On the Costs of Ageism

Recently the American Association of Retired Persons released a survey that concluded the annual cost of ageism to the US economy was a whopping $850 billion dollars.


Applying simple population comparisons, this would put the cost of ageism to the Australian economy in the range of $50-80 billion dollars.


Even more frightening is their estimate that this annual cost will rise to $3.9 trillion by 2050.


The total economic cost of ageism is an important piece of data to have, but it is also important to understand the costs and impact at an individual and community level beyond the economics.


On February 26th, 2020, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to discuss some of these costs on BACR 100.9FM radio. A community station based in Padstow, NSW - 2BACR has as part of its station mission the values of inclusivity. Hence our mission and goals appealed to the station and they wanted to share with their listeners.


At a personal level, if a mature person experiences ageism, this usually results in them being passed over for a job based on age. In fact, mature people take twice as long to find a job as other ages according to the Human Rights Commission.


Not being able to find productive work can place severe financial pressure on an individual and their family. This extends to physical and emotional downsides as time goes on.


This negative impact ripples out through the family and then the community in which they live.


Less taxpayers means less resources for governments to afford the social purse - and rising retirement ages are an indicator of governments trying to rein in expenses as your population ages.


Sidelining someone at 50, when they are likely to live to 90 or more just doesn’t make sense. They have productive working life ahead of them and need to prepare to fund their own retirement where possible. Where they can’t, society foots the bill.


The toothbrush, dishwasher and printing press were invented by mature age people. Imagine what ideas we are missing out in modern life from experienced and wise mature people in our community.


It makes sense to end Ageism, and also to create programs to increase the opportunities for mature age people to remain productive for as long as they want, or as long as they need.


That is what Silver & Wise are doing in our mission. Join us at silverandwise.com.au


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