Going it alone

Over two-thirds of the UK’s self-employed are aged over 50. That is pretty clear evidence the notion I heard when growing up back in the 1950s that jobs were for life is as dead as the Dodo. And with workplace ageism still rife that makes all of us over fifty somewhat vulnerable – unless we are prepared or able to take matters into our own hands..

The good news is that according to Government figures, firms started by older entrepreneurs are twice as likely to succeed as those started by young people.

Are mature people starting their own businesses because of ageism in the marketplace or lack of jobs? The figures show that workers age 50 or above have only a one in 10 chance of finding a new job should they find themselves out of work. So maybe it’s not so strange when facing that icy reality that more and more of us are finding the confidence to leverage our skills and resources to branch out on our own.

Not all of us are would-be (nor ‘can-be’) Richard Branson’s, but that doesn’t mean self-employment is off the cards. Take a look at the article in the Wanobe WorkZone called ‘Never too late to start’. You’ll find all the encouragement you need and some useful tips about setting up your own business, at home or elsewhere.

According to business guru Colin Turner, 51, a “lot of people would like to set up a business but it’s not until they are laid off that they are forced into the decision. Six months later they are thinking, ‘I should have done this years ago’.”

Turner, who is professor of entrepreneurship at the Theseus International Management Institute, based near Nice, France, believes 50 is the ideal age to start afresh if the opportunity presents itself.

Still find the whole idea daunting? Well, consider this: Ray Kroc, a milkshake salesman, set up McDonald’s when he was 50 – and Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Sanders slept in his car for three years from the age of 60 while trying to sell franchises for his business.

Need some help? In the UK you can turn to Prime, a national organisation linked to the Age Concern charity, dedicated to helping older entrepreneurs with loans, business advice and mentoring. Visit: http://www.primeinitiative.org.uk

Rock on, folks! Live long, live well, laugh a lot.

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Are you ready to age?

If you are anything like me, you’d probably answer no the question above.

But are you aware that in fewer than ten years, all the baby boomers will be aged between 51 to 70 years.

And according to a report by management consultancy McKinsey, boomers will account for something like 40 percent of spending in the US by 2015 with roughly similar figures for the UK and Europe.

Those kind of figures tend to impress marketing folks, but according to a new McKinsey survey many aging people ‘face the prospect of shattered expectations’ despite the economic power of their cohort.

According to the survey, a generation that lived through unprecedented prosperity is going to have to learn how to cope with significant financial, physical and social challenges whatever their high hopes for ‘golden years’.

I personally am a very positive person, probably as a result of spending hours trying to master hula hoops in the 1950s. Yet even I felt initially despondent reading the revelations McKinsey’s research portrayed.

It seems that 60 percent of boomers won’t be able to maintain a lifestyle close to their current one without continuing to work, while a similar number already suffer from chronic health problems. More than 46 percent told researchers they feared ending up alone, and 43 percent are frustrated that they aren’t leading the lives they expected to.

Luckily for my own sense of wellbeing, the McKinsey research (bringing together economic forecasting, demographic modelling and market research) did manage to find grounds for optimism. As a generation that has rewritten the rules at every stage of our lives, we apparently feel resourceful and willing to change. Around 80 percent of those surveyed said they believe they can ‘survive anything that life throws at them’.

I’d love to hear what you feel about the ‘aging’ laying ahead, please leave your comments below.

Live long, live well, laugh a lot.

‘Prolonging life’ – with alcohol and exercise

I am getting to like the Danes a lot, especially their medical researchers.

A few weeks ago, a Danish study found that as we get older we grow smarter, now another research team has apparently discovered that alcohol can ‘prolong life’ – when drunk in moderation and in combination with moderate exercise.

The bad news (isn’t there always?) is that people who neither drink nor exercise have a 30 to 49 percent high risk of suffering heart disease than those doing one or both.

The study – published in the European Heart Journal in January – supports other research studies indicating light to moderate drinking (that’s around a regular two drinks a day) is associated with reduced risk of heart disease.

However, the Danish research also underscored the added benefit from both exercising and drinking.

In one of the largest studies of its kind, the Danish researchers spent 20 years looking at information on the drinking and exercise habits of almost 12,000 men and women aged over 20.  People consuming less than one drink per week were classified as ‘non-drinkers’, while ‘moderate’ drinkers imbibed between 1 and 14 drinks per week. The ‘heavy’ drinkers putting away 15 or more drinks a week fared as badly as the non-drinkers.

Lead author Jane Østergaard Pedersen concluded: “Both moderate to high levels of physical activity and a moderate alcohol intake are important for lowering the risk of heart disease deaths.”

After all the bad press drinking alcohol has been getting, it’s reassuring to learn that a little may go a long way when mixed some moderate exercise to help us live longer, healthier and happier.

It all sounds like the perfect lifestyle cocktail.

Live long, live well, Wanobians.

Older is wiser – proven!

