Dr. Joyce: Almost a Million Twitter Followers and 71 Years Young
An interview with
Dr. Joyce Knudsen
Dr. Joyce Knudsen, PhD, is an internationally published author of ten books, a successful entrepreneur, the CEO of The ImageMaker, Inc. Communications Group, and a a social media maven with a massive social network that is closing in on one million people.
She is also the youngest 71-year old I know.
Afflicted in childhood with a vision impediment that prohibits her from driving, Knudsen overcame the limitations put upon her and launched a company that helps others overcome theirs. She helps clients understand and improve the image they project through their appearance, communication style, and behavior. On a deeper level, she helps clients address the self-esteem issues that hold them back: “I think of failure, according to other people’s standards, as a starting point for my path toward even bigger success,” she said, and she coaches her clients to do the same.
Knudsen launched her home-based image consulting business in 1985. She obtained her doctorate at age 54 and started building her social media empire in 2009. These days, she works around-the-clock to keep up with her international clientele and substantial social network. Between Skype calls and social engagements, Knudsen squeezes in time to work on her eleventh book, entitled “Refusing to Quit: True Stories of Women Over 60.” She seems perfectly suited as one of its subjects.
Knudsen strives to make a difference in at least one person’s life every day. She once helped a six-month coma survivor regain her confidence after a traumatic accident, and that client now owns her own business. She also helped another client achieve her goal of becoming the President of the American Veterinarian Association. “If I don’t [help someone] by the time I’m falling asleep…I reach out on social media. I love the interaction,” she said.
The positivity Knudsen espouses is an inspiration to older women who are fast approaching traditional retirement age and will continue to work, either by necessity or by choice. According to a 2014 Transamerica Retirement Survey, more than half (52%) of working women plan to continue working after they retire. Three out of five women over the age of 65 cannot afford to cover their basic needs, which forces them to stay in or return to the workforce indefinitely.
Why are older women so strapped for cash? It seems to come down to one simple fact: women live longer but earn just 78% of what men earn, according to a 2014 report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers. The lingering effects of a recession combined with threats of Social Security benefits cuts make retirement planning difficult, but the truth is, the advantages of working past 60 may exceed the supposed downsides.
Financially, working past the traditional retirement age makes sense. The longer you can hold on to your employer-paid contributions to your 401(k), the better. Continuing to work past 60 means you’re living off a paycheck instead of drawing from your savings, allowing you to continue feeding your retirement funds. Health insurance provided through work can be cheaper than Medicare and provide you with more comprehensive coverage.
But even more than that, science shows that working longer keeps you younger. Ceasing work can be detrimental to your health. Retirement often means participating less in both mental and physical activities, which means both the mind and body begin to deteriorate.
Retirement can also lead to a drop in self-esteem since so many people tie self-worth to their jobs. Combine that with fewer personal interactions with other people on a day-to-day basis, and you have a recipe for loneliness and depression.
Dr. Joyce certainly is not the type of person who lets age limit her goals or allows modern culture to dictate what older generations are capable of doing. She firmly believes that age does not determine a person’s worth in the job market, and workforce studies back her conviction. According to CareerBuilder.com, 54 percent of employers hired workers ages 60+ in 2014, up from 48 percent in 2013. A 2015 AARP study makes the case that mature workers ages 50+ are highly valuable within many organizations — particularly in industries such as healthcare or energy that require highly skilled workers or those with unique skill sets. These older workers scored high marks for listening, writing and communication skills, leadership qualities, and a high level of employee engagement.
To women who may feel inferior because they must work well into their 60s and 70s out of financial necessity, Knudsen would encourage them to look at what might appear to be failure as an opportunity instead. “You can’t think [working past traditional retirement age] is a bad thing, but a step towards success,” she said. “You have to push yourself to keep going, be persistent, and believe in yourself.”
It should come as no surprise that Knudsen doesn’t ever want to stop working. She dismisses the idea of retirement completely. “No, it’s a silly question,” she says. “I have so much fun, and I hope I live long enough to do it all. I’m going to be 100. I want to be one of those centenarians.”
Knudsen’s story is evidence that a thriving work life past 60 is not only possible, but also rewarding. She is one of five entrepreneurs profiled in my free eBook “The Modern Entrepreneur, Secrets to Building a Thriving Business from Home,” which I wrote in collaboration with personal finance community MoneyTips.com. The study found that 97% of successful entrepreneurs who work from home truly enjoy it, making it an attractive option for workers over 60 who still want or need to work.
Winnie Sun is the Managing Director and Founding Partner of Sun Group Wealth Partners, a trusted financial consulting firm providing financial planning services to small business owners, senior executives, celebrities, tech elite, and established families throughout the West Coast. She has appeared on CNBC Closing Bell, Fox Business News, Huff Post LIVE, and is host of the The Renegade Millionaire show, and founder of the TheMillennialStudy.com. Follow her isms on Twitter: @sungroupwp.
Winnie Sun is a registered representative with, and securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Sun Group Wealth Partners, a registered investment advisor and a separate entity from LPL Financial.