Joseph F. Coughlin
I like to watch. No, not the creepy kind of watching. I watch for, and attempt to interpret, socio-technical trends. Among them, demography, technology, and novel behaviors that are coming together reshaping industries, public policy, and society.
My book, The Longevity Economy: Unlocking The World’s Fastest-Growing, Most Misunderstood Market spotlights the new demands and dynamics of the older consumer – effectively an emerging market hiding in plain sight. Although a book is not a conversation, it can ignite one.
Today, I am launching #LongevityEconomy (#LE), to begin a conversation addressing how the longevity economy is evolving and its wide-ranging impacts on our lives, business, and society. Ultimately, I hope that #LE will become even more than a conversation. The objective is to host a global community of observers that will share their observations, statistics, best practices, industry examples, policy innovations, technologies, insights, and even a few good jokes and a cartoon or two.
The very definition of the longevity economy is changing. It can no longer be defined solely as a large group of people of a certain age. Their sheer numbers, behaviors, needs, wants, expectations, influence, combined with the technologies and institutions that will rise to respond to them are affecting all of us.
Understanding the true impacts of longevity on society requires us to see older people beyond their economic roles as consumers and workers. We must also explore how their increased participation in social debate, public policy, and influence in major institutions is shaping both markets and society.
Longevity is casting ripple effects across the generations. For example, younger people are delaying life events that previous generations did at younger ages, e.g., moving out of the parental home, finding a partner, having, or over the past decade, not having, children. Are these behaviors due solely to socio-economic conditions or a new generational consciousness that there is simply more time in a lifetime?
No conversation is complete without considering the implications of technology on our lives – at any age.Tech has not only produced new ways of doing things, our devices, apps, and systems are shaping the lifestyles of young digerati as well as older people once considered far across the digital divide. While the cadence of adoption may differ, technology-enabled living is now occurring across the generations.
A lasting impact of the pandemic may be its role in propelling smart tech, on-demand services, and video chat – once thought to be reserved only for the young and cool – into the lives of older people. Age is becoming less of a dividing point for tech-adoption; instead the pandemic is showing the divide is best understood by examining disparities in education, income, and access.
#LongevityEconomy will comment on what's happening in the global multigenerational tech-enabled kinetics of the longevity economy. Topics will vary but are sure to include consumer products, financial advice and services, health, retirement, retail, real estate, tech-use, transportation, and more. #LE will spotlight new products, services, and experiences that are ageless, those that spark desire and delight, and those that do not. Even the ‘F’ word will not be off limits. That is, fun. Sorry to disappoint those of you that may have been thinking of something else.
As comedian George Carlin described his 1997 book, Brain Droppings, #LongevityEconomy*'*s content will also include "jokes, notions, doubts, opinions, questions, thoughts, beliefs, assertions, assumptions, and disturbing references" that may arise from a statistic, image, technology, business innovation, building design, policy, street-level observation, overheard story, to a full thought piece. Equally important will be you, the reader, and your commentary.
My ask? Join me in this conversation. Be part of the community. Contribute your thoughts. Follow this publication. Share the content and conversation on social media. Reference its archival home at longevityeconomy.com. Many thanks and see you out there in the #longevityeconomy!