Posted by Kendall Harmon

...more people every year, locally and across the nation, continue laboring for a paycheck past the time when they could be collecting Social Security.

The average age of retirement in America, which had been on the decline during much of the 20th century, has been rising for the past two decades for a combination of reasons. A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report found that about 27 percent of people ages 65 to 74 were still in the workforce, compared with just 20 percent in 2002. It predicted nearly one in three people of that age would be part of the labor pool in 2022.

“People today are working later than they have been for quite some time … as long today as in the 1970s,” said Kevin Cahill, a research economist for the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College. “The incentives have shifted in favor of work.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 20, 2014 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Donald Margulies’s play “Dinner With Friends'"]...underlying subject is the mysterious way in which all relationships — friendships as much as romances — can evolve on a deep level as people grow and change, while, on the surface, things appear to remain stable. Life is sailing smoothly by, then one day the familiar face on the other side of the bed, or across the dinner table, or maybe even in the mirror, looks utterly strange.

--Charles Isherwood in his NYT review of the play in Friday's print edition, quoted by yours truly in Adult Sunday School class this morning on Revelation 2:1-7

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychologyTheatre/Drama/Plays* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 16, 2014 at 11:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the first hours and days that followed Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death from an apparent overdose of heroin, there was an outpouring of grief on Facebook, on Twitter and in columns by recovering addicts and alcoholics like the journalist Seth Mnookin and the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin about their own struggles with sobriety and the rarely distant fear of relapsing back into the throes of active addiction.

There was also a palpably visceral reaction in the meeting rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, where, according to some in attendance, many discussions since last Sunday quickly turned from the death of a great actor to the precariousness of sobriety, and the fears of many sober people that they could easily slip back into their old ways, no matter how many years they have been clean.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAlcoholismDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineMenMiddle AgeMovies & TelevisionPsychologyTheatre/Drama/Plays* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 8, 2014 at 11:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Mark] Riley's frustration is widely shared. More than one in six men ages 25 to 54, prime working years, don't have jobs—a total of 10.4 million. Some are looking for jobs; many aren't. Some had jobs that went overseas or were lost to technology. Some refuse to uproot for work because they are tied down by family needs or tethered to homes worth less than the mortgage. Some rely on government benefits. Others depend on working spouses.

Having so many men out of work is partly a symptom of a U.S. economy slow to recover from the worst recession in 75 years. It is also a chronic condition that shows how technology and globalization are transforming jobs faster than many workers can adapt, economists say.

The trend has been building for decades, according to government data. In the early 1970s, just 6% of American men ages 25 to 54 were without jobs. By late 2007, it was 13%. In 2009, during the worst of the recession, nearly 20% didn't have jobs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenMiddle Age* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead of an apparent drug overdose inside his New York apartment on Sunday, police said, adding that two glassine envelopes containing what police suspected to be heroin were found near his body.

Five empty glassine envelopes were found in the trash, police added.

The “Capote” actor, 46, was discovered by a business associate shortly after 11:30 a.m. Eastern time in his Greenwich Village apartment. Hoffman was found in his bathroom with a hypodermic needle stuck in his left arm, police said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionMiddle AgeMovies & Television

1 Comments
Posted February 2, 2014 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Students under 30 still make up the largest age cohort in seminaries, according to the Association of Theological Schools. But older students are growing in representation among 74,000 or so students pursuing a seminary degree from an institution associated with the agency that accredits graduate schools of theology. The percentage of students over 50 enrolled in a seminary rose to about 21% in 2011 from 12% in 1995. The percentage of students under 30 has hovered at around 30% during the same period.

Older students bring some advantages to churches, including congregations that may not be able to afford a pastor who seeks a sizable salary, says Daniel Aleshire, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools. Older pastors may have a pension from a previous career and may not carry as much debt as younger candidates.

"Those who are older identify with what people who are going through because they bring a lot of life experience," Mr. Aleshire says. "They may not have the energy, but they may be more skilled overall."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMiddle AgeReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

1 Comments
Posted January 24, 2014 at 11:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Baby boomers make up the largest share of banking customers in the U.S., according to a December Gallup poll. Nearly nine in 10 baby boomers (89%) currently have at least one checking, savings, or money market account at a bank or another financial institution. But Gallup's 2013 retail banking study shows that just 12% of baby boomers with active bank accounts trust banks a "great deal," with the majority placing only "some" or "very little" trust in these institutions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHistoryMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 23, 2014 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

True to their "live to work" reputation, some baby boomers are digging in their heels at the workplace as they approach the traditional retirement age of 65. While the average age at which U.S. retirees say they retired has risen steadily from 57 to 61 in the past two decades, boomers -- the youngest of whom will turn 50 this year -- will likely extend it even further. Nearly half (49%) of boomers still working say they don't expect to retire until they are 66 or older, including one in 10 who predict they will never retire.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePensionsStock MarketThe U.S. GovernmentMedicareSocial SecurityPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 21, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While plenty of baby boomers, born from 1946 to 1964, have become affluent and many elderly around the U.S. face financial hardship, the wealth disparity of this father and daughter is emblematic of a broad shift occurring around the country. A rising tide of graying baby boomers is less secure financially and has a lower standard of living than their aged parents.

The median net worth for U.S. households headed by boomers aged 55 to 64 was almost 8 percent lower, at $143,964, than those 75 and older in 2011, according to Census Bureau data. Boomers lost more than other groups in the stock market and housing bust of 2008, and many also lost their jobs in the aftermath at a critical point in their productive years.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePensionsStock MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentMedicareSocial Security

0 Comments
Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Baby boomers are calling for a timeout.

After decades of raising children and climbing the corporate ladder, they're weary of the same old routine. But they're so caught up in high-pressure jobs that they don't have the time and energy to figure out what to do next.

Enter the career break.

Inspired by high-school and college students who take "gap" or "bridge" years, more baby boomers are taking an extended leave from the working world. Their goal: to relax, re-energize and reflect upon what they want to do next—which often means heading down an entirely new and more fulfilling career path.

