While contemplating my future and my career-to-be, I can't help but think that anyone choosing a career that centers on the needs of the baby boomers will certainly be in demand. In May I will begin classes at Southern Nazarene University (SNU) to work for my Bachelor's degree in Family Studies and Gerontology. At first, I thought, "Gerontology?!?! Old people?? What am I supposed to study about old people?" And then it occurred to me, if the baby boomers are going to be the up and coming "old people" then this could be really cool! They are a generation like no other. They are made up of people who recognize their power in numbers and make a point to make a difference where need be. They break the rules and the rules get changed. They will not conform. They will not assimilate. They are the ideal free American people. They have pursued the American dream that you can be anything you choose to be and you can achieve anything limited only by your own imagination.
If any generation of senior citizens wanted or needed psychological therapy I think it will be them. Don't get your panties in a wad! Not because they're crazy, insane, or desperately in need of "some serious help dude!" But merely because they are so comfortable with WHO they are that they are not inhibited by the thought of seeking therapy to let them destress from the week's malfunctions and the fact that their children who are fairly young adults are caught up in their own worlds with their children and sports and plays and work and all the things that accompany the world of parenthood, that they don't always have time for their parents. Certainly not like they used to. In a way this should be considered a complement because the boomer's job of parenting is successful if the adult/parenting children don't call to ask for money because they got their lights shut off AGAIN this month and all they've eaten is fried spam sandwiches for a week. It should be a complement in disguise that their children are self-sufficient. They have done a good job being a parent. Now just sit back, don't let your children abuse your willingness, but be the grandma or grandpa that you want to be. Tell your children no if you want to. Spoil your grandchildren if you want to. Have special rules at your house that only apply to your grandkids and your kids just have to deal with it because you are their parents and they have to respect you to set a good example for their children to respect them.
YP Sales & Marketing
Baby Boomers Reach 60, Part 101/12/2006
- The United States experienced an explosion of births after American soldiers returned home from World War II creating what we now call the "Baby Boom" generation. Baby Boomers, an estimated 77 million were born between 1946 and 1964, but most definitions. In 2006 they begin to reach an epic mark they begin turning 60. That further translates into a boomer hitting the age of 60 every seven seconds for the next 19 years. With the baby boomer about to enter their golden years, the concept of what it means to get older will never be the same. Never has
there been a generation so determined to be more youthful and active than their
parents. But reality will inevitably prevail as you can't fight the aging process forever. As with any major society shift many industries such as Yellow Pages will be challenged to stay ahead of the curve in recognizing new trends and opportunities with the Boomers. In part 1 of this 2 part series we take a look at what comes next as Yellow Pages biggest supporters reach this magic age. In this issue we look at the numbers and core demographics. In part 2 which will run next month, we will apply those demographics down to the Yellow Pages product level to understand where the opportunities may be. A New Definition of "Old" Do you remember being a kid and thinking 60 was old? Given that my oldest sibling has now hit 60 (and I'm not that far behind her), well, it doesn't seem
so old anymore does it? Take a look at some of these folks and you'll see a very different demographic that what we traditionally thought was old. But what is the makeup of this generation? The biggest year of the boom was 1957, when 4.3
million boomers were born. Experts don't offer many opinions why it took over 10 years for so many post-World War II families to get going. The ratio of males to females has stayed relatively constant with approximately 1.05 male births for every one female birth.
