You may be familiar with the story of an English businessman who, in the mid-nineteenth century, sent his two best salesmen to Africa to explore the possibility of selling shoes on that continent. After a few days, the first employee sent the following telegram: “No possibility of sales. Nobody wears shoes here.” The second salesman sent a very different telegram: “Fabulous opportunity. They don’t wear shoes here yet.”
It is a similar situation with our ageing population and the demographic transformation of our country. The predominant view is alarmist, focusing on problems and risks: the bankruptcy of the pension system, reduction of the workforce, increase in medical expenditure and a drop in consumption. But there is also another way of approaching the subject and coming up with solutions.
An open and constructive viewpoint
While many only see threats, the Ageingnomics movement is already beginning to make itself felt in public opinion thanks to the way it sees population ageing as a fabulous opportunity. Without forgetting the undeniable challenges that the transformation of the population pyramid poses, the Ageingnomics concept tries to provide an open and constructive viewpoint of the challenges associated with demographic ageing.
The term, which comes from the combination of ageing and nomics (law of), was coined by Fundación MAPFRE and Deusto University to name the process whereby the senior population becomes an engine that drives economic and social development, opening up new opportunities in the spheres of employment, creation, savings and consumption. Going beyond the concept and moving from words to action, the Ageingnomics Research Center is working to put Spain at the forefront of a global strategy in relation to these new opportunities and to disseminate a positive outlook regarding demographic change.
From health to insurance
Health, tourism, finance, insurance, urban planning, housing and the labor market itself will have to be hugely transformed to adapt to the needs of older citizens. In the field of insurance, for example, it will be necessary to change forecasting systems. Personal responsibility in financial planning will be decisive, as well as the more rational distribution of the income that we generate throughout our active life. In this sense, insurance products can be part of the solution.