Did you know any girl born in the U.S. in the year 2000 or later has a 50/50 chance of living to be 100 years old, according to experts? Or that the average U.S. life expectancy has climbed from 47 to 76 over the past century? Or that more than 25% of the U.S. population will be 65 years of age or older in just the next few decades?
These are the kinds of statistics that fascinate Bill Morton, a Seattle-area author and consultant who specializes in advising people on how to prosper and accomplish great things during the “second half” of their lives. Bill, whom I met in passing years ago, is one of the leading voices out there warning both individuals and organizations that our country is going to change, dramatically, when the bulk of the Baby Boom generation reaches retirement age — and that this “age revolution” is going to have an impact every bit as large as the technology or industrial revolutions of the past. As a result, he’s written a book designed to give people a glimpse into the future to come, as well as to inspire older Americans to start thinking ahead about all of the great ways they can invest their later years as the traditional idea of “retirement” continues to melt away.
Is his book a successful one? I’d say yes, without hesitation. It’s set up in a very interesting way, built around a hodge-podge of short essays on various age-related topics, interspersed with numerous checklists on topics ranging from “60+ great ways to fill up your bonus years” to “15 bargain countries in which to spend a winter” and “11 myths about older workers in the workplace.” As a result, you’re never bored. Bill treats you to one fascinating insight after another, and if you put the book down for a while and come back later, you can pick up right where you left off without missing a beat. There’s even a collection of great quotes that relate to “aging and dying well” and a massive appendix of books and movies that can help a person get energized and inspired about the second half of life.
Is “2H: The Official Second Half of Life Handbook” a career book, per se? Perhaps not. But there’s more than enough meat in the book related to working in one’s older years that I felt it was eminently worthy of featuring in this blog. Bill even goes on to make some shrewd predictions about how the consumer marketplace is going to change in the decades to come, based on population demographics, and these insights (e.g. the growing demand for senior-friendly furniture, higher-end beds and sleep systems, home delivery services, etc.) might offer some useful clues for those of you thinking about changing careers and who want to tap into some high-growth industry segments in the next 5-10 years to come.
One way or another, we’re all (hopefully!) going to need to do some deep thinking about the issues Bill raises, one day, so it’s great to know that we have this handy reference available — as well as a trusted sherpa — to help guide the way!