Source: Baby Boomer Headquarters
The Raw Numbers Successfully projecting boomers' wants, needs, and whims as they move into their 60s and beyond could prove to be a lucrative exercise. Baby boomers account for 42% of all U.S. households and control 50% of all consumer spending, according to a 2002 study by American Demographics magazine. If you open up the age definition to Americans age 50+, the size of this market jumps even further to more than 89 million. That's a whole lot of buying power. Here are some more raw facts on this aging boomer segment: 76.9 - The estimated number of baby boomers, in millions, in the U.S. 26.8 - The percentage of the nation's population made up of baby boomers 51 - The percentage of boomers who are women 16.9 - The percentage of boomers who are minorities 32 - The number of boomers, in
millions, who already are age 50 or older 20 - The percentage of the population
that boomers will make up in 25 years, when they will be ages 66 to 84 45,654 -
Average annual spending, in dollars, by boomer households 7.3 - The poverty
rate, in percent, for boomers in 2000, lower than for any other segment of the population 9 - Number of states (California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas) where more than half of all boomers live 14.2 - The divorce rate, in percent, for boomers 6.7 - The divorce rate, in percent, for the pre-boomer generation, those 65 and older 12.6 - The percentage of boomers who have never married 3.9 - The percentage of those 65 and over who have never married 59 - Percentage of boomers who voted in the 2000
presidential election 88.8 - Percentage of boomers who completed high school
28.5 - Percentage of boomers who have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Source: MetLife Mature Market Institute
Givens First, Baby Boomers have repeatedly shown a tendency to break with the behavior of the generation that preceded them. With some $2 TRILLION in annual spending power, through its sheer size and spending power (even self-indulgence maybe), the generation has given rise to a host of unique fashions, trends, and institutions that are now central to popular culture: Rock 'n' roll music, Working moms, Day care centers, Earth Day, The response to the Vietnam war (and the concept of very public protests), Watergate scandal, Sport-utility vehicles, and now Hybrids, Botox, Shacking up, Amicable divorce, Viagra, and Starbucks. Want to assess the impact on society that Boomers are having? Take a look at this partial list of famous Boomers: Business: Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple), CEO's of General Electric, IBM, and Ford; Hollywood: Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan, Tom Cruise; Comedians: David Letterman and Jay Leno; One word celebs: Oprah, Madonna, Bruce (Springsteen); Sports figures like
Michael Jordon; Political figures such as Rush Limbaugh; Presidents & Presidental wanna-be's: Bill Clinton, George Bush, Al Gore. Here is a complete list of 300 or so famous Boomers (click here). Boomers are more active, more involved than any
generation before them that has reached this age. Inevitably healthcare spending
for this population, which already exceeds $525 billion a year, will be an ongoing issue. Even though today's 60-plus age adults are more fit and active than any previous mature generation, there also will be battling some ongoing medical conditions that can not be ignored: 56 million men and women living with heart disease, 40 million with arthritis, 28 million with osteoporosis, 14 million with diabetes. Financial this generation enters the later stages of their lives with significant disposable financial clout: Over 50% of discretionary spending power - 2.5 times average per capita 80% of personal wealth is in financial institutions
Own over 70% of the financial assets in America Control nearly $9 trillion in net worth of U.S. households - 70% of the total Own almost 50% of the credit cards in the U.S., representing 40 million credit card users All marketers need to understand
a very central concept to reaching the Boomer group --- image is critical to Boomers. They don't consider themselves as being "old" and they don't want people especially advertisers to view them as old either. When you talk to most of them (my sister included), they'll say they feel like 40. Many look younger. To them, "old" is someone in their late 70's or 80's. Gone are the days of ads where 60+ year olds are identified with grey-haired people walking slow. hat is also very different about this generation is that Boomers are expected to live longer than any previous generation. Men who reach age 60 can expect to live 20 more years on average; women who reach 60 can expect to live an additional 23.5 years. But even as they approach 60, Boomers are not past their child rearing/parental care years either. According to the Center for Media Research and a recent PEW Research Center Study, half are raising one or more young children and two in 10 are providing financial assistance to a parent. The most curious part about current marketing efforts to Boomers is that many major advertisers still seemed focused on younger consumers. This despite study after study from MarketResearch.com, showing that the Boomer generation is not set in its ways when it comes to product choices. In fact, the MarketResearch
studies indicate that boomers are actually more receptive to advertising than their Gen X and Gen Y counterparts, who tend to reject marketing claims out of hand. So why aren't advertisers jumping on this trend? These are just some of
the numbers and early trends that have been documented. In part 2 which will run next month we then those demographics down to the Yellow Pages product level to understand where the opportunities may be. Stay tuned.