No, my friends, 75 is not the new 65. 75 is 75 and it’s just fine the way it is.
That said, I do get it. I do understand that the writer is talking about older workers (click here to see the article). And, btw, to the writer, Raghav Singh, 75-year olds are not boomers. The oldest boomer is 70, having been born in 1946.
Mr. Singh says that older workers are more settled, focused, grateful, and mindful workers who set an example for younger generations and mentor them. That may be true and I certainly support the notion that anyone who can and wants to work when he or she is 75 should not face discrimination. My good pal, the jobs expert and author Kerry Hannon, continues to write wonderful books and articles helping older people in their quest for work and new opportunities. And as Mr. Singh points out, more needs to be done to accommodate older works.
But I also hope that people who work at 75 are doing so because they want to, not because they have to, although I suspect that’s not the case. Poverty has more than crept into the upper age brackets. Remember, more than two thirds of the people who receive Social Security benefits live solely on those benefits, with very limited assets to boost their income. And the average Social Security benefit is somewhere around $1,300 per month. So many 75-year olds probably have to work just to pay their bills.
Still, it roils me to read that heading. I know many 75-year olds – some of my best friends are 75 – and some do choose to work, either full- or part-time. Some have chosen to retire and are fortunate that they have to financial resources to do so. Neither are more interesting or engaged people. I love the fact that there are many opportunities open to 75-year olds. But they don’t have to pretend to be 65.
I remember when my father was 90 and still hustling for legal work to keep busy. He would lie about his age, claiming to be 78. Who would know, he’d say. Most people can’t tell the difference between a 90-year old and a 78-year old, anymore than those of us who are 65+ can’t tell 35 from 45. We all laughed about my father’s lie but his reasoning was pretty sound: no one is going to hire him for any project knowing that he’s 90+. They figure he’d die before he even got to the second paragraph. Even my father would joke that at his age is didn’t buy green bananas.
To be totally honest, if I was the employer I’m not sure I’d hire a 90-year old either. But 75? Versus 65? While I really hope there’s not that much discrimination out there, I know that’s not the case. People still have this notion of what each age is. They remember their grandparents as being old when they were in their 60s and 70s. They remember or see their parents as old, even though they are just in their 60s or 70s. Yes, at that age we’re not as spry or agile as when we were in our 30s and 40s. But no longer able to work? It’s not as if we’re having to lift 200 lb. weights or climb over walls. Our minds haven’t degenerated, even at that ripe old age of 75.
So mostly I hope that people who reach that great age of 75 celebrate their age. The more who say it loudly and proudly, the more we’ll all understand that 75 is not the new 65, but just 75. And that’s a beautiful age.