Read it all from the WSJ.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 10, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Stan Druckenmiller makes an unlikely class warrior. He's a member of the 1%—make that the 0.001%—one of the most successful money managers of all time, and 60 years old to boot. But lately he has been touring college campuses promoting a message of income redistribution you don't hear out of Washington. It's how federal entitlements like Medicare and Social Security are letting Mr. Druckenmiller's generation rip off all those doting Barack Obama voters in Generation X, Y and Z.

"I have been shocked at the reception. I had planned to only visit Bowdoin, " his alma mater in Maine, he says. But he has since been invited to multiple campuses, and even the kids at Stanford and Berkeley have welcomed his theme of generational theft. Harlem Children's Zone President Geoffrey Canada and former Federal Reserve Governor Kevin Warsh have joined him at stops along the tour.

Mr. Druckenmiller describes the reaction of students: "The biggest question I got was, 'How do we start a movement?' And my answer was 'I'm a 60-year-old washed-up money manager. I don't know how to start a movement. That's your job. But we did it in Vietnam without Twitter and without Facebook and without any social media. That's your job.' But the enthusiasm—they get it."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMiddle AgeYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted October 19, 2013 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....the Federal Disability Insurance Program...serves nearly 12 million people -- up 20 percent in the last six years -- and has a budget of $135 billion. That's more than the government spent last year on the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and the Labor Department combined. It's been called a "secret welfare system" with it's own "disability industrial complex," a system ravaged by waste and fraud. A lot of people want to know what's going on. Especially Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Tom Coburn: Go read the statute. If there's any job in the economy you can perform, you are not eligible for disability. That's pretty clear. So, where'd all those disabled people come from?

The Social Security Administration, which runs the disability program says the explosive surge is due to aging baby boomers and the lingering effects of a bad economy. But Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Subcommittee for Investigations -- who's also a physician -- says it's more complicated than that. Last year, his staff randomly selected hundreds of disability files and found that 25 percent of them should never have been approved -- another 20 percent, he said, were highly questionable.

Read it all or better still watch the video.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicareSocial SecurityThe National Deficit* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted October 10, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Between 2000 and 2012, the number of people in Penobscot County [Maine] receiving Social Security disability benefits skyrocketed, rising from 4,475 to 7,955 — or nearly one in 12 of the county’s adults between the ages of 18 and 64, according to Social Security statistics.

The fast expansion of disability here is part of a national trend that has seen the number of former workers receiving benefits soar from just over 5 million to 8.8 million between 2000 and 2012. An additional 2.1 million dependent children and spouses also receive benefits.

The crush of new recipients is putting unsustainable financial pressure on the program. Federal officials project that the program will exhaust its trust fund by 2016 — 20 years before the trust fund that supports Social Security’s old-age benefits is projected to run dry.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicareSocial SecurityThe National Deficit

0 Comments
Posted September 21, 2013 at 9:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dennis Hummer, now 45, met Nancy Hess, now 53, working at a church camp in 1988. Over 18 years of marriage, they learned they wanted to spend their time differently from each other. They divorced after Ms. Hess fell for another man. The couple did not have children, but now Mr. Hummer, who remarried and is now stepfather to two girls, find he loves being a “bonus” dad....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 20, 2013 at 3:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There's plenty of fodder for deficit hawks in a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. In short, the future looks grim....

First, the good news: The CBO projects the deficit will shrink to $378 billion in 2015, or 2.1 percent of the size of the overall U.S. economy. Compared with just a few years ago when the budget gap ballooned as a result of the recession, this marks a nearly unprecedented improvement in the deficit picture. It's a rapid decline in budget shortfalls not seen since the end of World War II. The national debt will bottom out in 2018, at 68 percent of GDP.

The bad news: From there, the picture gets decidedly less rosy. Budget deficits gradually rise, "mainly because of increasing interest costs and growing spending for Social Security and the government's major health care programs (Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and subsidies to be provided through the health insurance exchanges)," says the report. By 2038, the national debt will reach 100 percent of GDP....

Read it all and follow the link to the actual report.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMiddle AgeYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicaidMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted September 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While the subject of his fiction has shifted in venue and somewhat in tone, it remains in a generational vein. Speaking of his work, Mr. Coupland explained: "I'm interested in people my age and younger who have no narrative structure to their lives. The big structure used to be the job, the career arc, and that's no longer there. Neither is family or religion. All these narrative templates have eroded."
--From a 1994 profile article in the New York Times (emphasis mine)

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychologyReligion & CultureYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted September 17, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Only half of all small businesses survive five years, according to the Commerce Department — the number is much lower for food establishments. But at his original location, Mr. [Duncan] Goodall said, he’s figured out some rules for indie coffeehouses. These are rules that he has now evangelized to all the mentees, “about 20,” who have found him on the Web.

“You have two types of people” who come for mentorship, Mr. Goodall said. “People who love coffeehouses, and people who love coffee. But there’s no requirement for either of those groups to know anything about business.” So what he offers mentees is like a quickie M.B.A. for people whose background is in — to use the Owens’ example — preaching or nursing.

Mr. Goodall is emphatic about Rule No. 1: “Figure out your niche.” If you’re attracting the artsy crowd, don’t worry if your employees have crazy tattoos — it might be better if they do.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMiddle AgePsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 16, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The number of over-sixties divorcing their partners has hit a 40-year high as men seek a new life of adventure after years of marriage, according to figures published yesterday.

“Silver splitter” divorces are continuing to rise at a time when the overall number of marriage failures is in decline. Unlike other age groups where women are more likely to file for divorce, among the over-sixties men are as likely as women to want to end a marriage.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So let's talk reality. Today's young adults go through their own glory days with crushing student loan debt and a severe recession that continues to affect those entering the job market for the first time. Those from every generation can affirm we are living in a time of unprecedented technological and social change, but millennials are doing so in the midst of the formative years when they build their adult lives. While some boomers unfortunately find themselves forced onto the employment exit ramp, millennials trying to launch their career may discover that no clear "on ramp" into the workforce exists at all for them, save for the merry-go-round of low-paying, part-time jobs (or worse, internships!).

