they will do just that. It's a self fulfilling prophecy.

Wendy Green [00:39:27]:

Yeah. And that makes me think of 2 different questions. Okay. 1 is the the 100 year Life.

Bradley Schurman [00:39:33]:

Yep.

Wendy Green [00:39:34]:

I'm sure you've read that. Right?

Bradley Schurman [00:39:36]:

Yes.

Wendy Green [00:39:36]:

Okay. And so so they talk about this trajectory of You work for a while. You take some time off. You do some lifelong learning. You study about different cultures. You come back to work, and, you know, it's a nice, flow of staying engaged and then taking a break and learning new skills and coming back. So the the loyalty to a company, a company, no longer exists. And I think in what you were talking about investing in the 1st 5 years and investing in the last 5 years, Again, if you're if you're changing companies a lot, you know, where where is the loyalty from the employee or from the company to make that

Bradley Schurman [00:40:23]:

Well, so the fundamental change that's happening right now, it hasn't shown up in terms of, People staying in a job for longer periods of time yet. But what we're starting to see is what we started to see what we saw in the 19 fifties Is that companies are starting to compete for labor now. They're competing with novel benefits. There was a great story, I think it was in the Times this morning, about how Vacation days are up. Companies are offering not nonmonetary, benefits like an extra week of vacation to their employees to keep them. When you think about the golden era of the American workplace, you know, obviously, certain groups were excluded from this, but we think about the 19 fifties. We think about, like, everyone had health care benefits. Everyone had a corporate pension.

Bradley Schurman [00:41:11]:

Like, all of these things were part of American working life. Companies, because of the tightness of the labor market, have no choice but to increase salaries and benefits, period. So when they do that, they're moving away from a recruitment stance, which is essentially the way the American workplaces has conducted itself since the 1960s to a retainment stance. So you're not thinking about Kind of a constant churn, and this is what they're doing right now. The average turnover for a millennial in the workplace is 2.75 years. I mean, that's crazy.

Wendy Green [00:41:50]:

Right.

Bradley Schurman [00:41:51]:

They want to enhance the life cycle of their employees now. They need to do that. They need to enhance the life cycle of their employees. So People stay in 5, 10, 15, 20 years, maybe make a career at the same company like people used to do. This is a slow turning ship, though. It's not going to happen overnight. But as businesses are pushed in this direction and really Employees are pushing them in this direction, you'll start to see the change overall. Because, honestly, why do people leave jobs? They leave because of money.

Bradley Schurman [00:42:28]:

They leave because of bad managers. Well, if you have a labor shortage, which is essentially what we have now, and you have people competing over labor, All of a sudden, you might get good managers. You might get a good salary. You might get great benefits from your employer, which won't prompt you to run around as much to find a company that's gonna take care of you.

Wendy Green [00:42:48]:

Well, and I think the well, in Gen z, you also have the have to have matching values. Yeah. They're all about having the values match.

Bradley Schurman [00:42:56]:

Big, big, big, big, big on values. It is core to their thinking. I can't say it's always consistent. Right. But but it is core to their thinking. And and and companies that have strong ESG platforms, yeah, they tend to be more interested in them.

Wendy Green [00:43:17]:

Yeah. Well, we could talk, you know, another hour, Bradley, but, I can't. I have to let you go.

Bradley Schurman [00:43:24]:

It's been wonderful being here.

Wendy Green [00:43:26]:

Such a good conversation. You always

Bradley Schurman [00:43:27]:

And I'm sorry for the fire alarm.

Wendy Green [00:43:30]:

Yeah. I don't know how much I'm gonna be able to cut that out, but we'll we'll do our best. If you wanna reach out to Bradley, you can email him at bradley@bhu that's b e, b human change.com. And the website is also behumanchange.com. If you work for a company that might need some of this Kind of awareness, point them to that, website, be human change.com, and bring Bradley in and help him Help your company, not just him, but help your company do a better job of taking care of their employees. So, Okay. Let's see. Next week oh, okay.

Wendy Green [00:44:15]:

1st, I want to, thank people who are Contributing to the, boomer believer thing. So with the boomer believer, that's where you can contribute $25 a month to support what we're doing here at Hey Boomer. And you can get there by going to buy me a coffee.com / heyboomer 0413. I just got a new boomer believer from Gene, and He said I catch most episodes on YouTube, and I found the varied subject matter covered very meaningful on many fronts. Hey, Boomer Matters. So that's very sweet of him. It's buy me a coffee.com/heyboomer 0413. I appreciate your support, and it definitely helps me know that I'm doing the right thing.

Wendy Green [00:45:12]:

Also think about crunchy tails, That beautiful illustrated magazine for those of us who are dynamic as we move forward, And you can find them at crunchytales.com/joindashus. So go and look at their magazine and get their down download their playful how to age playfully. So that's fun. Next week next week, mom, I'm having actress Penny Pizer on the show. You might know her from some of her early roles in All the President's Men, The In Laws, or the made for TV movie, The Girls in the Office. But What is often happens to actresses over 50 roles begin to dry up, but Penny has recreated herself as a humorous writer of sonnets, and she has created a 1 woman play that's called sonnets from suburbia. It's very funny. So, join me on Monday, November 6th, to meet Penny and explore how humor has helped and her reinvention.

Wendy Green [00:46:23]:

And continue to embrace this time of your life with exploration, Self expression and fulfillment. My name is Wendy Green. Thank you, Bradley.

Bradley Schurman [00:46:36]:

Thanks, Wendy.

Wendy Green [00:46:37]:

And this has been Hey Boomer.

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