By Jo Ann Jenkins (Public Affairs, 2016)
In my research into valuable resources for this website, I was drawn to the work of Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP, Inc. formerly the American Association of Retired Persons. Jo Ann Jenkins’ new book “Disrupt Aging” is a powerful and engaging narrative about important issues facing people 50+ today, from caregiving and mindful living to building age-friendly communities and making our money last. This book begins to change the conversation about what it means to grow older. As CEO of AARP, Ms. Jenkins leads the world’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization, where she directs a nationwide network of staff, volunteers and partners helping the more than 100 million Americans 50 and older achieve health security, financial resilience and personal fulfillment. According to the writings of Jo Ann Jenkins, “Disrupt Aging” is designed to revolutionize society’s views on aging by driving a new social consciousness and sparking innovative solutions for all generations. I felt that this book is a good starting point for lawyers to begin to reshape the legal profession. Lawyers need to be engaged in this conversation.
The author highlights three basic themes that run through Disrupt-Aging discussion. “First, we can’t do this alone; we have to bring all of society with us. There is a public role for government at all levels, private roles for businesses and organizations, and personal role and responsibility for each of us. Second, innovation – not just in terms of products and services but also in our social structures and programs – is the key to both individual and societal efforts to disrupt aging. And finally, disrupting aging is not just about people fifty and older; it affects people of all generations, and people of all generations need to get involved to make this change happen.”
Throughout the book and this website, you can follow the same three themes. I agree with Ms. Jenkins that aging cannot and should not be done alone. That is why this website does not focus exclusively on retirement as we currently know it. You will find this community following changes taking place in law schools, bar associations, and the legal marketplace that should prove to be of interest to solo and small firm practitioners who are themselves looking to transition away from full-time practice. Many lawyers at this stage of life will be struggling to navigate economic, health, social, and technological realities unlike any generation before them. My research shows that almost two-thirds of today’s pre-retirees are saying they would ideally like to remain productive and include some work in retirement to stay active and involved. (Cornell Retirement and Well-Being Study, 2000).
According to AARP’s Jo Ann Jenkins, “The problem is that many of us haven’t planned for this part of our lives, and because we are all living so much longer than previous generations, there aren’t many role models to show us the way. We may have saved some money for our later years (though most people have not saved nearly enough), but how many of us actually have a plan in place for what we want to do in our extended Middle Ages?”