There is a tsunami coming — a swelling tide of older Americans who are woefully unprepared for retirement in any shape or form. This is an undeniable reality.

Preparing financially for retirement is ideally a long game of working a plan and then getting your ducks in a row as best as possible. With any luck, those who have done this gain the privilege (term used intentionally) to focus on our forthcoming loss of identity, community and purpose as we start to step away from successful careers and towards the ‘next chapter’.

For many (most?) however, the finances of retirement are far from resolved. Per this PwC article on the need to retool retirement: ‘A quarter of US adults have no retirement savings and only 36% feel their retirement planning is on track. Even for those who are saving, many will likely come up short.’ Sources vary on the numbers (Harvard Business School and Harvard Business Review have done extensive research on the economic and cultural impacts of ageing and ageism) but most agree that at least two-thirds of older Americans have no significant (aka ‘remotely adequate’) retirement savings set aside.

So how could this possibly bode well for ageism in the workplace? Very soon the luxury of allowing (aka enabling) discrimination against older workers will disappear. Most Americans will be forced to continue working long past their mid-60’s. Period. There is no safety net; no plan to expand or potentially even protect Social Security (other than to raise the retirement age). The government will feel forced to create new social programs (unlikely to be realized) or jobs (perhaps) or develop enticing tax incentives which encourage employers to hire and keep older workers on board (a viable solution that would also be good for the economy).

So although we’d like to hope that ageism will be resolved through cultural shift and good intentions, it is far more likely to become antiquated through financial leverage or economic force of some kind. Only then will widespread cultural shift occur as expectations for how and how long Americans can work (either through choice or need) begin to change, given the new economic reality … #dei #ageism #ageing #retirement #unretirement #leadership #ageingAmerica #inclusion #hiring #economic development

Lori Martinek