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Predictions for the coming year

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

What can the “darling doyens” – (well, post 50) expect from the coming year? What does Behavioral Shift predict?

(1) Employment: We are likely to see a greater number of older people in the work force over the next decade, starting from this year, in the most developed societies. More people from the over 50 age group will be employed as an increasing number of employers will look to reap the benefit of the wisdom and experience that these people have.

Employees are expected to generate and deliver creative solutions to complex problems, be effective collaborators on and offline, and have the resilience to continue learning throughout their lives. “The darling doyens” have not only learned how to be resilient but adaptable too which, for the most part, younger employees have not.

(2) Risk. The post 50-year old is often willing to take more risk, not only when it comes to making decisions in business, but also when it comes to creativity. Fashion is a good example. Older women, in particular, are often more willing to wear colour, compared with younger generations, rather than wear the ubiquitous black. As more 50 plus people are in the workforce we will see more risk being taken.

(3) Era of climate change. Are the “darling doyens” seeing more climate change than other generations? The signs of climate change are happening all over the world - from floods and hurricanes to the Australian bush fires. How is the older generation reacting to climate change? At the moment there is a reluctance by some “darling doyens” that climate change exists, because they say weather patterns have always changed. In the long term, however, the argument for climate change may gain traction.

(4) Brexit. What will Brexit mean for Britain? It may mean a decline in GDP in the first couple of years but, according to the mainstream media, the economy will pick up after that, out-performing other economies in the EU. In the longer term, maybe over a 10-year period, the “darling doyens” could be better off.

(5) The global economy, politics and war. If the “darling doyens” are better off in the longer term because of Brexit, the possibility of a Third World War, whether started in the Middle East, North Korea, or over water between Egypt and Ethiopia, may mean that any likelihood of being better off financially in the long term may not eventuate. Although China and the US may have resolved their trade differences for now, will it last?

(6) Finance. Younger generations usually assume those in their late-50s and 60s are well off because they have had a career and children and have a house and investments. That assumption is often wrong. These people may have secured a reverse mortgage (or in other words have entered into a mortgage equity release scheme) and/or may have lost their investments in 2008/9, during the last financial crisis. They may be struggling financially and haven’t the means to retrain or inclination to re-enter the workforce. The older generation may also save money by adopting artificial intelligence (AI) (see below).

(7) Health and fitness. As a consequence of people doing more exercise and developments in technology (see below) people are fitter for longer and live longer too. Indeed, the average life longevity is increasing all the time, depending on what part of the world you live in, especially in developed countries. Expect the average life span to be about 95, at least, within a decade.

(8) Fake news. As people become tired of so-called “fake news”- a term coined by President Donald Trump- and find social media does not give them the range of answers they are seeking, the media will be less criticized over “fake news” than before. But this will take about next five years. Of course, by that time Donald Trump may have served two terms, and a new president is unlikely to use the words. Television, radio and press will regain some of ground that they have lost since the advent of “fake news”.

(9) Travel. People, including people over 50, will travel more widely. And as the population ages the demand for travel will become much greater in this age group too, often because this group has more disposable income. But as the world becomes more mobile, the risk of disease spreading becomes greater- as the outbreak of coronavirus shows.

(10) Technology. As technology evolves it’s important to stay ahead of the game. Technology can be categorised into a number of areas, one of which is which artificial intelligence (AI ) which may include machine learning and robots. It’s already impacting our businesses, government and communities in real and tangible ways.

AI has been around since 1956, and has been widely used in everyday activities, including navigation apps, streaming services, smartphone personal assistants, ride-sharing apps, home personal assistants, robots, and smart home devices. AI is also used to schedule trains, assess business risk, predict maintenance, improve energy efficiency, and money-saving tasks.

AI can help provide improved healthcare through better insights from patient medical and environmental data, precision medicine and more targeted, personalised treatment plans. AI can also mean a reduction in health costs through better scheduling and optimisation of health assets and workforce.

As well as healthcare and robots, AI will provide improved earthquake prediction models and environmental management such as energy reduction. There can also be more affordable housing from construction sector efficiencies. The older generation can also benefit by having an enhanced customer experience in call centres for example.

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can also help enormously in rehabilitation after injury as well as entertainment, education and marketing.

Blockchain will also play a significant role in protecting information such as personal medical data.

Driverless cars (otherwise known as autonomous vehicles) will also become commonplace and are allegedly safer and easier to drive. As such, there will be many drivers, in their late 80s or 90s and accident rates are expected to fall.

Photo: Carole Railton (copyright) "Looking upwards to the future".

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