I have watched my own 20-something children and some of my young adult friends struggle to find the kinds of mobile, sustainable careers we boomers have had. Some young workers don't crave those kinds of jobs, choosing instead to make a living through nontraditional outlets that rely on creativity, connectivity, and entrepreneurship.

Either way, we can't regard the employment issues of millennials as character issues. Many of my peers have tried. When they complain about the slacker, selfie-selfish ways of an entire generation of young adults, there is an implication that boomers have been blessed (if you measure blessing in terms of material possessions) because we did something right.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgeReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 8, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You might have heard about peak oil, but what about peak child? When I was born in 1965, about one in three of the world's people were children. That will fall to one in five in my lifetime - assuming I make it to the ripe old age of 85.

It might not sound dramatic but the repercussions of that shift are Earth-changing. The number of babies being born around the world is unlikely to ever be higher than now, and that means the domination of the world's population by those in lower age brackets is ending.

Over the past 50 years, the population aged under 15 ballooned from 1 billion to nearly 2 billion. But revised 100-year population forecasts, released by the United Nations last week, show the number of children will flatten out over the next 15 to 20 years and then fall back to 1.9 billion by 2050.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenGlobalizationMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgeSociology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 20, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Baby boomers are a “fortunate generation” who have enjoyed dramatic improvements in living standards but are now “absorbing” more than their fair share of taxpayers’ money, one of the Church of England’s most senior clerics has suggested.
The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, who is 65, said there were “severe questions” about the share of government spending that goes on his own generation.
He said the world was in the midst of a transformation that had left many believing that our best days could be “behind us”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMiddle AgeReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxesPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted June 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Research published as part of David Cameron’s plan to measure the nation’s “happiness” indicates that almost seven million members of the baby-boomer generation and above admit feeling lonely.

Among people over 80, the proportion rises to almost half, including a large minority who admit they feel lonely much of the time.

But campaign groups warned that the study suggests that the generation now approaching retirement will prove to be a “loneliness time bomb”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 7, 2013 at 11:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Its surprising how many people still marry. As everyone knows, it’s a risky proposition; the divorce rate, though down from its peak of one in two marriages in the early 1980s, remains substantial. Besides, you can have a perfectly respectable life these days without marrying.

When the Pew Research Center asked a sample of Americans in 2010 what they thought about the “growing variety in the types of family arrangements that people live in,” 34 percent responded that it was a good thing, and 32 percent said it made no difference. Having a child outside of marriage has also become common. According to a report by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, 47 percent of American women who give birth in their 20s are unmarried at the time.

And still, demographers project that at least 80 percent of Americans will marry at some point in their lives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychologySociologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted May 7, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is a great graphic here and some comment there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineMiddle AgeTeens / YouthYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal FinanceTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted April 16, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The unexpectedly large number of American workers who piled into the Social Security Administration's disability program during the recession and its aftermath threatens to cost the economy tens of billions a year in lost wages and diminished tax revenues.

Signs of the problem surfaced Friday, in a dismal jobs report that showed U.S. labor force participation rates falling last month to the lowest levels since 1979, the wrong direction for an economy that instead needs new legions of working men and women to drive growth and sustain a baby boomer generation headed to retirement.

Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist for J.P. Morgan, estimates that since the recession, the worker flight to the Social Security Disability Insurance program accounts for as much as a quarter of the puzzling drop in participation rates, a labor exodus with far-reaching economic consequences.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMiddle Age* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe U.S. GovernmentMedicareSocial Security* Theology

1 Comments
Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:13 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s a baby boomer’s nightmare. One moment you’re 40-ish and moving up, the next you’re 50-plus and suddenly, shockingly, moving out — jobless in a tough economy.

Too young to retire, too old to start over. Or at least that’s the line. Comfortable jobs with comfortable salaries are scarce, after all. Almost overnight, skills honed over a lifetime seem tired, passé. Twenty- and thirty-somethings will gladly do the work you used to do, and probably for less money. Yes, businesses are hiring again, but not nearly fast enough. Many people are so disheartened that they’ve simply stopped looking for work.

For millions of Americans over 50, this isn’t a bad dream — it’s grim reality....[and] though there is no single path, there are success stories that offer hope....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetChildrenMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

0 Comments
Posted January 15, 2013 at 11:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When I was 24 years old, I brought my firstborn son, 3-week-old Jacob, to my childhood home on the Eastern End of Long Island to meet his grandparents. When I arrived, an old family friend and neighbor, Cora Stevens, happened to be sitting in my parents’ kitchen. Cora, a mother to five grown children and grandmother to seven, grabbed tiny Jake, put her face right up to his and started speaking loud baby talk to him. Then, as she bounced him on her knee, she turned to me and said, “When they’re little they sit on your lap; when they’re big they sit on your heart.”

Oh, how right she was. Now that Jake is 28, and his brothers are 25 and 19, I can say without a doubt that this is way harder than having little kids. When my children were growing up, I groped my way through stormy nights, chaotic dinner hours, endless mess, nail-biting basketball games, tortured term papers, bad dates and the agony of college admissions. During all those wild ups and downs in the back of my head was the calming thought: once my children get into college, my work will be done. In retrospect, having little kids was a breeze. As long as you hugged them a lot and made good food, things seemed to be, for the most part, O.K. You could fix many problems, and distract them from others. Your home could be a haven from all that might be painful and difficult in the world beyond.

