Saturday, May 09, 2015

As happens this time of year, publishers list their most important/influential/etc. youngsters.  As an example, the May issue of Wired has “20 Unsung Geniuses”.  We think mature adults deserve recognition just as much as 20-something billionaires.  Here is our Sixty Over Sixty list of the most influential, annoying, important or folks we just find interesting.  Here then, sorted by age, is The Sixty Most Important Leaders Over Sixty.

Henry Kissinger.  Still the U.S. best thinker on foreign policy and diplomacy. His recently published book (at age 91) World Order is not only a best seller, it is extraorinary.
Jimmy Carter.  Better as an ex-President than President.  His work for Habitat for Humanity is a lesson for all of us.
T. Boone Pickens.  Oilman, energy expert.  Creator of The Pickens Plan for energy independence.
Frank Gehry.  Showing the world what new materials and CAD design can do to architecture.
Warren Bufett. Best investor in history.  Becoming one of the best philanthropists in history.
Alan Simpson.  Former Senator who, along with Bowles (below) is trying to get U.S. to fiscal sanity.
Diane Feinstein.  Influential Sr. Senator from CA.
Jack Welch. Executive, author, educator
Carl Icahn.  Activist investor.
Anthony Kennedy.  Supreme Court Justice
Jack Nicholson.  Actor
Freeman Morgan.  Actor.  “Through the Wormhole” commentator.
Yvon Chouinard. Founder of Patagonia, environmental activist and enemy of dams.
Ralph Lauren.  Fashion industry titan.
Harry Reid.  Senate Minority Leader.
Toby Cosgrove.  MD and President of The Cleveland Clinic.
Nancy Pelosi.  House Minority Leader.
William Koch.  Billionaire businessman and Libertarian.
Roger Ailes.  Founder of Fox News.
Don Imus. Radio personality, philanthropist, professional curmudgeon.
Martha Stewart.  Fashion arbiter, CEO of Martha Stewart Omnimedia.
Michael Bloomberg.  Former Mayor of NYC; eponymous founder of Bloomberg.
Mitch McConnell.  Senate Majority Leader.
Aretha Franklin.  Soul and R&B singer.
Joe Biden.  VP of the U.S.
Jerry Bruckheimer.  Co-creator of CSI, Cold Case, many others.
Joyce Meyer. Evangelist and author.
George Lucas. Motion picture producer and director; world builder.
Larry Ellison.  Founder of Oracle.
Lorne Michaels.  Founder of Saturday Night Live.
Erskine Bowles.  Co-leader of Simpson Bowles Committee. Prophet.
Harold Hamm.  Founder & CEO of Continental Resources, shale/fracking leader.
Dolly Parton.  Singer, songwriter, entrepreneur
Roger Altman. Founder-Evercore. Democratic kingmaker.
Cher Sarkisian.  Singer and entertainer.
Janet Yellen.  President-Federal Reserve Bank; arguably the world’s most powerful woman.
Bill Clinton.  Former President.  Co-founder of Clinton Global Initiative.
Stephen Spielberg.  Motion picture producer and director.
Dick Wolfe.  Co-creator of Law & Order franchise.
James Rothman.  Yale Professor of Biomedical Science; Nobel Prize Winner.
Mike Krzyzewski. Aruguably the finest men’s college basketball coach ever.
Hillary Clinton.  Former Senator, former Secretary of State, Presidential candidate.
Dick Parsons. Former CEO of Citibank, former CEO of Time-Warner, advisor to Providence Equity.
Randy Schekman. California University Cell Biologist; Nobel Prize Winner.
David Rubenstein.  CEO of private equity firm Carlyle.
Bruce Springsteen.  Singer and songwriter.
Timothy Dolan.  Cardinal of NY.
Francis Collins.  Director, National Institute of Health.
Chuck Schumer.  Sr. Senator from NY.
Rush Limbaugh. Talk show host; most influential conservative.
Bob Iger.  Chairman & CEO: Disney.
John Noseworthy.  CEO of The Mayo Clinic.
Danielle Steele.  Top ten best-selling author of all time.
Maureen Dowd.  Influential NY Times editorialist.
Martin Dempsey.  General-U.S. Army. Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Bill Belichick. New England Patriots head coach. Probably the best pro football coach ever.
Howard Schultz.  Founder and CEO of Starbucks
John Mackey. Co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market
Oprah Winfrey. Talk show host and most powerful woman in media
Carly Fiorina. Presidential Candidate


There were many other excellent choices, and my selection is largely arbitrary.  But I welcome your suggestions for additions (please don’t bother with deletions) and will consider them for my next update.  Post your comment here, or email gene@jobsoverfifty.

