In this episode of Motley Fool Answers, the authors of The New Long Life: A Framework for Flourishing in a Changing World discuss how individuals, corporations, and governments should be preparing for longer lifespans, accelerated technological innovations, and the end of retirement as we know it. Plus, Alison takes on the debate over whether index funds are good for the economy.
To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool’s free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on April 13, 2021.
Alison Southwick: This is Motley Fool Answers. I’m Alison Southwick and I’m joined as always by Bertrand Brokamp, Personal Finance Expert [laughs] here at The Motley Fool. That’s not even what I meant to say, but whatever. Let’s move on. [laughs] In this week’s episode, Bro interviews Andrew Scott and Lynda Gratton, authors of The New Long Life: A Framework for Flourishing in a Changing World. All that and more on this week’s episode of Motley Fool Answers.
Robert Brokamp: Alison, what’s up?
Southwick: Well, Bro, the two-handed economist is back. For those of you who know us, you know that The Motley Fool is a fan of bottoms-up, long term buy and hold investing. As retail investors, we believe that your best option for building wealth is to invest in great companies that you believe in and hold onto them as the stock price might hit some bumps and blips at the whimsy of the market. Wait, there’s an asterisk to this. We also think index funds are great. If you don’t have the time and temperament to invest in individual stocks, then set it and largely forget it with a well-diversified portfolio of index funds, while it’s a great option. Index funds are great, but on the other hand, are index funds of the devil? Bro has talked about the basics and history of the index fund on the show before, but let’s just remind ourselves. Index funds were the brainchild of Jack Bogle, he’s the founder of Vanguard. He asserted that mutual funds at the time charged exorbitant fees and often delivered lousy returns.
What a great combination. His idea was that instead of paying a premium to a money manager who tried to beat the market by choosing stocks for him or herself, you could just pay a much smaller fee to someone like Vanguard who will simply mirror an index like the S&P’s holdings. You’ll likely come out ahead because the actively managed fund needs to perform even better than the market. Something that’s already hard to do and make up for the higher fee they are charging you. First launched in the ’70s, index funds took a while to gain steam. But according to The Atlantic’s Annie Lowrey in an article titled Could Index Funds be Worse Than Marxism, she writes, “By 2016, investors worldwide were pulling more than $300 billion a year out of actively managed funds and pushing more than $500 billion a year into index funds. Some $11 trillion is now invested in index funds up from $2 trillion a decade ago. As of 2019, more money is invested in passive funds than in active funds in the United States.
It’s easy to see why money is flooding into passive funds. Only a quarter of actively managed mutual funds exceeded the returns of their passively managed cousins in the decade leading up to 2019, according to Morningstar. But as Annie writes for The Atlantic, Annie Lowrey, what might be good for retail investors might not be good for the financial markets, public companies, or the American economy with large 4-K. What’s so bad about index funds? Well, like most things in life, too much of a good thing can be a pretty bad thing. While we aren’t there yet, some are concerned that in a world with exclusively passive investors, capital will get allocated only to the big companies and not necessarily to promising companies. That’s because passive investing doesn’t ask questions on earnings reports calls, passive investing doesn’t listen to gossip or have an opinion on a new CEO. Passive investors are like cats, if it fits, I sits.
The fear is that as more money moves into passive investing at some point, it creates a feedback loop of money piling into the largest stocks of an index, which entrenches them even deeper in the index. Which means the index funds have to buy more of it to match the index. All of this is somewhat unrelated to the current or future success of the business. As you probably pause here to explain what market cap weighted means, if an index fund is equally weighted, it means the fund owns the equal dollar amount of shares for every company in the index, every company has the same weight. If it is market cap weighted, the amount that a company has represented in the index fund depends on the market cap of that individual company. To figure out a company’s market capitalization, you multiply the number of shares by the share price. Amazon‘s market cap is $1.67 trillion and Macy‘s is $4.85 billion. If both of these are in the same, let’s call them a consumer retail index fund, there’s going to be way more Amazon exposure than there is Macy’s. All right. About 20% of the Vanguard 500 Index is invested in five companies: Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Alphabet. Five out of 500 stocks representing 20% of the fund’s holdings. Let’s take the addition of Tesla to the S&P 500 last year, the price surged 70% after it was announced that it would join the index because every index fund based on the S&P 500 would have to plow a ton of money into that company’s shares, which will drive up the price. Which means market cap weighted indexes would need to add more of it to the funds and up goes the price, which means market cap weighted index funds need to add more of it, and around we go.
