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Ken Dychtwald      

Founder & CEO of Age Wave; Gerontologist & Expert on Aging-Related Issues

Ken is a psychologist, gerontologist, and best-selling author of 16 books on aging-related issues, including Bodymind; Age Wave: The Challenges and Opportunities of an Aging Society; Age Power: How the 21st Century Will Be Ruled by the New Old; The Power Years: A User’s Guide to the Rest of Your Life; Healthy Aging; Workforce Crisis: How to Beat the Coming Shortage of Skills and Talent; Gideon’s Dream: A Tale of New Beginnings and A New Purpose: Redefining Money, Family, Work, Retirement, and Success. He was the executive producer and host of the highly rated/acclaimed PBS documentary, The Boomer Century: 1946–2046.

Since 1986, Ken has been the Founder and CEO of Age Wave, a firm created to guide companies and government groups in product/service development for boomers and mature adults. His client list has included over half the Fortune 500, and his explorations and innovative solutions have fertilized and catalyzed a broad spectrum of industry sectors—from pharmaceuticals and medical devices, to automotive design and retail merchandising, to financial planning and health insurance.

He has served as a fellow of the World Economic Forum and was a featured speaker at two White House Conferences on Aging. Ken has twice received the distinguished American Society on Aging Award for outstanding national leadership, and American Demographics honored him as the single most influential marketer to baby boomers over the past quarter century. His article in the Harvard Business Review, “It’s Time to Retire Retirement,” was awarded the prestigious McKinsey Award, tying for first place with the legendary Peter Drucker. PBS Next Avenue named him a 2016 Influencer in Aging for his work pushing beyond traditional boundaries and changing our understanding of what it means to grow older. Ken was honored by Investment Advisor as one of the 35 most influential thought leaders in the financial services industry over the past 35 years. Ken and his wife, Maddy, recently received the Esalen Prize for their outstanding contributions to advancing the human potential of aging men and women worldwide. He was also awarded the Inspire Award from in the International Council on Active Aging for his exceptional and lasting contributions to the active-aging industry and for his efforts to make a difference in the lives of older adults globally.

During his career, Ken has addressed more than two million people worldwide in his speeches to corporate, association, social service, and government groups. His strikingly accurate predictions and innovative ideas are regularly featured in leading print and electronic media worldwide and have garnered more than ten billion media impressions.

In addition to his role at Age Wave, he is deeply involved in numerous activities for the public good including serving as the Chairman of the Alzheimer’s XPRIZE which he co-envisioned with XPRIZE Founder Dr. Peter Diamandis in 2012. The Alzheimer’s XPRIZE team is now preparing to globally crowdsource a new 21st century approach to ending Alzheimer’s disease.

Speech Topics


Suggested Programs

With Purpose: Going from Success to Significance in Work and Life

Success can be looked at from different perspectives at different points in our lives. As a child, it had a lot to do with pleasing our parents. In our teens, it may have been about academic achievement and popularity with our peers. As a working adult, success is often represented by the challenge of simultaneously creating a blossoming family and burgeoning career. In recent years, there's been an enormous focus on material gain. But what comes next? What should be the right balance between the "Dow" and the "Tao?" Is it too late to have new dreams, go back to school, re-ignite your career, fall in love again, become a philanthropreneur, reinvent yourself, and maybe even help change the world? This powerful new presentation rethinks adulthood, relationships, work and retirement, explores the purpose of life's new third act and answers the question: what is the new model of success?

Retirement Wake-Up Call: The Future of Financial Services

How has today's financial crisis altered the relationship between client and financial advisor? Based on research findings from numerous highly acclaimed Age Wave studies on retirement and financial services, this presentation sheds light on which aspects of the financial services industry are dying and which are coming alive. It outlines the "new" retirement-related needs, worries, and aspirations - and how financial services firms and advisors can re-establish trust with the wary public. Meet the "Ageless Explorers," the "Comfortably Contents," the "Live for Todays" and the "Sick and Tireds." Learn how each group feels about their lives, their prospects for fulfilling their hopes and dreams for retirement and what role financial planning, employer support and/or government policies have played in getting them to where they are today. This presentation also covers how the emerging adult lifestage demands of careers, parenthood, eldercare, grandparenthood, singlehood, disability and rehirement will affect savings and retirement funding.

