June 13, 2024

‘Second-lifers’ make a valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to the eco­nomy

Mar­tin Wolf makes some very import­ant points and raises some very import­ant ques­tions in “Longer lives mean pro­found social change” (Opin­ion, May 13).

One import­ant point is not covered and that is how many of have us rein­ven­ted ourselves after retire­ment and are enjoy­ing a second life. For­tu­nately, I ended my first life with good health but was unfit due to lack of time for exer­cise. Hav­ing time since age 65 enabled me to start a new life of walk­ing 8-10 hours per week, giv­ing me a phys­ical health that needs no medi­cines and keeps me from being a bur­den on the health­care sys­tem. I star­ted a relax­ing hobby in art and keep my mind alive research­ing world hap­pen­ings and writ­ing art­icles on con­com­it­ant invest­ment oppor­tun­it­ies using — and adding to — busi­ness know­ledge gained in my first life.

Now aged 82, I know many oth­ers — my wife included — who are trav­el­ling through their second lives in their own pur­pose­ful way and the end of the road is nowhere near in sight.

In his art­icle, Mar­tin Wolf men­tions that “our main reac­tion today is to fret over the costs of an ‘age­ing’ soci­ety”. We read noth­ing about second-lifers’ con­tri­bu­tions to soci­ety.

These might be sig­ni­fic­ant also eco­nom­ic­ally. My wife and I — and oth­ers in their second lives — make up the major­ity of cus­tom­ers in many cafés at lunch­time and in shops dur­ing day­time. We take hol­i­days dur­ing the week in low sea­son times. The money we spend keeps many in their first lives in jobs in the hos­pit­al­ity and retail sec­tors and the mul­ti­plier effect on eco­nom­ies more widely must be con­sid­er­able.

We see no stat­ist­ics on this, nor do I read any­thing about it in any of my sources of know­ledge around the world.

Per­haps the Fin­an­cial Times could dig deeply into this and shine another light on those in their second lives?

James Han­shaw
Zurich, Switzer­land

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