All of that changes when they are grown....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgeYoung Adults

1 Comments
Posted December 4, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Perhaps it’s because I am in my mid-fifties as I write this, but whatever the reason, my mind defaults to thoughts about endurance these days. I want to finish well for the glory of Christ. I want to die well. But I have seen too much quitting and falling and failing to take anything for granted. “Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
--John Piper, Endurance (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2002), page 17


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchBooksMiddle Age* TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted November 1, 2012 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Baby Boomers were the first generation to enjoy the concept of being a teenager, and also the first of the last century to enjoy a prolonged period of national prosperity in which they were encouraged to “have it all”, with widespread home ownership, increasing numbers taking holidays abroad and enjoying the burgeoning consumer economy.

That group of post-war babies are now approaching older age, relinquishing the habits of working life and finding themselves with decades still to live in which they might stay fit and healthy or become increasingly dependent on 
help and care from those around them. They – and all of us – are mostly in the dark about when we might crumble physically or mentally.

For many who are retired or 
who are facing retirement soon, the huge questions of how long their health will last, who will care from them and how they finance their care are a colossal and persistent worry....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted October 23, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Deanna Medina and Ever Gutierrez of Los Angeles have been engaged for three years and have lived together for 12.

They also have three kids together, ages 17 months to 11 years.

While more of the USA's cohabiters are childless (59% — almost 9 million — as of March, when Census counted current cohabiters), they're not the only ones driving the rise in cohabitation. There are also 6.3 million who, like Medina and Gutierrez, have kids and make up the other 41%. About half of those have kids from a partner's previous relationship, and half are children from the cohabiting relationship, researchers say.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychology

0 Comments
Posted October 19, 2012 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In middle age, many women discover they’re downsizing and moving into a brand-new neighborhood, so to speak. Midlife strips us of the things that formed our network of relationships back in the old neighborhood of our 20s and 30s: children’s activities or the drive to find meaning in a career. This new life location can be lonely. No one I know is riding in a red convertible with her empty-nester Gal Pals, singing along to oldies while heading together to a beach house weekend. Most of us aren’t looking for Gal Pals, anyway. We’re simply looking for a few friends in our new neighborhood. Studies confirm what we intuitively know: loneliness is a serious issue with far-reaching consequences as we get older.

The standard friend-making advice offers motivational action steps: take a class, join a group, serve those in need in your community. In addition, Christians are encouraged to find fellowship at church, though they may discover that there aren’t always as many age peers attending as they might hope.

The suggestions are useful, but without first doing what Jesus asks of us, our efforts will not be grounded in kingdom reality. We can not befriend others if we are not willing to first befriend our midlife selves. Relying on the identity that seemed to fit like a glove at age 25 to build new relationships when we are 47 won’t net us the kind of authentic relationships we’re longing for in our second adulthood, nor does it honor the process of God’s transforming, maturing work in our lives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychologyWomen* TheologyPastoral Theology

4 Comments
Posted August 24, 2012 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It's game on. But to understand the contest — and the associated scare tactics — it's best to first understand a few unpleasant facts that are not in dispute:

•The popular old-age health insurance plan is on a financially unsustainable course. Medicare's payroll tax and premiums that beneficiaries pay cover barely half the program's costs, and as Baby Boomers retire, things will get worse. The tab is projected to rise rapidly: 7.6% a year for the doctor-care part of Medicare and 8.8% for the program's prescription drug benefit, for example. The economy, a rough proxy for the nation's ability to afford this, is growing less than 2% a year, leaving a huge gap.
•There is no painless fix. Both presidential candidates have committed to detailed plans for curbing costs, and no matter who wins, beneficiaries will pay more or get less, likely both. People who say otherwise are deluding themselves. As economist Herb Stein famously said: Anything that can't go on forever won't.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineMiddle AgeYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicareThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Quick Stats[:]
As of 2012-06 the civilian labor force was 155,163,000
As of 2012-06 there were 111,145,000 in the private workforce
As of 2012-06 there were 56,174,538 collecting some form of SS or disability benefit
Ratio of SS beneficiaries to private employment just passed the 50% mark (50.54%)
....As of May 2012, the outlays are $756.9 billion annualized. Fewer worker relatively speaking, support more and more recipients with exponentially growing payments. This is supposed to work?

Read it all from Mish's economics blog (another from the long queue of should-have-already-been-posted material).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMiddle AgePsychologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetCensus/Census DataMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted August 9, 2012 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

By this point in his life, Keith Daniel thought he would be saving for retirement, helping his daughter through college and slugging his way to glory in his local softball league.

Instead, the 52-year-old is burning through his savings and working odd jobs to make ends meet. He hasn't held a full-time job in over three years.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMiddle Age* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

0 Comments
Posted June 24, 2012 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Experts agree that the way celebrities portray themselves on our screens is piling on the pressure for ordinary older women to look just as good.

There's been an increase in the number of women experiencing eating disorders in middle age according to Professor Phillipa Hay, Foundation Chair of Mental Health at the University of Western Sydney. Hay says a rise in body image and weight and shape concerns is to blame. "There may be more pressures on older women to retain the appearance of youth," she says and "there may be more pressures to be a 'super woman' – successful in the workplace and at home and 'looking good' as well."

Celebrities, such as Angelina Jolie, "appear to 'prove' that thinness in midlife bestows many real-life benefits, for example, sexual desirability, happiness, and wealth that may be particularly persuasive," said a recent study in Psychology of Women Quarterly co-authored by Professor Marika Tiggemann, a psychologist and body image expert at Flinders University. The research, which looked at the influence of television shows such as Desperate Housewives on women aged between 35 and 55 concluded that "exposure to thin idealised images in media content may have an adverse impact on body image and eating practices in midlife."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMiddle AgeMovies & TelevisionWomen* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ

3 Comments
Posted May 31, 2012 at 4:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dr. Georgia Witkin, author of the new book, “The Modern Grandparent’s Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to the New Rules of Grandparenting,” (New American Library, $15)...[says that] the average age for a first-time grandparent is 48....Whether they work or not, grandparents are busy, active people. They’re shaking their bodies in Zumba classes, running marathons, biking from the suburbs into the city and back, and chatting with friends and family, far and near, on Facebook.