Power Shift: How Women's Rising Power will Change the World

Now, more than ever, the role of women in defining and driving business is paramount. Women already control more than 50% of all consumer spending. They are being educated in higher numbers than men and are now, for the first time in history, employed in higher numbers than men. While many of today's women stand strong when wielding earning power, many still slump in their financial confidence, long-term financial decision-making skills, economic control and investment power. The final frontier for women in the gender revolution will be gaining muscle and control over their money. Based on groundbreaking findings from Age Wave's landmark research study "Women, Money, and Power," this presentation reveals important new insights on women and their relationship to money. It provides an illuminating and in-depth look at women's motivations, fears, and challenges around money, saving, and spending and shows how to most effectively target their needs and hopes.

How the Age Wave Will Transform the Marketplace - and Our Lives

This visionary presentation offers deep insights into the global population shifts that are occurring and what they mean for business and marketers. How might increasing longevity and declining fertility impact societies, economies, families and individual lives? Do people want to live traditional "linear" or more flexible "cyclic" lives and how does that alter brand loyalty? How will the "age wave" impact the consumer marketplace and which sectors and products will shrink and which will grow: from vitamins and nutraceuticals, cookies to lifetime income insurance and anti-aging healthcare, and from adventure travel to edutainment. Which industries - and countries - are hopeful about their "age wave" prospects and which are fearful? This presentation outlines how companies should orient their branding and marketing to best resonate with the new generation of "middlescent" adults. Dr. Ken Dychtwald will also provide a list of "key marketing lessons" from 35 years on the front lines - that can be applied by marketers across industries.

The Longevity Revolution: The Future of Health and Healthcare

This sweeping presentation provides a visionary glimpse into the future of the body, health and healthcare. How long might we live? Will our later years be a time of health and vitality or illness and disability? Are we heading toward "Shangri-la" or "Gerassic Park?" How far will we go in our pursuit of the "fountain of health?" What are the new frontiers of medicine - from genomics, anti-aging therapies, therapeutic cloning and virtual surgery to pharmaceuticals, cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals. How might they be used to combat the diseases of aging? What role will consumer empowerment and self-care play in the new healthcare marketplace? This presentation previews how rising longevity, the aging of the population, and increasingly self-empowered consumers are converging to transform nearly every aspect of our healthcare system-from professional training and geriatric competency to IT, from facility design to service delivery, from high tech to self-care.

Four Generations Rethink Work, Retirement and Sucess

We are living in the midst of unprecedented demographic, economic and social changes that impact nearly every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Increasing longevity and insufficient savings mean that older workers will be working longer and shrinking their retirement. Mid-career workers are trying to reboot their enthusiasm for a longer and more demanding worklife as they simultaneously try to fund their future retirement. Young workers are struggling to enter the workforce during tough economic times. What makes each of the four working generations tick - and perform at their best? What are they looking to get from - and give to - their jobs? How will they measure success in this new era? This presentation will explore these issues while showing how to retain and attract valuable talent and enhance productivity through programs such as: creative use of flexible work arrangements, innovative learning and mentoring opportunities, sabbaticals, retraining, re-careering, flex-retirement and creative compensation and benefits programs.

The New Experiential Marketplace

At this moment in history - with so many fears and worries - there is a deepening appreciation for the immeasurable value of great times with friends and loved ones, the satisfaction of continued personal growth and lifelong learning and the excitement of encountering new people, places and cultures. In addition, fueled by the dual liberations of empty nesting and retirement, tens of millions of men and women are beginning to enjoy more free time than at any other point in their lives. These forces are causing a massive shift in interest from a desire to purchase "things" to an unquenchable appetite for new, exciting, stimulating and challenging "experiences." Learn how this change will transform the consumer marketplace and give birth to a new assortment of travel, leisure, recreation, rejuvenation, entertainment, infotainment, housing, volunteering and lifelong learning industries.

Re-Visioning Retirement: New Timing, New Purpose, New Planning, New Funding

Everyone's retirement clock has been reset as a result of the recession. But highly acclaimed Age Wave research reveals a surprising finding: This could be a good thing, for individuals, the consumer marketplace and financial planning professionals.

This presentation will explore: Why financial "peace of mind" has become far more important than "wealth" in the new American dream. How women's rising financial power is transforming their attitudes and behavior toward money, their family dynamics, and the field of retirement planning.

How the adult lifestage demands of eldercare, sibling care, grandparenthood, singlehood, and rehirement will dramatically impact retirement preparation and funding. We'll also discuss the products, services, and guidance people now seek from financial professionals to safeguard a successful retirement while avoiding the five retirement "wildcards" that could shatter their dreams.

