America’s Ageism Problem: Spells Disaster for the Future

Have you thought about your Retirement and Social Security? We all see the many media articles or TV shows that have experts show up and talk about how it’s better to retire later in life – and staying active and in the workforce in generally better for you. That’s all true, but society is not oblivious to the terrible negative forces that are alive and well in our modern society, and therefore the most common age for collecting retirement is 62 – not 65 or later.

As I was doing my own research for my book, it became evident that most folks are not looking to downscale their active lifestyle – and the data cites research proving this, which states the majority of workers over age 50 have dealt with some form of Age Discrimination. So, folks really want to keep working and contributing, because experienced folks have a lot of contribute.

Here is the state of the economy at this exact moment in time: The retirement prospects for many younger baby boomers and members of Generation X look dismal, as the shift from workplace pensions to the do-it-yourself 401(k) has left millions of people without the resources to maintain even a semblance of their current lifestyle in retirement. As a result, surveys say a majority of Americans plan to work well past the traditional retirement age, with many claiming they will collect a paycheck till they drop.

Below are a few brutal stats about Ageism to consider from a Washington Post article  and then I give my commentary:

  • Female actresses’ earnings in Hollywood peak at the age of 34 (the article doesn’t say when for Men, but I would bet the farm it’s much later.)
  • Mark Zuckerberg famously proclaimed, “Young people are just smarter.” (This generality shows his immaturity; consider two things 1. He stole the idea for Facebook in college and 2. His lack of experience, vision and leadership has been noted by many and it’s allowed his company to be hacked by other countries, has allowed Americans to fall prey to enemies by way of influencing and his platform is helping to continue to divide the country.)
  • IBM has been sued for targeting older employees for inappropriate layoffs for years and has laid off thousands of high performing age 50 + year old folks just to get younger who don’t perform at the same level. Many other companies such as Ruby Tuesday, Texas Roadhouse, Google, and Hewlett Packard have been sued too. This is what I mean if you’ve read my article on my called “Insane is Trending: Breaking the Law for Economic Disadvantage.  Two important things that the WP article made me think of based on my research and experience:

Many articles are citing the same damning statistics including: “Ageism Not Your Problem? It Can Hit YOU Like a Semi-Truck!” with a reality check for even the Millennial generation; and it is this: “today a majority percentage of people aged 40-45 fear their age will hurt their career of are watching it happen in their own workplace and that number jumps to around 90 percent for those folks over the age of 50.”

People just don’t seem to care until it happens to them and I do know that’s true from my experience talking to thousands of people. As a recruiter for 20 years I saw this time and time again with managers all the way up the ladder to the C-level. Everyone just thinks “it’s not gonna happen to me, so I won’t pay attention to the problem.” I believe this is a sad reality and it’s the mentality for most of mass society. When will people wake up and how much longer will we pretend this isn’t happening? It’s been happening for decades but now it’s accelerating.

Business and politics are so intertwined it has to be addressed and people need to talk about it.

Bottom line: Right now we are at a crossroads headed for a tipping point in several key ways, we have the greatest wealth inequality ever and if we continue to erode our own mass society we will fall so far behind the other countries in the not too distant future a new America will emerge – and it very well can end up not being a better one – at least not for the vast majority of Americans. The American Dream for us now and for future generations is in jeopardy.


It’s time to stop ignoring the future, start caring NOW:

The article I cited:

Photo by Photo by Elien Dumon


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