Gene Morphis

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Is Retirement Over?

Has the concept of retirement come to an end?

Background
Retirement, in human terms, is a new concept.  Until the industrial age and the massive shift from farms to factories, there really wasn’t retirement.  One worked the family farm or ranch until unable to work.  At that point one hoped that his children would take care of him during his short remaining life.  Industrialization changed much of that.  While manual farm work was back-breaking labor (and, even with today’s highly mechanized farms, remains so), coal miners, steel-mill-hands, textile plant employees, slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant workers and millions of others had it even tougher, with serious workplace injuries and fatalities common.

Bismarck is credited with the first old-age pension in 1889. The industrial age was dawning, and Germany needed an incentive to convince young workers to leave the farm for factory jobs in the cities.  This was a part of that plan. It became widely copied in form and substance.  It is generally agreed that the qualifying age of 70 was set above the average lifespan at the time, making it more of a lottery than a retirement guarantee.  When the Roosevelt administration came up with Federal Insurance Contributions Act - e.g. Social Security – in 1935, it too set the retirement age above the average lifespan at 65.  At that point in time, the expected lifespan was 61.7 years.

Living to 80 and Beyond
Today, life expectancy in the U.S. is pushing 80.  I would project that to climb steeply and remarkably.  While there are a couple of negative factors for longevity in the U.S. , e.g.- obesity and an increasing number of antibiotic-resistant infections- there are far more positives: a general awareness of the benefits of exercise, a decline in smoking, a variety of engineering improvements in cars (air bags, seat restraints, crumple zones) and roads (replacement of anchored light posts and highway signs with breakaway posts; light reflectors), statin drugs, widespread availability of food for even the most indigent, hip replacement surgery, cancer treatments, stents, pacemakers and much more.

Dr. Aubrey de Grey believes aging is a disease and can be treated as such.  Resulting in lives that are really long.  Really, really long.  If he’s correct, some readers of this might live far beyond 100.  If there is a return to the Biblical age of Methuselah, you are going to work for a long time.  Very, very long.

Equally important, much of the most physically destructive work has been eliminated by automation and engineering changes.  Fewer bodies are being worn out by  lifetimes of strenuous labor compared to seventy-five years ago.

Household Net Worth
As someone who has been let go after a business sale, fired after a hostile takeover, and fired in a restructuring, I understand the difficulty in accumulating sufficient financial assets for a comfortable retirement.  Having said that, I’m appalled at just how little many of my generation have saved.  According to the analysis of household wealth in the most recent U.S. Census Bureau report, the median household financial assets for 55-64 year olds is a meager $41,000, a long way from funding a comfortable retirement.  Some of those households of course have traditional corporate pension plans, and others may have military or government pensions, making retirement much more attractive. And that report was prepared shortly after the recession reduced the value of most financial assets including balances in 401(k)s.  It is reasonable to assume that the long market rally would have increased these values.  Nonetheless, for many that is a bleak outlook.  But only if they stop working.

U. S. Fiscal Challenges
With the accumulated debt of the U.S. approaching $18 trillion, and ongoing budget deficits, the key social safety net programs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will remain under pressure.  It is very unlikely that benefits will become richer in the future. 

Concluding Thoughts
At Jobs Over Fifty, we’ve been recommending that everyone develop a plan for the “2nd 50”, that is, a plan that assumes that individuals turning fifty today have a real probability of living to 100.  Given that, we suggest that the retirement that most envisioned in the 1960’s and 1970’s is unlikely to materialize.  Instead, we predict that many, if not most, will work into their seventies (given that some of that  might be part-time).  The evidence is strong that the most important determinant of whether or not one outlives savings is how long one works.

www.jobsoverfifty.com supports experienced workers seeking new employment or ideas to assist in maintaining their current employment.

For action-oriented ideas to achieve and maintain work performance at a peak level so that employers beg you to not retire, may we recommend Survive And Prosper, Fifty Steps to Job And Career Security?