And some grandmothers, like Gregory of Southfield, Mich., are even abandoning the traditional moniker for names that better fit their personalities and lifestyles, such as Grand, GiGi or Nana.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychology

0 Comments
Posted March 31, 2012 at 10:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For the new generation of empty-nesters, divorce is increasingly common. Among people ages 50 and older, the divorce rate has doubled over the past two decades, according to new research by sociologists Susan Brown and I-Fen Lin of Bowling Green State University, whose paper, "The Gray Divorce Revolution," Prof. Brown will present at Ohio State University this April. The paper draws on data from the 1990 U.S. Vital Statistics Report and the 2009 American Community Survey, administered by the U.S. Census Bureau, which asked all respondents if they'd divorced in the past 12 months.

Though overall national divorce rates have declined since spiking in the 1980s, "gray divorce" has risen to its highest level on record, according to Prof. Brown. In 1990, only one in 10 people who got divorced was 50 or older; by 2009, the number was roughly one in four. More than 600,000 people ages 50 and older got divorced in 2009.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychology

3 Comments
Posted March 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Suicide spreads when people feel authorised to opt for it and when they have lost the will to remain alive. The second part is less important than the first part.

Most people wish they were dead at some time or other in their lives. It is the culture of authorisation that translates a possibly temporary indifference to life into a decisive and final action which can be a key factor in the spread of suicide.

The more people hear of suicides, the more suicides will follow.

And the emotive, non-judgmental, godless culture that has emerged in recent years rules out the use of taboo as a social influence on society generally.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMiddle AgePsychologySuicideReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland

0 Comments
Posted January 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since I’ve been chairing a national Presbyterian Church (USA) committee on the Nature of the Church for the 21st century, I’ve been gaining a different perspective on many of the larger trends of our denomination. One thing that has been difficult to realize (and equally difficult to communicate to the larger church) is the young clergy crisis.

Why would I call it a crisis? We’ve known for a long time about the startling decline of young clergy. The drop-out rates don't help (I can't find hard and fast stats on this... but some claim that about 70% of young clergy drop out within the first five years of ministry, usually because of lack of support or financial reasons). The average age of a pastor in the PCUSA is 53. And I’ve realized that the age of our leadership might be much higher.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMiddle AgeYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheranMethodistPresbyterianUnited Church of Christ* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

5 Comments
Posted December 20, 2011 at 5:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Paul Klingler likes his job as a mold-maker for a Rochester plastics manufacturer.

But the 54-year-old Parma resident also liked his last mold-making job, which he held for four years before being laid off early this year. And when he didn't get a call back regarding an open position at another company, Klingler chalked it up to his lack of a college degree. "I know I have all the other skills they're looking for," he says.

That's why Klingler is working with Monroe Community College here to figure out what coursework he needs to earn an associate's degree in its machine trades apprentice training program. He plans to start this spring.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationMiddle Age* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

1 Comments
Posted December 16, 2011 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Like many middle-class American baby boomers, Linda Carmona-Sanchez is anxious about slipping into poverty and says whatever dreams she once had about retirement in her "golden years" have turned into nightmares.

"We don't value people here in this country, and we value you less if you're not healthy and strong," Carmona-Sanchez, 55, said.

"To me it would almost be a welcome blessing to know that I would die rather than to be old and have to live in poverty," she said.

Her anxiety is widespread....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMiddle Age* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal FinancePensions

7 Comments
Posted November 9, 2011 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Carol Willison has made lots of financial sacrifices for her two children over the years, including paying most of her older daughter's medical school tuition. But Willison's generosity has reached its limits.

Not only doesn't the 60-year-old Seattle woman plan to leave her daughters an inheritance when she dies, she's trying to spend every last dime on herself before she goes.

"My goal is when they carry me away in that box that my bank account is going to say zero," Willison said. "I'm going to spoil myself now."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance

22 Comments
Posted September 8, 2011 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Baby boomers say their biggest health fear is cancer. Given their waistlines, heart disease and diabetes should be atop that list, too.

Boomers are more obese than other generations, a new poll finds, setting them up for unhealthy senior years.

And for all the talk of "60 is the new 50" and active aging, even those who aren't obese need to do more to stay fit, according to the Associated Press-LifeGoes Strong.com poll.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionHealth & MedicineMiddle AgePsychology

0 Comments
Posted July 19, 2011 at 6:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While most of the 76 million baby boomers are no longer caring for their children, more and more of them are playing the role of caretakerfor an older generation: their parents. But how ready are they for this role?

A new survey by Home Instead Senior Care, an in-home care company, shows that an alarming number of those caring for their aging parents are under-prepared.

Almost half of those surveyed by Home Instead said they couldn't name a single drug their parents took. Also, 34 percent said they don't know whether their parents have a safe deposit box, and 36 percent said they don't know where their parents' financial information is located.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMiddle Age

0 Comments
Posted June 21, 2011 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dating online the second time around – after divorce or the death of a spouse – isn't always second nature among boomers, let alone people who are 65 and older, but neither is it all that scary.

Yet they often have unrealistic notions of how to hunt for love and companionship, said Pepper Schwartz, a sociology professor at the University of Washington in Seattle who is also a sex and relationship expert for the AARP and developer of an algorithm to make matches more meaningful on the dating site PerfectMatch.com.

“People 65 or older, they're picky in a different way,” she said. “Young people tend to go for looks, period. Older people often have a little bit more leeway on what somebody looks like, but then they have all these other kinds of requirements that may or may not be realistic.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetMenMiddle AgePsychologyWomen

0 Comments
Posted June 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The number of middle aged people living alone has soared by a third in the past decade, with singles making up 29% of Britain's 26m households.

Home editor Mark Easton explained that an extra half a million of 45 to 64-year-olds were now living on their own.

The reasons behind the trend were both the demographic bulge caused by the baby boomer generation, but also the dramatic drop in marriage and co-habitation.

