People Insights

October 6, 2016

45up: Looking Forward to “Rewirement”

Discover through four profiles what “rewirement” means for people ages 45up in France, Italy and the UK.

People InsightsAudiencesFinancial ServicesTechnology & ConnectivityEurope, Middle East & Africa


    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.

    Meet Julien, Maria, Chi and Anita

    Meet Julien, Maria, Chi and Anita

    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.”

    Not Retiring, Rewiring

    Not Retiring, Rewiring

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

    The Olderpreneur

    The Olderpreneur

    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

    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.

    Julien on his business

    • Entered a new phase of his career by becoming a freelance consultant
    • Is investigating crowd-funding for a new business idea
    • Being connected at all times gives him the freedom to live life on his own terms

    “Retirement? What's that? I don't think about that at all.”

    Julien, 50


    Among 45up like Julien

    1 in 3agree that technology has helped to raise their business profile and reputation

    1 in 4plan to change their career or start a new business

    1 in 5are always coming up with new ideas at work

    Among retired 45up

    87%have more freedom to pursue their goals

    79%are eager to explore new opportunities

    74%started afresh

    The Lifelong Learner

    The Lifelong Learner

    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.

    “Tech enables me to keep informed and keep up with the times.”

    Maria, 61


    Since Maria has gotten older, she has:

    • Started learning and reading philosophy
    • Taken up dance lessons to gain confidence and meet new friends
    • Blogs about her life and love of food

    Among 45up like Maria

    1 in 3have or plan to learn a new language

    1 in 5have taken a course or gone back to college to study

    3 in 5agree that technology has made it easier to find courses or learn about new things

    The Knowledge Sharer

    The Knowledge Sharer

    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.

    “Adding values is what it's all about. Making a difference."

    Chi, 69


    Since Chi has gotten older, he has:

    • Become very involved in his community and charity work
    • Mentors junior collegues at work
    • Experiments with new devices and apps to keep in touch with the wider world

    Among 45up like Chi

    76%enjoy sharing their knowledge with others

    46%volunteered or plan to volunteer with a charity/local community project or mentor others

    45%agree that technology has made it easier to find courses or learn about new things

    The Experience Seeker

    The Experience Seeker

    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.

    “I now have friends all around the world."

    Anita, 69



    • Is past retirement age but still works full-time as a psychotherapist
    • Wanderlust takes her all over the world (she took 5-6 trips in the past year)
    • Has planned a trip to the Great Wall of China and Hong Kong for her 70th birthday

    Among 45up like Anita

    79%agree technology has helped them learn about interesting travel destinations

    63%enjoy exploring new places

    56%have taken or plan on taking the "trip of a lifetime"

    Compared to Millennials, 45up

    1.4xmore likely to like to learn about the history of their travel destination

    1.2xmore likely to enjoy eating local cuisine

    1.2xmore likely to enjoy meeting local people

    “I can do anything I set myself the target to do. There aren't any limitations. The only limitation is in your head.”

    Carol, 59


    Socially connected: Adding life to years

    Socially connected: Adding life to years

    With more freedom—69% agree they have the time to spend on relationships with friends and family—there are plenty of opportunities for 45up to have fun doing the things they love. In fact, 45up are 1.2x more likely than their younger counterparts to check in at restaurants and bars on Facebook.2

    Maintaining relationships (and building new ones) are absolutely vital for this group, and technology is helping them do just that. 56% agree that technology has helped connect them with new friends or social groups.

    Facebook analysis reveals that for 45up across the three markets, women are particularly engaged online—they are 2.10x more likely than men to comment on posts and 1.30x more likely to post status updates. 3

    Overall, online is helping people in later life cultivate relationships of all kinds. Among single 45up looking to get back in the dating game, 1 in 4 agree that technology has made dating easier or more fun.

    What it Means for Marketers

    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.

    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.

    People InsightsAudiencesFinancial ServicesTechnology & ConnectivityEurope, Middle East & Africa

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