The biggest surprise to a man’s life is getting old. And it’s true: As one ages, the person inside remains the same and what changes is the exterior. In this episode, I have a conversation with Larry Samuel, the author of Age Friendly: Ending Ageism in America, Aging in America: A Cultural History, and Boomers 3.0: Marketing to Baby Boomers in Their Third Act of Life. We discuss insights on aging in America and its cultural history and how today’s generation should prevent discrimination just as when it’s their turn to get older.
Key points covered in this episode:
✔️ The idea of aging and ageism in America is a 200-year-old story. Larry Samuel shares, “The first native-born white Americans looked at the founding fathers’ generation, the colonialists in an age, as the way they felt they were out of touch. They were fuddy-duddy, and they wanted to reinvent America in their own way. So this goes back spanning 12 or 15 generations. So this generational competition is nothing new.”
✔️ 92% of diversity and equity inclusion (DEI) people do not consider age as part of their mission. Human Resources and the DEI folks should lead the way here — it’s up to them to prevent ageism as the gatekeepers to corporate America.
✔️ When it comes to age, there’s still a lot of this “Us versus Them” approach; and ageism is actually the only -ism we tend to even self impose. Melissa Batchelor reminds us that “Self-imposed ageism decreases life expectancy by about seven years – so how you think about aging and if you think getting old is only going to be associated with decline affects your health and well-being.”
✔️ Most Marketers are ignoring older customers or do not know how to communicate with them effectively. In his book Boomers 3.0., Larry points out how marketers are either underrepresenting or misrepresenting instead of being inclusive towards people of age, whether they be workers, citizens or consumers.
✔️ Ageism in dating apps is crazy town – a LOT of people lie about their age. People say they’re younger than they are – up to ten years younger than they actually are in order to beat the dating app algorithms.
✔️ Diversity of generational perspectives is a good thing, whether in business or in life. An intergenerational workforce benefits younger persons as older, more influential people bring about a reciprocal relationship to the pure digital natives of today.
✔️ Aging is suffering from an image problem. Larry points out how the whole anti-aging industry is not helping matters at all because they’re reinforcing the idea that aging is a negative experience that we should try to delay or avoid. “Let us embrace it because I believe it’s a good thing. So I think it would be great to have some kind of ad campaign that aging is a good thing, like with Steve Tyler or Paul McCartney, who can endorse it that way. That’s my recommendation of the day.”
Lawrence R. Samuel is the founder of AmeriCulture, a Miami- and New York City-based consultancy dedicated to thought leadership relating to the past, present, and future of American culture. As a trailblazer in translating cultural insights and emerging trends into business opportunities for Fortune 1000 companies and their agencies, Larry is widely recognized as an expert in the economic, social, and political dynamics of consumer behavior.
Larry is the author of many books, including He also writes the “Psychology Yesterday,” “Boomers 3.0,” and “Future Trends” blogs for psychologytoday.com and is widely quoted in the media. Larry holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota, an MBA in Marketing from the University of Georgia, and was named a 2017 NextAvenue Influencer in Aging.
Larry is the author of many books, including …
He also writes the “Psychology Yesterday”, “Boomers 3.0”, and “Future Trends” blogs for psychologytoday.com and is widely quoted in the media. Larry holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota, an MBA in Marketing from the University of Georgia, and was named a 2017 NextAvenue Influencer in Aging.
Find Larry on Twitter @LarrySamuel and LinkedIn.