Financially Speaking Blog

Original Thought

Published on September 15, 2016

Ever wonder where ideas come from?  Are some original thought; and then some are developed by others thinking about the original idea?  Are ideas hatched in our mind and then built upon with brainstorming with others? Then is the result your idea or owned by the brainstorming?  And what about those ideas that predict several or many years into the future; and then actually materialize.  Do you wonder how those ideas were thought up so many years ago?

I’ll give you an example.  A few decades ago, I attended a conference focused on what retirement life would look like in the 21st century.  I heard presentations about how there wouldn’t be enough workers in the economy when Baby Boomers retired, so we would see elderly folks working in McDonalds.  Morbidity, the unhealthy state of retirees, would be extended, meaning that retirees would live longer despite having bouts of illness.  People would be living longer lives.  People would build or modify their homes to accommodate wheel chairs and walkers.  Technology would be invented that made advanced-age living easier.  Medications and medical services that hadn’t been dreamed of would be invented to accommodate longer, healthier lives.   Bathtubs would have doors for easy access in your own home. 

A line from the movie, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, came to mind:  “Who are those guys?”  Not enough young people to work jobs?  Taking pills to feel better when I am 85 years old?  Never going to a nursing home? 

Amazingly, many of the ideas I learned at that conference are now a reality.  How did those ideas, discussed over twenty years ago, actually develop and are being used today?  In the financial world, twenty-year predictions are but a joke.  But these ideas were right on target.

The Wall St. Journal reports now that “next-generation retirees will have an unprecedented array of technologies and tech-enabled services to invent a new future for working part time, remaining social, having fun, living at home, and staying healthy and arranging care.”  New industries of home healthcare services, home remodeling and socialization have developed to serve retirees.

Gone are the days when mom and dad are ‘put out to pasture’ at age 65.  Now they wear a watch that monitors their health and activity, and then keeps everyone informed on their status.  With an app from anywhere, their children can see them eating breakfast with a small camera in the kitchen.  Every day, mom and dad can sit in their living room to converse and see their grandchild who lives four states away.

I continue to be amazed at new ideas and the brainstorming of those ideas.  Sometime I think those thinkers are in a different world.  But sometimes I just wonder:  “Who are those guys?”  

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