Practice makes perfect, it seems, especially when it comes to brain function. Research by Danish psychologist Lars Larsen at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, indicates that as we age, intelligence either remains stable or actually gets sharper in some respects

Lars Larsen’s findings, based on studying the records of over 4,000 American ex-servicemen who had undergone IQ tests over a two decade period from the age of 20, helps overturn the notion that intelligence begins an inevitable decline after peaking in the mid-20s.

In fact, the research seems to prove that the older you get, the smarter you are likely to get.

Writing in the academic journal Intelligence, Professor Larsen said: “Verbal ability appears to keep on increasing over time”.

It is all due to our need to face different challenges as we move through life, according to the Danish researcher. And in order to describe what is happening to our world and to be able to cope with it, we have to develop our verbal dexterity.

The really good news with these findings is that it underlines yet again the role older people can play in continuing to contribute to society and its development. And that age is no barrier to doing things we’ve perhaps only dreamt of doing before, such as returning to education or starting a new business.

Go for it, folks.

Stay well, Wanobians, travel safe, have fun.

Live healthy, live independent

It is that time of the year when we all promise ourselves to turn over a new leaf, eat less, drink less, save more.

But, you know, I do not believe staying in good health is just about making sure we live longer.  For me, being healthy is very much about ensuring I stay as independent as possible and make the most of the freedom to move about freely in my daily life at home, work and play. And it’s also about building my individual wellbeing and enjoying personal growth – at every age.

All of us as individuals are ultimately responsible for building the quality of life we want to experience. That means we need to constantly chase a positive and integrated approach to health, whether it’s through eating or exercise, physical or mental.

Those of us over 50 are the faster growing segment of the population is most western industrialised nations. Our life expectancies as women and men are growing longer in Europe, North America and elsewhere. And quality of life for many of us is synonymous with the ability to move easily about the community in which we live.

All of this was driven home to me when I listened to the recent comeback album of the Eagles, who not only sang about ‘Life In The Fast Lane’ back in the Seventies, but also seemed to live the hedonistic California lifestyle full out.

Getting into the mood demanded sipping a tequila sunrise as I enjoyed listening to their latest music in the background while reflecting upon how the counterculture revolution had not led either myself nor most of my friends down an Age Wave road of burnout, addiction and satiation.

Instead, like many of my Boomer mates (I was born in 1947), I find myself enjoying all the nice things life has to offer, from light jogging in a gym to sailing, playing golf, eating out, drinking nice beers and wines and meeting new folks all the time.

Okay, life is not all sunny side up. I have mates suffering all kinds of maladies, cancers and unpleasant experiences, but loads of them are getting great medical treatments that deliver another vision of ageing that previous older generations never experienced.

Most Baby Boomers, according to research, expect to live beyond 80. Of course, that scenario demands increased public policy, personal finances and technological options to help people of that age maintain their independence. But life force is also key. Both my parents are in their eighties and enjoying living life out as loud as they possibly can in Spain’s sunny Alicante – without any government support or huge wealth behind them. Why? Because they think it’s fun!

Stay well, Wanobians, travel safe, have fun.

Live healthy, live independent

It is that time of the year when we all promise ourselves to turn over a new leaf, eat less, drink less, save more.
But, you know, I do not believe staying in good health is just about making sure we live longer.  For me, being healthy is very much about ensuring I stay as independent as possible and make the most of the freedom to move about freely in my daily life at home, work and play. And it’s also about building my individual wellbeing and enjoying personal growth – at every age.

All of us as individuals are ultimately responsible for building the quality of life we want to experience. That means we need to constantly chase a positive and integrated approach to health, whether it’s through eating or exercise, physical or mental.

Those of us over 50 are the faster growing segment of the population is most western industrialised nations. Our life expectancies as women and men are growing longer in Europe, North America and elsewhere. And quality of life for many of us is synonymous with the ability to move easily about the community in which we live.

All of this was driven home to me when I listened to the recent comeback album of the Eagles, who not only sang about ‘Life In The Fast Lane’ back in the Seventies, but also seemed to live the hedonistic California lifestyle full out.

Getting into the mood demanded sipping a tequila sunrise as I enjoyed listening to their latest music in the background while reflecting upon how the counterculture revolution had not led either myself nor most of my friends down an Age Wave road of burnout, addiction and satiation.

Instead, like many of my Boomer mates (I was born in 1947), I find myself enjoying all the nice things life has to offer, from light jogging in a gym to sailing, playing golf, eating out, drinking nice beers and wines and meeting new folks all the time.

Okay, life is not all sunny side up. I have mates suffering all kinds of maladies, cancers and unpleasant experiences, but loads of them are getting great medical treatments that deliver another vision of ageing that previous older generations never experienced.

Most Baby Boomers, according to research, expect to live beyond 80. Of course, that scenario demands increased public policy, personal finances and technological options to help people of that age maintain their independence. But life force is also key. Both my parents are in their eighties and enjoying living life out as loud as they possibly can in Spain’s sunny Alicante – without any government support or huge wealth behind them. Why? Because they think it’s fun!
Stay well, Wanobians, travel safe, have fun.