What’s the highest income-earning decade for a man?
Stop reading, close your eyes and take a guess. No fair to cheat.
It’s not the 40s or the 50s.
It’s the 60s.
Yes, between 60 and 70 years of age is the average man’s highest-earning decade.
Second is the 70s, and third is the 50s.
The reason, according to studies on the subject, is that your 60s represent the confluence of capital, competence and connections.
This all came into sharp focus recently after I read a blog post by Brian Rose, founder of London Real. (In full disclosure, several years ago, he interviewed me when I was in London on a speaking tour. Wonderful host.)
In this recent post, he encouraged people stuck at home due to COVID-19 to take those extra hours and create a “side hustle.”
After all, working from home eliminates the commute and the lunch hour. A disciplined person gains three hours’ worth of additional time each day just by working at home.
(Of course, if you’re stuck at home because your job got eliminated, you have even more time.)
I’d like to take Rose’s idea a step further and combine it with what we know about the value us older folks bring to the table.
Wisdom and Energy
I’m in my mid-60s… and every day I’m astounded at the business opportunities that fall into my lap just because I’m not 20.
People generally like partnering with older folks who have a good track record because we have a wealth of experience, friends and… often… money.
Throughout history, tribal and family wealth creation occurs when elder experience, wealth and wisdom are combined with youthful energy. Segregating young and old makes both age spectrums less successful.
Mary Kay started her cosmetics empire after her children were grown and gone. Colonel Sanders didn’t start Kentucky Fried Chicken until after he was 60. He started his career shoveling coal in steam engines… I guess progressing to fried chicken from firing boilers seemed natural.
While Mary Kay and Col. Sanders are poster children for what can be done later in life, they perfectly demonstrated leveraging their age on teams comprising young people. Even their products appealed to a younger generation.
In my book You Can Farm, I’ve irritated many a 60-year-old urban retiree wannabe farmer with this warning: “Find a young person on whom to leverage your age.”
At 60, you’re going to get tired real fast digging fence postholes, ear-tagging calves and pulling weeds in the green beans.
At 60, your greatest asset is not your physical prowess but your mental capacity. Young people don’t know what to do with money or how to structure business…
Or even how to hire good people.
But those of us who have “been around the horn,” as they say, develop a keen sense of character.
We had a neighbor for 50 years who had an uncanny ability to sense character quality. He was a master mechanic and spent his career overseeing massive construction projects like nuclear power plants and hydroelectric plants. He routinely handled several hundred pieces of equipment and developed maintenance protocols and hired mechanics.
He retired about the time we began our farm apprenticeship program in 1995, and he’d tootle down our dirt road on his John Deere Gator (he called it his convertible) to see the prospects.
He’d just sit on the Gator, smoke his cigarette and watch. In five minutes, he could size up anybody.
We came to depend on his assessments because he was always right. He passed away several years ago, and we miss his wise counsel terribly.
Okay, let’s connect the dots here.
We have retired people with competence, connections and capital. We have working folks with time on their hands.
It’s time for these parties to get together.
Whether a business idea hatches from the older person’s passion or the younger person’s dreams doesn’t matter.
Rather than sitting around having COVID pity parties, how about we capitalize on this rare opportunity bringing time and need together to create a thousand cottage startups?
Take your hobby or pastime and leverage it. If you’re young, approach someone older with your idea. If you’re older, find someone young and savvy to partner up with and launch your side hustle.
A bunch of geezers are never as effective as a geezer and a youngster. The opposite is also true… A bunch of youngsters waste a lot of time, energy and money floundering around in foolishness.
Partnering up cross-generationally can offer a dynamic that enables one plus one to equal three.
Let’s embrace the opportunity we’ve been given.
Have you formed fruitful partnerships with younger or older folks? Tell us about it at email@example.com.