45up: Looking Forward to “Rewirement”

It’s 6pm in Milan and Maria is blogging about her life and passion for food before getting ready for a dance class. 397 miles away in Paris, Julien prepares to pitch a new business idea as he uploads photos of the street art he walked by on the way to a meeting. Meanwhile, on a cold and blustery day in London, Anita plots her next big adventure while messaging a friend she met at a detoxing retreat in Thailand.

What these people all have in common is that they are approaching or have reached retirement age—and yet we could be describing active people of any age. These days, people are choosing to retire later, or not at all. Buoyed by a new sense of freedom and the self-assurance that comes with age and experience, people in later life are no longer looking ahead to retirement, instead they’re looking forward to the life stage now called “rewirement.”

In this second post in the 45up series, we profile four rewirement archetypes, looking at people who are challenging popular perceptions of aging and thriving in this new life stage.

 

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To explore how technology is empowering people ages 45–70 (“45up”), Facebook IQ embarked on a multiphased research study. We commissioned insight and brand strategy experts Sparkler to survey 2,554 people ages 45–70 in France, Italy and the UK on their attitudes to aging. So we could gauge any nuances between generations, 452 Millennials ages 18–34 and 464 Gen Xers ages 35–44 were also surveyed. And to further bring this study to life, Sparkler interviewed nine people across the three markets.

Rewiring, not retiring

Rewirement has become an entree to a second and third act, whether that’s through entrepreneurship, lifelong learning, mentoring or wanderlust. Meet today’s 45up.

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Rather than retiring from work, increasing numbers of people are either choosing to stay in employment or deciding to start afresh with projects and business plans they are passionate about. With age comes experience, financial savvy and a sense of freedom, which is why Olderpreneurs launching their own businesses are succeeding in record numbers—on average across the three markets, entrepreneurial activity is 1.5x higher among 45up today than it was in 2009.1

1 in 3 in people who retire have or plan to learn a new language

The benefits of lifelong learning are numerous—sharpening the mind, promoting a sense of wellbeing and keeping people active and engaged throughout their lives. Technology is a powerful catalyst, connecting Lifelong Learners with greater opportunities to (re)discover and develop their passions while expanding their knowledge of themselves and the world around them.

76% of people that have retired enjoy sharing their knowledge with others

Older age means there is more, not less, to contribute. For Knowledge Sharers in rewirement, the emphasis shifts away from being all about “me” to being all about “others.” Knowledge Sharers want to leave their mark on the world, and technology fuels this calling, connecting them with new opportunities to play a bigger role in society. As mentors and volunteers, they yearn to share their knowledge and empower others—be that in the workplace, their local community or the wider world.

63% of retired individuals enjoy exploring new places

With more freedom and flexibility in their lives, Experience Seekers dream of exploring the world and make the most of any opportunity to indulge their thirst for wanderlust. Experience Seekers long to fully immerse themselves in the culture of their travel destination. They don’t just want to (sight)see it, they want to live it—learn the language, dine out on local delicacies and make lifelong friends they can share and relive experiences with long after the holiday.

What it means for marketers

Reflect the realities of rewirement: 45up are as dedicated to success in life and business as their younger counterparts, despite being closer to retirement age. Whether through expanding the age range of your target audience in your ads or representing older people in your creative, consider all the ways that your brand can speak to today’s 45up.

Help 45up achieve their dreams: As they explore what rewirement means to them, 45up are expressing interest in everything from entrepreneurism and traveling to learning a new language and volunteering—and they’re using technology to help them learn more. Marketers can use signals from these online explorations to resurface follow-up messages in-feed and provide 45up with the tools they need to succeed.

Champion a life less ordinary: As digital media expands their wide window on the world, 45up are increasingly seeking less ordinary, more extraordinary experiences. Brands can tap into their thirst for adventure and wanderlust mindset by bringing to life these sought-after experiences and lifelong dreams with tailored messaging and creative that feeds 45up‘s appetite for discovery.

 

1 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Annual Population Survey 2009–14. Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) rates of people ages 45–64 in FR, IT and UK.
Source unless otherwise specified: “The Age of Empowerment” by Sparkler (Facebook-commissioned study of 452 people ages 18–34, 464 people ages 35–44 and 2,554 people ages 45–70 with a HHI of £25,000 in UK and €30,000 in FR and IT and ethnographies of nine people ages 45–70 (three in FR, two in IT and four in UK)), Mar–Apr 2016. Unless otherwise noted, data is on average across the three markets.