Busting Myths About Aging

Quick – take this quiz:

What is the longevity economy?

  1. The longest running bull market this decade.
  2. A plan for outliving your money.
  3. A report about how people 50+ contributed $7.6 TRILLION in economic activity in 2015 and continue to make substantial contributions to the US economy.

Correct response: C  Don’t believe the myth that people 50+ are ‘draining’ the economy.

What Is The Focus This Week?

This week’s blog is about busting myths. Correcting misinformation. Getting informed. And, most importantly, getting you fired up!

  • Popular misconception #1: The aging population in the United States is draining resources at an alarming rate.
  • Truth: The members of the Longevity Economy (people 50+) contributed over $7.6 trillion dollars in economic activity in 2015. Seriously.

Understanding the New 50+ Cohort

In 2015 there were more than 1.6 billion people in the world who make up the 50+ cohort. In the United States those numbers were 111 million. According to data in The Longevity Economy Report (www.aarp.org) people in this group are:

  • staying in the workplace longer
  • earning wages
  • spending more money
  • generating tax revenue
  • driving entrepreneurship and investment

Why So Much Misinformation?

So why is there so much misinformation out there about how aging effects the economy? One reason is, of course, politics. Because we are contributing so much, it undermines the politicians desire to use the so called ‘entitlements’ as a platform.

But more importantly is the fact that WE AREN’T GETTING THE MESSAGE OUT. First, we need to be informed and to KNOW what we are talking about. We need to back our conversations with real numbers and accurate information. And, then we need to make noise. That will be your challenge for this week. More on that in a moment.

Report Highlight

So, what are the major points in the report you can use to create some noise?

We, the Longevity Economy cohort (age 50+) are:

  • changing the face of the workforce,
  • advancing technology and innovations, and
  • breaking the stereotypes of what it means to age

We Are Driving Change

“It (the Longevity Economy) is the SUM of all economic activity driven by the needs of Americans age 50 and older, including both products and services they purchase directly and the further economic activity this spending generates.”  It isn’t just what we are contributing, buying, and doing with our money. It is the fact that we are driving NEW products and services.

How so? We are working longer because we are experiencing aging with energy. The perception of being ‘old’ at age 55 or 60 is outdated and incorrect. Due to technology advances and innovations in medicine and research we are living longer and we are healthy and vital. We are driving the demand for and funding a huge variety of new products and services. Think smart homes, the Internet of Things, gadgets, home delivery …

Facts for Busting the Myths

A few fun facts:

  • 83% of US household wealth is held by – you got it – the Longevity Economy. That is us!
  • We spend more on healthcare, nondurable goods, durable goods, utilities, motor vehicles, financial services, and household goods than those under 50
  • Spending by our group in 2015 supported more than 89.4 million jobs and over $4.7 trillion in labor income
  • Sixty-one percent (61.%) of all US jobs and 43% of labor income was related to our spending
  • We contributed over $1.8 trillion in federal, state, and local taxes

What’s the Takeaway?

So, what does this all mean? To me, it means it is time to change the conversation. It is time to correct the assumptions made about our aging population. Data clearly shows our productivity isn’t diminishing as we age. “Older workers tend to be active in industries that are more knowledge-intensive and less physically meaning. Workers who remain in the labor force in such roles and sectors tend to be more highly educated and productive than their younger counterparts.”

So, let’s contribute to changing the perception of aging.

Take Action Now

Thought question for the week: When you read this blog, when did you say to yourself: “I didn’t know that!” What struck you as positively perplexing? Inspiring? What is one action you are going to take to change the perception of aging this week?

Looking forward to hearing from you.


PS    I urge you to download and read the September 2016 report, The Longevity Economy: How People Over 50 Are Driving Economic and Social Value in the US, available at www.aarp.org.


  1. Great blog with loads of important information, much of it revealing facts I was unaware of. I am looking forward to visiting your blog and receiving updates. Best of luck

    1. Ed,
      Thank you for visiting my new site and joining in the conversation. I post new blogs on Wednesdays, so be sure to check back.
      In the meantime, keep enjoying your own energized aging activities.

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