Anyway, that’s maybe the most obvious concern with index funds. Is it something to freak out about? I don’t know. There are some things you could freak out about. Another concern that’s a bit more controversial is the impossible impact of common ownership. It’s the thinking here that index funds tend to own all of the big players in any given industry. Therefore, investors who own all of the big players tend to care less about competition between the companies. They are all their favorite children after all. If you only care about the whole industry making more money, then one easy way for the whole industry to do that is to raise prices for customers as an industry. Whether this is actually a fallout of common ownership is up for debate. One paper showed that common ownership of airline stocks had the effect of raising ticket prices by 3%-7% and The Atlantic article points to research showing similar effects in the pharmaceutical and retail banking industries. BlackRock disagrees, but then they are one of the “big three.” While the money in index funds has gotten very big, the players have dwindled in numbers. Many financial institutions offer index funds but the big three, Vanguard, BlackRock, and State Street control 80-90% of the market and they are the ones who actually hold the shares of the companies and in theory get to vote. But do they?
According to the American Economic Liberties Project, the big three cast roughly 25% of votes in S&P 500 companies. That’s potentially three people making 25% of decisions. It doesn’t quite work out that way, but that’s three small companies with a lot of voting power. Are indexers distorting stock prices? Are they stifling competition? Or are they going to tear the very fabric of our financial system to shreds? Well, one thing most experts can agree on is that something probably needs to be done to keep passive investing from becoming too big. Some call it frothy or a bubble. Bernstein analysts say too much passive investing could be worse than Marxism in stifling competition and even the CEO of State Street told The Wall Street Journal that it’s almost inevitable when you see this kind of concentration that it probably will make sense to do something about it and that, Bro, is what’s up.
Brokamp: In the words of that ’80s movie sage, Ferris Bueller, life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Technological innovations, healthcare advances, and even changes in the way that humans interact will have a big impact on our jobs, our families, and even how long we live, at least until the robots takeover as Stephen Hawking once predicted. Here to discuss how to navigate all these developments are Lynda Gratton and Andrew J. Scott, who are professors at the London Business School and the authors of a fascinating new book, The New Long Life: A Framework for Flourishing in a Changing World. Lynda and Andrew, welcome to Motley Fool Answers.
Lynda Gratton: Thank you.
Andrew Scott: Pleasure to be here.
Brokamp: That reference to Stephen Hawking actually came from your book, where he said that AI could spell the end of the human race. We might get to that later on in the interview. But first, let’s address the issue of living longer, which is both a blessing and if not a curse, a reason to rethink a few things. Lynda, how much longer should we humans be thinking of, in terms of potential longevity?
Gratton: Well, this is our second book on living longer. Our first book was called The 100-Year Life. Robert, in a way you can see that the idea is in the title. Andrew and I are really saying, “What happens if we live to 100?” There’s another question, which is, what happens if you live to 200 or 300 or 500? But for us, the 100 seem to be doable, possible, and probably fun. So we put on 100. But of course, look at our dear queen right now, she seems to be pushing straight through there. Who knows?
Southwick: [laughs] That’s right.
Brokamp: Alison’s knocking on the door of 100 as well.
Southwick: That’s true.
Scott: There’s two things, one is how far we will go, the other is how far we’ve come. Actually, most people aren’t aware of the gains that already occurred. We’re not adept to live the lengthy life that we are currently expecting. Most people today will live into their 90s and that’s government, not wacky science projections. Then it goes out this person has to live to 122 years and I think, 164 days. I think actually there’s, say, two parts; we haven’t adapted to how long we’re already living and so the problems around retirement, and then who knows how far we can go.
Brokamp: You say it actually, some people in the book believe that you could live to 500, even 1,000 years at some point, so who knows? But to get to that point of this transition from what we’re doing now to what we probably will have to do, I thought of as I was reading your book, an interview I did years ago with a guy named Mitch Anthony who wrote a book called The New Retirementality. He said we’re a binge society. When we’re young, we binge on education, when we’re adults we binge on work, and then as retirees, we binge on leisure. In your book, you call it the three-stage life. Tell us why that model may no longer work in the future?
