Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The 100 Year life--how to make the most of it

Lynda Gratton got my attention with "the Shift" that contained a lot of provocative ideas, but as important had a unique presentation.  Trying to predict the future is a bit unfair, but she developed a format that was helpful--she used fictional scenarios, but adjusted variables ranging from best to worst likelihood.  Here is a link for my review of her well worth reading book that is consistent with her latest endeavour.  http://www.johnfdavidson.com/2012/04/shift.html  I felt "The Shift" was the best book read in that year.

With "the 100 Year Life" she with co- author Andrew Scott are venturing onto new territory.  Longer life.  It is futuristic because it is still rare for humans to survive 100 years, but you may start to notice it is becoming more common  A great opportunity, but not without problems.

As in "the Shift" Lynda uses fictional characters to illustrate her points.  The first character born about the same time as me, like me has stumbled through life and with a little luck is set for a normal retirement.  The second character is younger and with a longer life expectancy and financial stresses will have to make adjustments.  Her third character, a younger girl knows she has a longer life expectancy and has to prepare for it well in advance.

The first concern for individuals is how to finance a retirement.  At one time few made it to retirement.  With life expectancy creeping up to 100 we have to consider how we can afford to live that long.  The two main ideas are to work longer or save more

At the same time the job situation is changing.  Technology threatens us in many ways.  The authors see some hope.

The authors see a need for people to change their job skills over the years.  Education can help, but needs to be flexible.  A long life with jobs can place stress on relationships and the authors believe everyone will need to spend time cultivating networks and to maintain intimate relationships.  It is important to realize that your reputation is your brand and that will be critical to make transitions.

With a long life and uncertain job prospects it is wise to keep consumption levels low as they tend to be maintained.  At times individuals will have to transition and will have to curb their spending.  Deferring gratification will be critical to learn new skills.

The core belief is that society will no longer function on the three stage life cycle of education than work then retirement.  The book is full of ideas of how to rethink the opportunities as well as the problems.

It is expected that there all be resistance from corporations and government.  The changes are most likely to come from people.  What is needed is not just pension reform, but more flexibility.  We stand to not only allow more people a more enjoyable satisfying life but also to break down age barriers and segregation.  Part time education will increase to meet the demands of an ever changing economy.  The authors feel workers will have to not only develop specialized skills, but would also benefit for a liberal education that would encourage flexibility.

Many years ago I read the prologue to George Bernard Shaw's "Back to Methusalah" where he contended that if people lived much longer they would be learn to organize government better and avoid violence.  Andrew and Lynda contend that issues like climate change will take a different perspective when we realize we and our children will have to live with the environment.

The authors admonish young people to get out to vote.  They are the ones who have the most years ahead of them and they need to be represented by people who understand the issues that help more people to be empowered by a longer life.

If you are younger than 50 this is a critical read for you.  If you are over 50 it is very useful to understand trends.  For more thoughts go to www.100yearlife.com

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