Listen to it all (a little under 8 1/4 minutes).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMiddle Age

2 Comments
Posted April 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Republican budget released on Tuesday is a daring one in many ways. Above all, it would replace the current Medicare with a system of private health insurance plans subsidized by the government. Whether you like or loathe that idea, it would undeniably reduce Medicare’s long-term funding gap — which is by far the biggest source of looming federal deficits.

Yet there is at least one big way in which the plan isn’t daring at all. It asks for a whole lot of sacrifice from everyone under the age of 55 and little from everyone 55 and over. Representative Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who wrote the plan, calls the budget deficit an “existential threat” to the United States. Then he absolves more than one-third of all adults from responsibility in dealing with that threat.

This decision doesn’t make him unique in Washington. There is nearly a bipartisan consensus that any cuts to Medicare and Social Security should spare the baby boomers and the elderly. And, certainly, retirees or people on the verge of retirement shouldn’t have their benefits changed radically. But the consensus, like Mr. Ryan’s plan, goes too far.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineMiddle AgeYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetSocial SecurityThe National DeficitThe United States Currency (Dollar etc)Politics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate

20 Comments
Posted April 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More workers are pessimistic about their retirement future than at any time in the past two decades, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey.

The percentage of workers who are not at all confident about saving enough money for a comfortable retirement reached 27% in 2011, compared with 22% last year. When combined with those who said they are not too confident, the total reaches 50% of workers.

"That is sobering," says Greg Burrows, senior vice president of retirement and investor services at the Principal Financial Group, a partner with the EBRI survey. "Hopefully this will spur some action."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMiddle Age* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePensionsThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted March 16, 2011 at 11:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Prescription for a long life: Work hard. Don't retire early.

The idea that your job or your boss is leading you to an early grave is one of several myths debunked in an analysis of a 90-year study that followed 1,528 Americans. Among other myths: be optimistic, get married, go to church, eat broccoli and get a gym membership.

Researchers Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin report their conclusions in a new book, The Longevity Project. "Everybody has the ideas — don't stress, don't worry, don't work so hard, retire and go play golf," says Friedman, a psychology professor at University of California-Riverside. "We did not find these patterns to exist in people who thrived."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineMiddle AgePsychologyReligion & Culture

4 Comments
Posted March 1, 2011 at 11:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Caught this on the morning run today--very enjoyable. Watch it all.

You can also read an article about the interview here.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgeMovies & Television

2 Comments
Posted February 26, 2011 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Football’s ramifications so concerned the former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson that, after deciding to kill himself last Thursday, he shot himself in the chest, apparently so that his brain could remain intact for similar examination.

This intent, strongly implied by text messages Duerson sent to family members soon before his death, has injected a new degree of fear in the minds of many football players and their families, according to interviews with them Sunday. To this point, the roughly 20 N.F.L. veterans found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy — several of whom committed suicide — died unaware of the disease clawing at their brains, how the protein deposits and damaged neurons contributed to their condition.

Duerson, 50, was the first player to die after implying that brain trauma experienced on the football field would be partly responsible for his death.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMiddle AgePsychologySuicideSports* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted February 22, 2011 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The 401(k) generation is beginning to retire, and it isn't a pretty sight.

The retirement savings plans that many baby boomers thought would see them through old age are falling short in many cases.

The median household headed by a person aged 60 to 62 with a 401(k) account has less than one-quarter of what is needed in that account to maintain its standard of living in retirement, according to data compiled by the Federal Reserve and analyzed by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College for The Wall Street Journal. Even counting Social Security and any pensions or other savings, most 401(k) participants appear to have insufficient savings. Data from other sources also show big gaps between savings and what people need, and the financial crisis has made things worse.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMiddle Age* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinancePensionsStock MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentSocial Security

3 Comments
Posted February 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Please note that the article, enttiled "Holy Enrollers," was originally discussed here on February 2, 2001--KSH).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Culture-WatchMiddle AgeReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted February 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now, the key is that this is not a story about a trend in the Episcopal Church or even the world of oldline Protestantism. The heart of the story is a set of new statistics out from Association of Theological Schools, which, as Time tells us, includes more than 250 graduate schools in North America. The whole point is that gray-haired baby boomers are now the fastest growing niche in theological education....

Also, it would help to know the overall numbers and demographics at General Theological Seminary — a school which reported 202 students (134 full-time equivalents) in the same time frame as the Time report. Meanwhile, there were 108 students (62 FTE) up at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass.

As a point of comparison, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth had 3,042 students (2,068 FTE) that year and, on the various campuses of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, there were 2,134 students (1,492 FTE)

I was going to post this when Time made the etext available, since I first saw it in my paper subscription, but alas, it never occurred. In any event, read it all--KSH.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMiddle AgeReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

12 Comments
Posted February 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In keeping with a generation’s fascination with itself, the time has come to note the passing of another milestone: On New Year’s Day, the oldest members of the Baby Boom Generation will turn 65, the age once linked to retirement, early bird specials and gray Velcro shoes that go with everything.

Though other generations, from the Greatest to the Millennial, may mutter that it’s time to get over yourselves, this birthday actually matters. According to the Pew Research Center, for the next 19 years, about 10,000 people “will cross that threshold” every day — and many of them, whether through exercise or Botox, have no intention of ceding to others what they consider rightfully theirs: youth.

This means that the 79 million baby boomers, about 26 percent of this country’s population, will be redefining what it means to be older, and placing greater demands on the social safety net. They are living longer, working longer and, researchers say, nursing some disappointment about how their lives have turned out. The self-aware, or self-absorbed, feel less self-fulfilled, and thus are racked with self-pity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMiddle AgePsychology

0 Comments
Posted January 2, 2011 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ask people how they feel about getting older, and they will probably reply in the same vein as Maurice Chevalier: “Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.” Stiffening joints, weakening muscles, fading eyesight and the clouding of memory, coupled with the modern world’s careless contempt for the old, seem a fearful prospect—better than death, perhaps, but not much. Yet mankind is wrong to dread ageing. Life is not a long slow decline from sunlit uplands towards the valley of death. It is, rather, a U-bend.