Scott: Sure. Time is a social convention, we structure it as we wish. In the 20th century, we invented the weekend, for instance. But we also invented the three-stage life. We invented a long period of education at the beginning, we invented teenagers in the 20th century, and we invented retirement and that works for life at 70 years. I’m going to get an education, I’m going to work, and then I’m going to retire. But in 100-year life we said, you can’t just stretch this life out. If we’re living to 100, which is a plausible forecast for children being born today, that involves working for 60 years. We thought we’d call the book 100-year life not a 60-year career because it sounds a bit more appealing, 100-year life. But you can’t. Anything you learn at 20, it’s not readying us [inaudible] when you’re 70 and 80, particularly with technology coming along which we look at in The New Long Life.
Then it’s not just your skills and whether you can have a job, there’s also your health. If you carry on working as hard as most people do, will your health be any good in 50-60 years time? Then there’s your relationships and your sense of purpose. The three-stage life is not well-suited for the length of life that we’re facing living to 90 or 100. We don’t want a multi-stage life, your career is going to have several different stages. Some of those stages might be chosen by you. I’m fed up, I want to do something different. Others may be forced upon you, like you’ve just laid off because a pandemic occurs or technology takes your job away. As you go through these different stages, you’re going to have different aims and ambition. Sometimes it’d be about money, other times a different work-like trade-off. There’s huge implications that come from that, for corporations but also for individuals, which is you’re going to have to reinvent yourself and deal with more transitions. That brings along lifelong education, how you manage your finances. But also your sense of identity and purpose better not be too aligned with a particular job or particular career stage if you’re going through a multi-stage life.
Brokamp: You do talk a little bit in the book about artificial intelligence and technology and this whole idea of jobs such as will no longer be done by humans, at least partially. Lynda, do you think that’s overblown or is that a real concern that people should think in terms of a majority of jobs being done by robots?
Gratton: The way that I would look at it is not to look at your whole job, Robert, but actually look at parts of your job. Most of us, if I were to follow you around for the day, there’s probably about 30 tasks that you do. In my job, there’s about thirty tasks and some of those are going to be automated. Now, if you do a job as you do, which is cognitive, then those tasks are going to be automated by AI or machine learning, and some of them already have, you’ve probably seen the way your jobs change. If you do a job which is more physical, like you work in a depot, then some of those tasks are going to be taken by robots. You’ve seen some countries, Korea and Japan particularly, massive investment in robots. It’s not that all of your job is going to disappear, in fact, for very few people, that’s going to be the case. But for almost all of us, some of our job is going to disappear. In general, the bit that disappears is the bit that machines can do, and the bit that stays is the bit that only humans can do. So for almost all of us, it means you have to up-skill and reskill. That’s why one of the things we talked about so much in The New Long Life is the importance of up-skilling and reskilling because as machines take more and more of your work, therefore the bit that’s left for humans becomes more and more complex, either more and more complex physically or more and more complex emotionally, or more and more complex cognitively. We have to upgrade, in a sense, as fast as machines upgrade.
Scott: But also I think there’s something that’s actually right and then there’s something else happening which is machines are becoming even better at being machines, so humans have to become better at being humans. A lot of the things we do which were a bit machine like, it could be routine stuff or doing calculations, machines just do that. If you look at the human skills, that’s an interesting mix of things because some of them are going to be like creativity, ambiguity, but also such things like relating to other humans, and understanding, and empathy, which is a different skill set from just learning how to do multiplication, etc. That I think is going to have big effects. Going about your question about whether it will destroy our jobs. We don’t know, it depends on how technology unfolds. Do we set it up to automate or to augment what people do? But certainly a lot of jobs will be at risk. I think the biggest impact for most people is in the subtle change, what they do and how they do it in their job requiring the need to skill.
But there’s also another possibility which goes back to your question about time and binging on time. Technology normally reduces the length of the working week, and so we may find either more flexible allocations in time across the weekend, or we end up with a full day working week. One thing we’ve got with these longer lives and technologies, how do we restructure time, both the big units of time but also the small unit?
Brokamp: Part of what you’re suggesting is that people will have to work longer. If we live longer, we should be expected to work longer. At some point, in the book I had written, maybe some people will have to think of retiring in their 70s and even younger folks maybe in their 80s. You cited a stat from I think Jim Poterba of MIT that said that for every 10 years of longer life expectancy, we should be expected to work another seven years. We also bring up a good point, and that is we maybe have to think about changing the way we think of being old. Because there are ages today and the idea that if you’re in your 50s or 60s you’re maybe not as productive, you’re not as on top of things, so how do we do that? How do we change the idea of what it means to be perfectly productive and 70, if not 80 years old, working a full-time job?
