Chris Farrell Interview: Push Back on Boomer Stereotypes in Our Economy
Diana Landau | January 12, 2021
Carl interviewed Chris Farrell this week. Chris has an impressive resume: economist, economics editor of Marketplace Money, a radio show host on American Public Media, a radio host on Minnesota Public Radio, and columnist for the Star Tribune and PBS Next Avenue. Chris has also written five best-selling books, most recently Purpose and a Paycheck: Finding Meaning, Money and Happiness in the Second Half of Life.
Chris has studied and reported on economic trends for decades. For years people speculated on the Boomer generation and what would happen as they age.
FACT: Roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers will celebrate their 65th birthday every single day until 2030.
Chris combined scholarly research with firsthand reporting to debunk the popular myth that an aging population is a burden on the economy. Instead, he found that people in the second half of life could be as creative, innovative and entrepreneurial as their younger peers. “The Boomer big shift is to starting a business, as solopreneurs or micropreneurs. They have knowledge, experience, typically they have contacts—and it doesn’t cost much to start a business these days. Whether they are forced to start a business or it’s something they want to do, it’s becoming a significant trend in our economy.”
In his youth, Chris went to Stanford and after graduation became a Merchant Marine, working all over the world for a year before attending the London School of Economics. Carl reminisced about his 20’s in San Francisco and how exciting it was to start up his first magazine. Chris agreed, noting that people need to lighten up on a lot of the young people in their mid-20’s. “You don’t have to decide your career early on. You can experiment, you can shift, and actually most people I know may have had some sort of idea what they wanted to do, but would end up doing something very different.”
Over the course of his career, Chris has been a columnist for Businessweek, The New York Times, Kiplinger's and many others. “One of the things many of us have learned over the course of our careers is what you do—it’s important you enjoy it and like it all and a lot of that comes from the people you are surrounded with; Are they smart, are they engaging, do they care? …..Be around people you want to be with!”
Some of Chris’s tips on contemplating (un) retirement:
1. Carve out some daily time for introspection.
2. Then go to your network and ask them what they think. Your network knows you and cares about you and will help you hone in on your strengths.
3. This is not a “one and done” decision. That never works. Have that experimental mindset.
4. Realize the significance of (un) retirement and entrepreneurship.
“I’m so impressed with how creative people are and what they end up doing,” added Chris. “One of the most heartening economic trends I've seen in our economy is multi-generational start-ups—it’s a wonderful trend.”
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.