When people start out on adult life, they are, on average, pretty cheerful. Things go downhill from youth to middle age until they reach a nadir commonly known as the mid-life crisis. So far, so familiar. The surprising part happens after that. Although as people move towards old age they lose things they treasure—vitality, mental sharpness and looks—they also gain what people spend their lives pursuing: happiness.

This curious finding has emerged from a new branch of economics that seeks a more satisfactory measure than money of human well-being.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMiddle AgePsychology

0 Comments
Posted December 20, 2010 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Someone coming of age in 1950 lives through JFK, the soaring rhetoric of Martin Luther King, the Mickey Mouse Club and Leave It to Beaver," says Steven Gillon, resident historian of the History Channel and author of Boomer Nation. "After 1960, their memories are Watergate and oil embargo."

Yet, they have been lumped into one demographic behemoth (77 million) that has guided marketing decisions, transformed history and politics and reshaped entertainment sensibilities for more than six decades.

As the nation marks the 65th birthday of the first Boomers beginning next month, the millions born at the tail end of the generation are feeling a disconnect.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMiddle AgePsychology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

7 Comments
Posted December 3, 2010 at 4:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Like the Francones, four and a half million Americans have taken hardship withdrawals from their 401(k)s. With savings gone, unemployment checks exhausted, many are coming to charities including the CALL Primrose Center, a pantry of free food.

Mary Watts has run CALL Primrose for 11 years.

"Before the Great Recession began, you were sending out how many bags of groceries in a year? Pelley asked.

"When I started in '99 it was 4,000 bags a year," she replied. "It's going to be 32, to 35,000 bags this year."

Read or watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMenMiddle AgeWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

2 Comments
Posted October 25, 2010 at 1:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

They have sex with friends, acquaintances and people they’re casually dating. Many have never been tested for H.I.V. or any other sexually transmitted disease, but they rarely use condoms. Who are they?

The irresponsible scoundrels are not teenagers but 50-something singles, according to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, one of the most comprehensive national sex studies in almost 20 years, carried out at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University.

It turns out that “friends with benefits” — a sexual partner who is “just a friend,” and neither a soulmate nor a romantic interest — isn’t just for teenagers and college students anymore, and maybe it never was. Young adults may have given the practice a new name, but it probably started during the ’60s sexual revolution, when the middle-aged Americans of today were young themselves.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMenMiddle AgePsychologySexualityWomen* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

7 Comments
Posted October 11, 2010 at 4:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Patricia Reid is not in her 70s, an age when many Americans continue to work. She is not even in her 60s. She is just 57.

But four years after losing her job she cannot, in her darkest moments, escape a nagging thought: she may never work again.

College educated, with a degree in business administration, she is experienced, having worked for two decades as an internal auditor and analyst at Boeing before losing that job.

But that does not seem to matter, not for her and not for a growing number of people in their 50s and 60s who desperately want or need to work to pay for retirement and who are starting to worry that they may be discarded from the work force — forever.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMiddle Age* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

7 Comments
Posted September 20, 2010 at 12:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

America's baby boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964—face a problem that could weigh on the economy for years to come: The longer it takes for the economy to recover, the less money they'll have to spend in retirement.

Policy makers have long worried that Americans aren't saving enough for old age. And lately, current and prospective retirees have been hit on many fronts at once: They have less money, they earn less on what they have, their houses aren't rising in value and the prospect of working longer to make up the shortfall has dimmed significantly in a lousy job market.

"We will have to learn to make do with a lot less in material things," says Gary Snodgrass, a 63-year-old health-care consultant in Placerville, Calif. The financial crisis, he says, slashed his retirement savings 40% and the value of his house by about half.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHistoryMiddle Age* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinancePensionsStock MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

0 Comments
Posted August 16, 2010 at 7:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Baby Boomers approaching retirement age are in for a rude awakening.

Many want to keep working, knowing that they likely will live well into their 80s and 90s, stay healthier than previous generations and need more cash to keep paying the bills.

However, for Boomers — those 79 million Americans born from 1946 through 1964 — "the new retirement reality may be a messy proposition," says Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Jobs are scarce and many employers aren't willing to hire older workers. Boomers who do land jobs often must settle for ones that are less fulfilling than desired.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMiddle Age* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

0 Comments
Posted August 10, 2010 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Just days before I was to celebrate another middle-age birthday, I heard on the news that the mayor of an affluent suburb here had killed her 19-year-old daughter before turning the gun on herself. Authorities believe 55-year-old Jayne Peters — mayor of Coppell, Texas— might have planned the murder-suicide based on notes found at her home.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers are taking a long look at numbers showing that middle-age adults (45-54) — like Peters — have the highest suicide rate in the nation for the second year in a row.

Why? In general, researchers see a broad range of factors.....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMiddle AgePsychologySuicide

1 Comments
Posted August 6, 2010 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For the second year in a row, middle-aged adults have registered the highest suicide rate in the country, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Historically, the eldest segment of the population, those 80 and older, have had the highest rates of suicide in the United States. Starting in 2006, however, the suicide rate among men and women between the ages of 45 and 54 was the highest of any age group.

The most recent figures released, from 2007, reveal that the 45-to-54 age group had a suicide rate of 17.6 per every 100,000 people. The second highest was the 75-to-84 age range, with a rate of 16.4, followed by those between 35 and 44, with a 16.3 percent rate.

The rate for 45- to 54-year-olds in 2006 was 17.2 percent, and in 2005 it was 16.3 percent.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchMiddle AgePsychology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted June 5, 2010 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“We won't be rebuilding wealth so quickly,” says Christian Weller of the American Progress and the University of Massachusetts, who specializes in retirement income security.

Weller says the decline in wealth is the greatest on record.