Gratton: I think, Robert, we need to build a story that makes a change. One of the reasons why Andrew and I are so proud of that book is it’s actually one of a whole series of other people who were saying, we’ve absolutely got to rethink age. How we age is changing dramatically. People in their 60s and 70s and 80s and perfectly capable of doing amazing jobs, you only have to look at the U.S. to see that. We have to do that. Part of the reason that the end of the book we said, what does it mean for education, what does it mean for corporations, what does it mean for government is actually, it’s those institutions that are often very ageist, very ageist about when can you go to university or college, very ageist about when can I employ you, very ageist about when should I give you a pension. We think that individuals really have to themselves become role models. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how many people in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s are saying, “I want you to reconsider how you think about me. My identity has changed, my narratives changed,” but at the same time they’re held back by what institutions are doing. We need to both focus on what individuals can do, but also say to institutions that frame our life, you also have got to change.
Scott: It will be a hard one to do. There’s some big barriers to seizing the advantages of longer life but we are really, really messed up about age. The first thing is we turned the fact that on average, we’re living a lot longer and we’re healthier for longer into a bad news story, we call it an aging society. It’s extraordinary how we turn that. There’s fewer children to mourn them because we live longer, there are fewer parents dying at middle age and leaving families insecure, more grandparents raising grandchildren, and we call this an aging society beset by problems. It’s an extraordinary achievement, truly extraordinary. Then we’re messed up about aging because what’s really happening is on average, the amount of years of life we’re healthier are remaining the same.
Most of the years of life we’re getting are in decent health. What’s really happened is mostly, years come at late middle age, just the age I’m at. But we’ve got this extended middle age now. True, there’s still an end of life instead of priority time, but it’s about how we use that additional time at the end middle age, which given that’s where I am, I think that’s a massive positive. I was looking at the date, today I’m 55. When I was born, someone who was 55, a British male, had another 18 years of life left. Today, it’s 27. I’m really keen on those extra nine years, it’s a 50% increase. That’s a great opportunity. But because we measure age chronologically, this is all about being older. But actually, if I’m further away from when I’m going to die and my health is better, I’m younger for longer. That’s the positive. But we got so many out-of-date stereotypes. Probably because in the past, older people used to have much less education, and so we think older people were stupid and not productive. Partly because we’re not used to so many old people and we’re just not aware of the diversity with which people age, which is the key thing. We lump everyone together over 65 and say they’re old, which is just the most ludicrous assumption. You wouldn’t say everyone under 65 is the same. There’s a single under 65 market or this is what people are under 65 need. We have to move away from that. How are we going to do it? Bit by bit. People like Fauci, for instance, are going to be great because they’re shining, they’re actually, my goodness, you can be productive and effective. Those I think are actually going to be the pioneers and say, yeah why not, why shouldn’t you?
Brokamp: Dr. Fauci just turned 80 on Christmas eve, I believe, which is just amazing. Picking up on some of those themes, in the book, you’ve mentioned that you cited a stat that people will have a positive self perception of aging on average live 7.5 years longer, and that our health is determined only 25% by genetics. We have a good bit of control in terms of exercising, eating well, and all those types of things in terms of being healthier in later years. You also talk a good bit in the book about how many systems government, business are set up for this older situation. For example, pensions. Pensions are setup to pay out for people in their 60s or so, haven’t kept up with longer lives so more and more of GDP and resources that have to be devoted to these things, and Social Security and Medicare in the U.S., but at some point, there has to be almost an intergenerational compromise so that the older foboomersmillllks can get most of what they’re promised, but they might have to work a little longer, but that might mean younger folks might have to pay a little more in taxes and may not get as much as they’re older. Do you see that as being a huge conflict or do you think most societies will find a way to negotiate that?
Gratton: This is all Andrew thinks about these days, [laughs] I would hate to butt in, let him.
Scott: What you said Robert, you’re right. That’s the solution. Actually, I do really worry for the younger generation because they’re other ones with the longest lives, who right now that method life doesn’t seem to be working for them. The education costs, the lack of pension security. Government urgently needed to tackle how we create a life plan that works for the longer life that the younger are facing. Unfortunately, working longer for everyone has to be part of it. I see retirement in economic terms, and the longer, you live the longer you have to work unless wages grow very fast, in which case you can retire earlier. Much of the 20th century life expectancy increased, but wages grew very fast, so we saw retirement come earlier and earlier and we have longer and longer retirement. But wages aren’t growing very fast, life expectancy is still increasing for many, so we have to push back our retirement.
