Baby Boomer Online Communities
When I started CareerPivot.com in 2012, the world was just beginning to understand that baby boomers were not going to ride off into the sunset and retire on a beach or a golf course.
AARP started with the Life Reimagined initiative in the following couple of years. The starting point was the publication of Life Reimagined: Discovering Your New Life Possibilities Paperback on October 1, 2013. The book was written by
The initiative was an attempt to help those in the 2nd half of life reinvent themselves and thousands signed up. The problem was that hardly anyone participated. The initiative was relaunched multiple times before AARP put it to rest last year.
The problem is that to a large extent, many of us baby boomers do not like airing our dirty laundry in public especially online. We do not discuss our career failures or ask for help in our careers on social media. Heck, I am a baby boomer guy. I do not like asking for directions, much less help with my career.
The smallest demographic on Facebook is the 65+ audience, and what is even smaller is over 65-year-old males.
The Infancy of Baby Boomer Communities
There have been some successful baby boomer online communities. The best example is Sixty and Me, which focuses primarily on 65+-year-old women’s lifestyle issues. Margaret Manning has a vibrant online community through a paid Facebook group that is quite amazing. I contributed a few articles back a few years ago that have since been deprecated from the website. She has several sister websites that include:
I started my journey by first following the trails and tribulations of AARP. I later joined the Flipped Lifestyle community which is run by Jocelyn and Shane Sams, two former Kentucky school teachers. You can read a great article about them in Forbes called How This Couple Went From Making $76,000 To $1 Million A Year. They are quite an inspiration to anyone who has entrepreneurial aspirations.
I started the real research into launching the Career Pivot community in the 4th quarter of 2017 but more on that later.
New Baby Boomer Online Communities
I have been introduced to a couple of other online communities that target the baby boomer market. They do not directly address these issues around careers but that is still part of their mission.
I was introduced to Amava.com – Discover Your Next™ Earn, learn, give back and more with socially engaging experiences.
Their “about page” states the following:
We help you Discover Your Next™ flexible, socially engaging experience. Whether you want to earn, learn, give back or live your bucket list, our team is always on the lookout for meaningful opportunities for you in your local community and beyond.
We want you to live a long, fulfilling life. We focus on social engagement because, according to research, it can be more important to wellness than genes, nutrition or fitness. It’s downright scary how dangerous isolation can be.
We partner with organizations large and small to present an ever-evolving collection of ideas to keep you active and engaged; opportunities to work, volunteer, learn and experience the world – all while you connect with others. We enable you to share opportunities and offers with one another.
I had Amava CEO Mark Silverman on the Repurpose Your Career podcast in episode #138 and their mission is to create socially engaging experiences as we age, which includes work after the traditional retirement age.
Next for Me
I do not remember how I was introduced to Next for Me and their founder Jeff Tidwell. I was thoroughly impressed with his passion for helping the baby boomer generation figure out what is Next for Me.
The community page on the website states:
Our members are at the heart of everything we do. Your participation in Next For Me is a commitment to your journey for what’s next. We created a private community as a way for you to have this conversation with people like you.
Our community is a new place to get together.
We created a nice spot to share stories and resources with other people writing their next chapter.
We won’t share your conversations or sell your personal information, ever.
Jeff and his team have been holding Next for Me events over the last 2 years to offer up valuable resources, but more importantly to listen to our issues.
Career Pivot Community
As I stated earlier in this post, I started down this journey in 4Q 2017. I had 14 volunteers who agreed to meet with me on a weekly basis to discuss requirements. About half of that initial group is still with me today 2 years later.
I learned the following:
- Everyone yearned for freedom in their careers. They wanted to choose what they worked on, when they worked on it, and have control over how hard and long they worked. Kind of sounds like the millennial generation.
- They needed accountability to help them stay motivated in making the changes required. Most of us had careers in the corporate or non-profit world where our employers held us accountable.
- The members needed their horizons broadened. The possibilities on how to have a purpose and a paycheck are endless, but most of us do not have the vision to see what is possible.
I have spent the last 2 years listening, like Mark Silverman of Amava and Jeff Tidwell from Next for Me. I have been bringing in experts to present to the community. The topics range from buying a business to how to research businesses in your job search. All of these sessions have been recorded.
The community has evolved based on user feedback – I gather the community together once a quarter to tell me what they want next. I expected the community to comprise mainly of people in their 50s but today half the members are over 60 and a third are over 65 years of age.
The community is still in the beta phase with a planned launch in early 2020.
If you would like to learn more please click here.
Mark, Jeff and I are working on similar but different parts of the problem. Many of us will live much longer than our parents and retirement will not look like our parents. In fact, many of us will never truly retire. Some of us will work because we do not have enough money to live into our 90s. Others of us want to continue to work because the alternative looks pretty unfulfilling. I will not speak for others but I want fulfillment in my life.
What about you?Marc Miller