Housing prices are expected to bottom out until mid year at the earliest. Thus far, the median price of a home is down more than 20 percent from $219,000 at the market peak in 2007 to $170,000 in January.

Stock prices, however, have fallen twice as much, some 50 percent, from their October 2007 peak.

And while a greater percentage of Americans are homeowners than investors and thus the average household’s wealth is more defined by real estate than investments, the investment outlook is still a major force.

“There are more people involved in the equity market and have wealth tied up in it than the 1980s and 1990s,” says Christopher Rupley of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchMiddle Age* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceStock MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

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Posted March 4, 2009 at 6:33 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Just as we hunker down to survive the worldwide economic collapse, we are confronted daily with news of fellow Americans who already have lost their homes, jobs and life savings.

In one important respect, Americans today are at a greater disadvantage than those who faced the Great Depression some 70 years ago. In 1930, the vast majority of the nation's households consisted of families led by married couples. Today, many more households consist of adult Americans who face life alone.

They include solitary men and women, single parents, the divorced, widowed and unwed partners.

An important reminder, especially for those in parish ministry in the holiday season. Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgeYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

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Posted December 16, 2008 at 6:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Harvard kicked off a small but ambitious experiment this week that it hopes will become a new “third stage” of university education. For the student-fellows in the program, most in their 50s and early 60s, the goal is a second-act career in a new stage of life.

The 14 fellows have résumés brimming with achievement — including a former astronaut, a former senior official at the United States Agency for International Development, a physician-entrepreneur from Texas, a former public utility official from California, a former health minister from Venezuela and a former computer executive from Switzerland.

They gathered at Harvard on Thursday to begin the yearlong program intended to help them learn how to be successful social entrepreneurs or leaders of nonprofit organizations focused on social problems like poverty, health, education and the environment. Their interests include sickle cell anemia, women’s education in Africa, health care quality and water conservation.

The opportunity, the fellows say, is to pick up new knowledge, skills and professional relationships in a new realm. To Charles F. Bolden Jr., one of the fellows, it has the potential to be as life-changing as his selection to join America’s space program nearly three decades ago. “The Harvard program feels sort of like that,” said Mr. Bolden, 62, a retired major general in the United States Marine Corps and a veteran of four space shuttle missions.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationMiddle Age* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted December 13, 2008 at 6:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Suicide rates in the USA are up after more than a decade of dropping, and middle-aged whites primarily account for the increase, a report says.

The rate for whites 40 to 64 years old jumped 19% for women and 16% for men from 1999 to 2005, say researchers from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Their analysis was published online in the AmericanJournal of Preventive Medicine.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchMiddle AgePsychology

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Posted October 21, 2008 at 1:39 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A heartwarming story--watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationMiddle Age

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Posted October 12, 2008 at 2:47 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you are a woman in her 40s or 50s, living in an arid marriage or partnership, and are not having an affair or contemplating one, you are behaving unnaturally.

More and more women are allowing themselves to behave like my friend "A", who, as soon as her children finished high school last year, walked away from her battle-scarred marriage, moved into her own place, commenced no-fault divorce proceedings, and joined the RSVP online dating service.

I didn't see her for months, and when I did she looked trim and buoyant. She had a new boyfriend. "I'm behaving like an 18-year-old," she said. She did look as if she was getting a lot of exercise. She met the new man on RSVP. She also had war stories about RSVP. One of her friends, a 60-year-old architect, received about 100 responses from women on the site.

This, by the way, is not a clarion call to infidelity. The key qualifying word in the opening paragraph is "arid". Rather, it is a consideration of the way society treats and portrays the sensuality of older women, and why so many allow themselves to disappear into a great compromise built on habit, stability, security and obligation rather than how they really feel.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgeSexuality* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ

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Posted February 21, 2008 at 4:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Shannon Neal can instantly tell you the best night of her life: Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2003, the Hinsdale Academy debutante ball. Her father, Steven Neal, a 54-year-old political columnist for The Chicago Sun-Times, was in his tux, white gloves and tie. “My dad walked me down and took a little bow,” she said, and then the two of them goofed it up on the dance floor as they laughed and laughed.

A few weeks later, Mr. Neal parked his car in his garage, turned on the motor and waited until carbon monoxide filled the enclosed space and took his breath, and his life, away.

Later, his wife, Susan, would recall that he had just finished a new book, his seventh, and that “it took a lot out of him.” His medication was also taking a toll, putting him in the hospital overnight with worries about his heart.

Still, those who knew him were blindsided. “If I had just 30 seconds with him now,” Ms. Neal said of her father, “I would want all these answers.”

Mr. Neal is part of an unusually large increase in suicides among middle-aged Americans in recent years. Just why thousands of men and women have crossed the line between enduring life’s burdens and surrendering to them is a painful question for their loved ones. But for officials, it is a surprising and baffling public health mystery.

A new five-year analysis of the nation’s death rates recently released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the suicide rate among 45-to-54-year-olds increased nearly 20 percent from 1999 to 2004, the latest year studied, far outpacing changes in nearly every other age group. (All figures are adjusted for population.)

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchMiddle AgePsychology

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Posted February 20, 2008 at 6:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We hear a lot about men and their midlife crises; the sudden urge to own an Alfa Spider, the unexpected interest in back-hair removal (the same hair he has lived with quite harmoniously for much of the last four decades), the elopement with the young blonde from the gym after 25 years of an apparently happy and stable marriage.

The explanation given for this erratic behaviour centres on one thing: sex. At 40, a man feels he is losing his sexual attraction - hence the need to be confirmed by a younger woman. But what about the middle-aged woman and her midlife crisis? Just because she doesn't abandon the established family quite so regularly and dramatically doesn't necessarily mean she isn't occasionally consumed by the same urges.

My observations are that women approaching 50 swoon just as easily at the sight of a fit male chest or a sweaty bicep as a middle-aged man might over a girl in a bikini. It's just that women are better at concealing their lust.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchMiddle AgeSexuality

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Posted October 31, 2007 at 1:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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