Before we focus on retirement, we have a problem, because how do you keep healthy and productive throughout that time? But going back to the intergenerational point, a healthy society would bring people of different ages together and say, “Okay, how do we get these two,” and let’s look at intergenerational equity. One of the things that really worries me is [inaudible] generational labels because we’ve become obsessed with Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Gen X. The problem with that is that right now, the younger have never had a better chance of getting old. That’s what all these mortality trends mean. But if you see things as Gen X versus Baby Boomers, Gen X will never become a baby boomer. You get this zero sum conflict, you’ve got something that happened because you’re old. We certainly need to get back to just using phrases like young and old rather than Boomers and Millennials to avoid that sense of zero sum conflicts. I really worry about how politics, of course, in so many ways is becoming polarized. But the generational debate is part of it, because the truth of the matter is, things aren’t working for anyone of any age.
The old people dying in care homes during the COVID crisis were not looked after and not thought about. The people who lost their job in their 50s and 60 who won’t get another one and therefore are going to see their pension being affected because of ages. That also goes to the young who also have suffered terribly during this crisis. It isn’t working for anyone right now. Of course, we just get that generational conflict that is going to make politics brutal and ugly and getting the way of actually getting the solution to everyone.
Brokamp: You mentioned how we have been retiring early and earlier and to a point at least here in the U.S. where it’s leveled off. I think the average retirement age reached about 63, 62 and then has moved up a little bit since 2010. I think part of that is thanks to the “dot-com crash” and the great recession and a lot of people realized, “Okay, I don’t have as much money.” But as the retirement guide at the Motley Fool, and I’ve been studying this now for more than 20 years, I have to say I’m not even sure retirement is good for us. Lynda, what is the evidence? Is retirement, is full-time leisure good for people?
Gratton: No. You’re right, Rob. That’s probably why you’ll keep doing this job for another 20 years, at least, if not 30. The thing is that with the three-stage life, retirement worked because you’re exhausted and then you ain’t going to live for eight years anyway, so that was fine but actually, if you live to 100 and you retire, let’s say 60, that’s a long time on the golf course. What happens when you retire early is that your social capital starts to reduce, your networks, your friendships. Your cognitive ability starts to reduce because you’re not engaged in work so much. For me, the No. 1 issue is about good work. So part of the question is, if we are going to work into our 70s and 80s and I think we should, we need to find ways of working which are more flexible, which is work that makes us healthy.
One of the interesting, and actually, potentially positive aspects of the pandemic, Robert, has been that it’s shown us that there are different ways of working. The fact that so many of us were able to work from home, not everybody, of course, that people work flexibly, that everybody became a digital native. Actually, I think that as we move out of this period, we’re going to ask ourselves, well, how do we make work better? How do we make work good? That’s about really bringing more flexibility because this whole point about the three-stage life is that all of your downtime, in the way, came at the very end but imagine that you could reallocate that downtime, right the way through to different parts of your life, maybe it would say, “I want to take Fridays off because I’m going work until I’m 80, so why don’t I take Fridays off?” Or maybe we’ll say, “Actually, I’m going to have two kids, so why don’t I take some of my retirement and reallocate it to looking after my kids when they are younger? Why don’t I take some of that time and spend a year on a gap year, when I’m 40, or 50, or 60, or 70?” As Andrew said earlier, the reimagination of how we spend our time, I think sits at the heart to this question of retirement because most people, if you say to people, “Do you want to work till you’re 80?” They say, “Well, I don’t want to carry on working as I am now.” We have to find a way that really builds on some of the flexibility that we’ve experienced during COVID but at the same time, realizing that we can take time out. Of course, that means that corporations have to learn that actually people can move in and out in a much more flexible way, and I’m hoping that COVID is an invitation to organizations to think more creatively about that.
Scott: As you said, the financial issues have changed. Longevity and rates of return mean that retirement is harder and harder to achieve but it’s always a good starting point because it’s seen in that three-stage life as a binary issue. I work, I don’t work, and I still work at the same time as everyone else, which makes retirement more appealing because my friends and family are also not working, but that’s gone. Of course, what you’ve gotten now is people are now doing more part-time work or changing roles often by choice sometimes because they have to. There isn’t really the same watershed moment but I think the other thing that’s so important about aging is this diversity because, of course, it depends what job you’re doing whether carrying on working for longer is a good thing. If you’re doing hard manual labor or a bad job, [inaudible] it ain’t good to carry on working.
