Say what you want about the glories of growing old--the gaining of wisdom, the drooling of grandbabies, the half-off tickets to matinees of The Bucket List. When it comes to the physical manifestations of advanced years, though, there ain't no euphemizing the indignities. Knees go. Teeth crumble. Ear hairs sprout. Or as Charla Krupp, author of the new best seller How Not to Look Old, puts it, "Aging sucks."
It's worse for baby boomers, who must grow old in full view of their colleagues. AARP says 79% of boomers plan to work into the traditional retirement years--good news for employers facing a shortage of skilled workers, bad news for the condo market in Florida. "One way to stay competitive in the workplace is to look young, hip and current," says Krupp.
Job anxiety is helping drive what analysts estimate is a $50 billion antiaging industry. Boomers are already the largest consumers of hair-coloring products, cosmetic dentistry and plastic surgery. That includes the men too. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says men received 1 out of 10 procedures in 2006. New York City cosmetic surgeon Dr. Neil Sadick says up to a quarter of his patients are male, many of them boomers whose goal is to look good for the office.
Good thing new antiaging remedies never get old. The trick is not to look as though you're trying too hard. "You don't want a man coming in with a bad toupee and lots of makeup," says Lou Kacyn, a partner at global headhunters Egon Zehnder International. So save the leather pants for the weekend Harley ride.