Whatever you think of boomers - they are dynamic and creative, no, they are full of themselves and arrogant - there are millions of them, some 77.5 million in America and they control 75% of American wealth. By next year, they will all be in their 50s and 60s. As it is, more than 10,000 boomers are reaching the age of 65 every day. And this is not counting those that live elsewhere in the developed world.
Time for them to seriously consider what to do next!
To think that boomers will go into retirement lying low and spending less is undoubtedly a mistake: they will spend at "boomer levels" says Matt Thornhill of the Boomer Project, one of the two authors of "Boomer Consumer," a book that examines marketing to the baby boomer generation (see article below in the Miami Herald). The other author is John Martin and they have both extensively researched and studied boomers, uncovering key psychological, sociological, and anthropological aspects of this generation. And they have identified ten "new rules" for marketing to today's "Boomer Consumer" which will require a total recast of marketing strategies for an industry used to focusing its marketing efforts on18-49 years old adults.
NBC Peacock Productions, in partnership with AARP and RLTV recently produced a one-hour long documentary exploring boomers' thoughts on their future. As one of them says, I'm 56, but I feel like I'm 18 with a 38 year experience! I love that, it's exactly the way I feel too!
Curious? Click here to see a preview on AARP.org. The documentary was first aired on RLTV on 31 January, but many more broadcasts are planned. Check the RLTV schedule for a time that suits you best. In addition, on Thursday, Feb. 7, you can watch the entire documentary at 8 p.m. ET, followed at 9 p.m. by a "Rethink 50+ Town Hall" discussion hosted by broadcast journalist Jane Pauley. Note: RLTV is available on Verizon FiOS, Comcast Cable, Bright House Networks, Time Warner Cable, and other cable distributors.
I stumbled on this while flipping through the AARP Bulletin I receive in Rome (printed on flimsy, low-cost paper - very environmentally-correct...).
This is the positive way to think about it. There's also, alas, a negative, albeit realistic way to think about it. According to the statistics reported in the ETF article (see below), there is a frightening "retirement crisis" looming up, with too many boomers caught unprepared for retirement with insufficient savings. And that is actually a significant aspect of the on-going demise of the middle class, the slow collapse of the American dream...
But I don't want to leave you on such a sad note. I also came across this uplifting story reported by AARP editor and Pulitzer Prize winner, Jim Toedtman, recounting how his grandfather who had been a speech and drama professor at Otterbein College in Ohio had become the custodian at the college gym in 1950, once he had retired (he was 70). Armed with a mop and bucket, he worked at it for the next 15 years. The story gained national attention and when asked on CBS which job he found more rewarding, he had a wonderful answer, that I want to quote here in full:
" Every age in life has its own compensation, I'm still looking ahead. I don't want to die. There's too much fun in this world and a lot of good folks. A lot of them. And good books to read and fish to catch and pretty women to admire and good men to know. Why, life is a joy!"
As Toedtman writes, "he was ahead of his time". Indeed. He was a boomer ante-litteram! Yes, life is full of joy and good books to read: welcome, Boomer lit!