Then the other thing that we talked about work, it’s really about engagement, purpose, and productivity. That doesn’t always have to be paid if you’ve got enough finances, it’s something more about actually being part of something else, a reason to get out of bed. This, of course, means that things are incredibly complicated. People have different financial needs, different health needs, different skills, and different purposes but also means there are more options, so it becomes much more personalized and individualized but certainly, the data which people still working is just increasing and has been increasing to 20-30 years. A number of Americans working off the age of 70 doubled the last 10 years, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics thinks it’s going to double again in the next 10 years. That can be quite positive because in my calculations at just over the 10 years before COVID, all of the employment growth in the G7 countries came from people aged over 55. This is actually not good for the individuals, it’s good for the economy. Quite extraordinary.
Brokamp: Just have a few minutes left here, but I wanted to get a couple more questions. When I was reading your book both as for myself, but also as a parent, I have four kids ranging age from 16-29, I was thinking how is this all going to affect them? I don’t know if you’re parents, but how do you think this changes for kids who are in high school, going to college or as you would likely say, go into university or right out of it, or even if you have kids, has it changed the advice you pass along to them?
Gratton: We’ll, we both have children. In fact, we also teach a lot of young adults, a lot of business schools.
Gratton: In fact, I teach a really popular MBA program on helping people think about their future, it’s called the Future of Work. I guess what I would say to my kids, and Andrew, I’m sure, would say the same is that, coming back to Andrew’s point about optionality, that you’ve got a lot more options available to you than any other generation, and exploring those and realizing that you have a multi-stage life is an astoundingly important model to have. That’s certainly with my MBA students, I invite them to think about what that would look like? What is your possible self? What is it that you could be at any point in time? That liberation from the idea of the three-stage life is really important to young people and really important to our students. Our last book, The 100-Year Life, became one of the most popular books in Japan. It was made into a Manga. In the new book, you’ll see that there are some Japanese characters, Robert, we know our audience and part of that was to help Japanese kids particularly who are very in awe of their parents, in the way their parents lived, to actually say to them, “You can be much more courageous about your life and think about it in all of its optionalities. That makes for a very exciting way of talking to kids.
Scott: One of my motivations are actually in the book, was thinking about why are kids not listening to me? Why are they doing things differently? Then I realized that you’ve got a very different future in a very different world for all reasons. One thing I learned is perhaps not to offer advice, but also just as I did things differently from my parents and not just in reaction but because I married later, I had kids later, started a job late. So they’re doing it as well, they should be doing things differently from me. Just as I should be behaving differently from past cohorts of 55-year-olds. I need to do things differently. […] Therefore, investing in options and exploring is really important. Maybe go for less advice and also try to encourage them to explore.
Brokamp: Final question here in the book, you discussed all kinds of things that different institutions could do, governments, corporations, even healthcare systems, let’s say you two have been named queen and king of the world, don’t worry, I don’t think Oprah’s going to interview any of your relatives, but what’s the one most important thing you could change? I know you wrote all kinds in the book, what’s the one thing you would change across either just in government or something that would go across all those institutions? Lynda, you want to try?
Gratton: Yeah. My vent, Robert, if I rule the world, would be paternity leave.
Brokamp: Interesting, very interesting.
Gratton: I think of all the interventions that corporations and governments could make, it will be enabling and encouraging men in their long lives to spend more time looking after their kids.
Scott: Well, not unrelated to that, I would focus on a major shift toward public preventative health, focused on older people. We have got these longer lives. Most of it is healthy, but not all of it is. If we can be healthy for longer and individual lives are better, we can work for longer, it’s a massive benefit we can enjoy all the more. We need to start thinking about the second half, not the first half of life, and how we make sure that people everywhere are as healthy as they possibly can be.
Brokamp: Very fascinating. Again, our guests have been Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, the authors of a truly thought-provoking new book, The New Long Life: A Framework for Flourishing in a Changing World. Lynda and Andrew, thank you for joining us.
Scott: It was fun. Thank you.
Gratton: Thank you for having us Robert.
Southwick: Well that’s the show. It’s edited frothily by Rick Engdahl. Our email is [email protected] For Robert Brokamp, I’m Alison Southwick. Stay Foolish, everybody!
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.