Joseph Coughlin

Joseph Coughlin is among the world’s leading experts on aging consumers. The MIT AgeLab, which he founded and runs, is very influential globally. He is the author of several bestselling books about aging populations, and writes regularly on this topic for Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. He is an advisor about aging issues to numerous major corporations, including BMW, Colgate, Kimberly Clark, JP Morgan, Marriott, Johnson & Johnson, and Cartier. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to the White House Advisory Committee on Aging, and is a member of the board of directors of AARP.

Joseph Coughlin on Gen Jones:
In a January 2021 article in Forbes about Generation Jones women, Coughlin wrote: “Sadly, Jenny is not alone. She is part of a larger, seemingly invisible, cohort of women. Women caught in between. That is, women nearing retirement that are uniquely caught by time, life stage, conflicting family roles, and socioeconomic conditions —all contributing to unprecedented uncertainty about their futures…Unlike ubiquitous stereotypical images found on retirement brochures of older Baby Boomers strolling beaches and rolling down bike paths, these women are part of an aptly named, seemingly anonymous, Generation Jones that is still very much working and wanting to work…they are caught in between the demands of younger and older generations. They are likely to be the primary caregiver to a partner or spouse — and almost always — the person relied upon by elderly parents and in-laws. Younger Millennial and Generation Z adult children call these women mother, grandmother, and rely on their advice, care, and often their financial support…After years of raising children, many of these women reentered the job market. Before the pandemic the share of women over 55 years old in the workforce outpaced all other age groups. Going back to work is more than a strategy to make up for lost earnings while raising children or to shore up retirement savings, it is about something more. As Jenny recounts her daughter’s remarks, “[you] can’t just sit home.” While all women face challenges in job market, women Jenny’s age are caught in between the double-whammy of ageism and sexism. Research suggests that women in their later 50s and early 60s are not only victims of sexism and ageism, they are also less likely than men to benefit from laws designed to protect against ageism…Women caught in between find themselves navigating an uncertain future — a future that is likely to be living for another 25-30+ years. They are more than pre-retirees, they are fulcrums of multiple generations. They are spouses and partners. They are mentors and sources of support to adult children and grandchildren. They are caregivers to elderly loved ones. They are vital sources of household income. They are drivers of economic productivity. They are key influencers and consumers. Yet, they are seemingly invisible, even forgotten by some. The needs of women caught in between deserve attention and positive action from industry, government, and families today. Recognizing their contributions, and supporting them, supports us all.”

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