Older Entrepreneurs Start More Successful Businesses Than Younger Ones.

Photo Credit: Bruce Moon via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Bruce Moon via Compfight cc

Check out this interesting article, To Save the Economy, Teach Grandma to Code, posted at the PBS News Hour website. Appearing on the Making Sen$e section of the site, the article by Vivek Wadhwa, points out that most businesses in the United States are aging and that one of the biggest and underused resources these businesses have is older workers. How, he wonders, can we use older workers more effectively and help them learn new skills? Perhaps, he suggests, we should consider teaching older workers and aging adults to code (to use a programming language).

Wadhwa, an entrepreneur and academic at schools including Stanford, Duke, and Emory, writes that to be successful, people who start new businesses need to be able to see the big picture, understand the changing world, and demonstrate how to solve bigger problems. Older individuals already possess the vision to come up with solutions that solve significant problems if they learned how to code — rather than merely inventing yet another social media platform.

It is not that difficult to teach older workers about entrepreneurship and coding and to encourage them to use their seasoned experiences to create new businesses or improve older ones. Wadhwa points out, “We must first get over the myth that older workers can’t innovate.”

Best Quotes From This Piece            Continue reading

Gazing at Aging Through the Reunion Prism

When I attended my first school reunion with a family member, just a few years after graduating from college, the people attending their 35th, 45th and 50th reunions seemed really old. At a Saturday luncheon table near the back of an old-fashioned field house, we watched and clapped, somewhat wondrously, as the different classes stood to be recognized, beginning with a man attending his 70th reunion who moved around slowly with a walker.

The old observatory at the school — now a National Landmark.

The old observatory at the school — now a National Landmark.

Gradually the master of ceremonies worked his way from the front to the back of the room – 65th, 60th, 55th, 50th, 45th. It wasn’t until we reached the class attending its 30th reunion that the alumni started to look, well … not old. It took half-an-hour to reach our tables filled with raucous young men who along with wives and partners, had barely finished with graduate school.

Looking back, I realize that luncheon offered me my first concrete understanding of the way we age — the way I age, actually. We all sat there observing benchmarks — characteristics that define what happens to human beings over 10, 20, or 30 years.

And sure enough, this weekend, here I am in Ohio attending a 50th reunion, though not mine. This time I’m sitting at a table that looks toward the back of the room — and at some fairly raucous young people. Did I mention that not one of the people at our 50-year tables looks old?

Continue reading

Some Retirees Are Starting Businesses

Those of us edging closer to retirement may be in for some surprises. We may discover that  some of our friends and colleagues are thinking less about taking it easy in their later years and more about  using the time to start a business.

starting businessesA Bloomberg Personal Finance article, Older Americans Shun Retirement at 65 for Risky Startups, by Steve Matthews, describes how many boomers are opting to become entrepreneurs, turning their ideas into companies, and working hard to make their business grow. Quoting from a report by the Kauffman Foundation Matthews notes that, “People from 55 to 64 started 23.4 percent of the [new] companies in 2012.” The Kauffman Foundation offers support and information to people who are seeking become more independent by educational achievement and entrepreneurial activities. (Kauffman mission).

Most Interesting Information from the Article            Continue reading

A New Twist With Personal Safety Device Scams and Seniors

Adult children should be sure that their parents understand the clever strategies that telephone scammers use as they encourage elders to part with credit card information. Over the past several days I’ve received two phone calls on my home landline, aiming to convince me that I ordered a personal safety device and that it was ready for delivery. The caller laughed when I said I did not make the order, pointing out that I probably forgot.

Review these scam prevention tips with your parents.

Review these scam prevention tips with your parents.

The best line in the conversation — “Oh, from time-to-time we all forget that we ordered something.”

Taking advantage of memory issues is a new twist, for me anyway. The scammer tries to convince people — in this case me — that they purchased a device for safety reasons, but … somehow I must have forgotten about it. I assume a fair number of people do not want to admit that they forget things and thereby make themselves easy marks for a caller who takes advantage of the anxiety about memory lapses.

I wrote a post about a similar phone scam, Call About Personal Safety Devices, in January 2013.

What is significant about my most recent calls was how refined the pitch has become. The caller, a real person, asked me when I wanted my personal safety device delivered. I played along, acting like I did not remember making the order, and worked hard to sound doubtful. The scammer zeroed in, friendly but with laser-like precision, pointing out that I must have forgotten and that the personal safety device was ready to deliver AS SOON AS I PAID WITH MY CREDIT CARD.

Every time I expressed doubt, he had another warm and friendly explanation. When we finally parted ways, I thought I was finished with him but he called back today, reminding me of our conversation and asking me if I remembered the order that I had made.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Increasing Numbers of Seniors in Social Networking World

Pew Internet Aging Social networking

Those of us with seniors and elders in our lives should continually be aware that a growing number of people over 65 are enthusiastically latching on to social networking sites and using them on a fairly regular basis.

This amazing graph depicts the percentage of adults at various ages who use social media sites, and  it demonstrates how fast the use of these sites is increasing for all age groups.

Published in the Pew Internet’s  July 2012 report on Older Adults and Internet Use, the information in the image comes from a Pew survey that collected data between March 2005 and February 2012.

Note the growth for the 50-64 age group and the over 65 age group (data that could hardly be tracked back in 2005) over the years of the survey. Moreover, the social networking adoption percentage numbers for people 50 and older picked up a lot of steam, between July and November 2008.

Bottom line? Many more older adults are signing up and using social media sites, and their numbers are continuing to increase. What’s important, however, is the need to be on the lookout for seniors and elders who can use support with privacy settings and other aspects of lives lived more openly in the digital world.

Phone Scam About Personal Safety Devices?

It appears that seniors are receiving phone calls that attempt to scare them into making personal safety device purchases with a credit card, and it feels like a scam. I received one yesterday on my mobile phone.

scamAn urgent voice asks for a senior citizen noting that break-ins, robbers, medical emergencies or falls are scary and a free solution will make them safer. Moreover, the voice offers a solution that’s supported or endorsed by the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the National Institute on Aging — three well-known and reputable organizations. To learn how to protect myself from all of these terrible problems the voice asks me to hit a number on my phone.

Well I am not a senior — yet — but I know a fair amount about media literacy, and I’ve spent countless hours telling my parents, my husband’s parents, and various other family members and friends, to hang up when they receive these urgent telephone calls asking them to make a purchase. However … I didn’t hang up because I was too intrigued. I pressed number one.

Next a reassuring woman’s voice explains that the Senior Emergency Care company – with a AAA rating from the Better Business Bureau and endorsements from all of the above organizations — is offering me free equipment and free registration and shipping — equipment that will help me avoid or prevent scary life situations such as crime and health emergencies. The personal safety device that she is selling would, she told me, can be worn around my neck and will make me feel and be safer.   Continue reading