1.5 billion of them and counting
Ric Edelman: It's Wednesday, March 15th. All this week we're focusing on how the future is changing, particularly the future of society. On Monday, I told you how the institution of marriage is expanding to include polyamorous partnerships. And yesterday I told you how the society of the future will welcome people who have a disability. If you missed either of those shows, go listen.
Today we're going to talk about another aspect of society that's changing - the role of grandparents. More than ever, grandparents are raising our children. There are two reasons for this. First, our grandparents are living long enough to be able to do so. They're not only alive, they're still healthy. And women are having fewer babies than ever. The typical woman today has half as many babies as women did 100 years ago. The result is that we have a lot more grandparents relative to babies than ever.
So today, according to a study by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany, there are now 1.5 billion grandparents in the world, three times more than in 1960. Grandparents are now 20% of the global population. What's the big deal about having more grandparents than ever? The impact is profound. Studies show that children who grow up around grandparents do better in life than kids who don't.
When a grandma is around to help raise the kids - and let's face it, it's usually the grandma helping to raise the grandkids, not the granddad - mom can go get a job that pays a salary. Mom gets to have a career. Grandparents are the patriarchs and matriarchs of families. They command respect. They provide moral guidance to children. They share family traditions. It's not always rosy. Of course, some grandparents are, well, not nice people. And there are two sets of them. And the grandkids sometimes get conflicting messages from one set or the other.
Grandparents are also older. Their ideas or viewpoints might be equally old and out of date as well. And some studies have found that grandparents are far more likely to leave kids near fire hazards or other dangers. One study of kids in the US, UK, China and Japan found that kids who spend a lot of time with their grandparents are more likely to be obese, suggesting that these kids are more likely to be spoiled than other kids.
All that aside, it's not just the kids who benefit from being around their grandparents, it's good for the grandparents to be around the kids. Grandparents who spend time with their grandchildren have lower rates of depression and loneliness, though they'll tell you they're also more likely to be exhausted and frustrated.
Well, whether it's for good or bad, one thing is certain: more than ever, our society is going to be filled with more grandparents and they're going to be more involved in raising the children than ever. This is one of the reasons I'm really excited about one particular ETF, the Global X Aging ETF. The symbol is AGNG. It focuses on investing in companies that are dealing with the fact we have an aging population. And that kind of ETF makes a lot of sense when you consider the grandparents are becoming more and more prevalent. Check out the Global X ETF on Aging. You'll get the link to it in the show notes today or talk about it with your financial advisor. Investing in Aging.
Lastly, do you watch or listen to this podcast, by the way, on YouTube? If so, I encourage you to leave a comment there with your thoughts or questions. I read through them all. You'll find a link to that as well on my YouTube channel in today's show notes.