The Cure for Our Aging Healthcare System

Whether we live long lives with vitality and purpose or sickness and suffering will depend to a great extent on our ability to reshape the skills, services, and incentives of our current healthcare system. This new presentation provides a visionary glimpse into the future, outlining the critical course corrections required to create healthy aging and productive longevity.

Topics to be covered include: Why we must accelerate the scientific breakthroughs needed to prevent, delay, and eliminate the horrific diseases of aging (such as Alzheimer's); why training healthcare professionals to become "aging-ready" will both saves lives and money; how the boomers' proclivity toward control, self care, and connectivity can help make disease prevention and self care a national priority; how new technologies and emerging community-based services can enable us to shift the healthcare focus from hospitals and nursing facilities to home-based care; why establishing a humane and dignified approach to end-of-life care has reached a critical tipping point.

A New Agenda for 21st-Century Aging: Seven Critical Course Corrections Needed for a Century of Successful Aging

Will the aging of America prove to be a triumph or a tragedy? Based on 35-plus years at the crossroads of demography, gerontology, healthcare, and business, Ken Dychtwald provides a big-picture presentation designed to inform, startle, provoke, and motivate us toward the seven critical course corrections needed for a century of successful aging.

Questions to be asked—and answered: Is the longevity revolution over—or is it just beginning? Can our country afford to have tens of millions of us living to 80, 90, or even past 100? Are older adults an asset or a liability? How will boomers age differently than their parents? When does old age begin—and should old-age benefits be indexed to advancing longevity? How must our current healthcare system change to manage the onslaught of boomers and their chronic degenerative diseases? Is retirement obsolete? What should be the new purpose of maturity? Are we becoming a political gerontocracy? Are our leaders capable of distributing limited government resources fairly among many generations, each with its own distinct needs, styles, fears, expectations, and political priorities?

Optimizing Generational Diversity: Four Cohorts Rethink Work, Money, Family, Retirement & Success

For the first time in history, four generations of active adults are simultaneously participating in the workforce and marketplace. Each has its own lifestyle values, attitudes about work and money, means of connecting and communicating, role models, and marketplace preferences.

This high-impact presentation will examine: What key social forces have shaped each generation and produced their distinct, core lifetime characteristics? What does each generation hope to get from—and give to—their jobs/careers? How do you manage and motivate each generation, from "encore" workers seeking stimulation and self-worth, to older workers looking for balance and purpose, to mid-career workers trying to reboot their enthusiasm for a longer and more demanding worklife, to young workers struggling to enter the workforce during tough economic times. How does each measure success?

This presentation can focus on how to attract and retain valuable talent and enhance productivity through the creative use of flexible work arrangements, innovative learning, mentoring and sponsoring opportunities, sabbaticals, retraining, re-careering, flex-retirement, and creative compensation and benefits programs. Alternatively, it can orient toward the most effective ways to reach out to—and connect with—Millennials, Gen Xers, Boomers, and members of the Silent Generation.

What is the New Vision for 21st Century Aging?

The 20th century is over—and most solutions to 20th century aging don’t work anymore. Are we prepared for the coming age wave? Can our country afford to have tens of millions of us living to 80, 90 or even 100+? Will existing entitlement programs survive long enough for young generations to reap even part of what they have been paying in? Can our current healthcare system handle the onslaught of chronic degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s? What should the role of medical science play in wiping out late life diseases? Who are the emerging role models of the new aging? Are our leaders capable of distributing limited government resources fairly among many generations, each with its own distinct needs, styles, fears, complaints, expectations and political priorities? This visionary presentation will explore both the problems that the age wave brings—and their five interlocking solutions.

How the Modern Family Is Transforming Aging, Retirement and Community

We are all familiar with families like the Cleavers or the Simpsons—Dad, Mom, and 2.5 kids happily living under one roof in the suburbs. But over the past 100 years, significant demographic and economic changes have dramatically transformed the American familyand communities across the country. We no longer live in a world where most people are the member of a “nuclear family.” How is today’s modern family—or post-nuclear family—different? How do—and will—family changes impact health and care needs, the workforce, housing, legacy, leisure, social services, and financial planning? What are the implications for businesses and aging service providers? How do we navigate the potentially complicated relationships and compelling challenges faced by modern families in retirement and later life, such as blending families together and bridging the miles between relatives living in faraway communities? This presentation covers four trends that, in concert, have transformed and continue to profoundly influence today’s families: Unprecedented longevity, family complexity, financial interdependence, and women’s rising influence.

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