So the last of the Boomers turn 50 this year (ABS) and the older ones turn 68. Predictions from all sources are dire for my generation so how do we survive economically and socially?
Firstly, can I ask that we are not called seniors. This offensive term turns ordinary men and women into geriatrics and they immediately think negatively about being "too old' now for an employer or engaging in life fully. We are Boomers and we have lived with this label since our turbulent childhood and teens which caused governments giant headaches in education and health so we can live with it for our remaining years.
We were given free education as Boomers and we changed the thinking of the world when we were teenagers and young adults in the 50/60/70s in our liberation stage.
Now we are all mature age and we need the same focus to survive as we still want to be heard. Governments should engage us to identify our needs for the next three decades as 5 million of us will cause huge budget blow-outs in aged care, health and welfare.
As founder of BONZA, I have spent 15 years informing Australia and NZ about the enigma that is a Boomer. It is not that we are difficult but more that we are thinkers and for this reason we should be more aware of the positive and negative aspects of us maturing.
Until now, the Federal Government has researched the future for Boomers through their Intergenerational Reports of 20002, 2007 and 20010. But even though they define the problems we will face in the future such as long term unemployment, employer bias and skill shortages generated by us retiring and when it will happen, little has been done to counteract those identified problems.
We still have millions of Boomers in the workforce or looking for work but they are treated the same as any other job searcher. We do have different needs and issues such as an extended life span and lack of superannuation to cover that period so would it not make sense to have all Over 50s working from Maturelink offices that specialise in mature age unemployment. After all, most of us still think the goal posts are at 65 and retirement and yet the informed ones realise that we will work well beyond that age.
Why are we not therefore convincing Over 50s and employers that the new direction- the mind switch needed by Boomers- is for re-inventing themselves. To look at 50 as a chance to start a new career, to study for our dream job. to take an apprenticeship or learn new skills through training with such a mature age initiative that would lead the world in dealing with the ageing population.
Why do we continue to lump the Boomers with other younger generations who persist on belittling them for their lack of technology or positively in Job Search and tell them that it is okay to volunteer as there may not be much else for them. Let Boomers lead Boomers and the sky is the limit.
Over 50s should be developing their own individual plan for economic and social participation. We want them involved in their planning so they can remain active physically and mentally, not become isolated and be as financially independent as possible but above all to take ownership of that plan as theirs.
For the older Boomers who will live on average until their eighties who have retired then we need to be preparing them for those years. I see retirement in three stages.
Firstly it will be the part time work years. You take whatever casual/part time work (and 50% of jobs are in that category) and live off that money so that your savings and superannuation remain basically untouched unless you want to take a holiday.
The second stage will be early seventies when our bodies tell us that we may need to give work up and then we take our dream holidays if we have planned financially for it. Downsizing will also help to free up some funds to do so if you own property.
The final stage is major health problems period and the family will mean everything for those who survive that long as government will not be able to handle all aged care demands by Boomers both financially and aged caring bed demands.
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