According to the MetLife Mature Market Institute, boomers born in 1946 don’t think they’ll be “old,” thank you very much, until about age 78. “The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is thinking that a boomer’s age will indicate where they are in life,” says Matt Thornhill, president of marketing consulting firm Boomer Project. “For boomers, age is just a number.”
Instead, businesses will find more success appealing to boomer life stages or lifestyles: empty nesters, singles, grandparents and so on.
• 1 of 3 boomers is a single head of household.
• 16 percent are divorced or separated; 12 percent never married; 4 percent are widowed.
• Of America’s 70 million grandparents, 50 percent are boomers.
• Average age of boomer grandparents: 53.
70 percent feel they have a responsibility to make the world a better place; 57 percent buy from companies that give back; 54 percent buy green brands. (Source: Focalyst)
BETWEEN 2005 AND 2006:
11% of surveyed employers eliminated health benefits for a group of future early retirees.
9% did the same for a group of future Medicareeligible retirees.
(Source: The Kaiser Family Foundation)
That boomers often aren’t just planning for retirement, but also tending to their parents’ care and their children’s tuition, creates a need for onestopshop advisory services like Longevity Alliance, which offers boomers counsel in both longterm care and financial planning. “Our business is built on the idea that people haven’t really sorted through the impact of longer life expectancy,” says CEO Steve Zaleznick,who adds,“It’s become hard for many people to picture living off their investments for 30 years, so work is an important component of what used to be retirement. For many, that means starting new careers and launching businesses that, in turn, will need advisory services.”
Boomers have enough stuff. Now they want meaningful experiences—the kind you get while traveling, say, to the Galapagos Islands with your grand kids.“The pace of life is such that it’s difficult for boomer grandparents to make meaningful connections with their grandchildren,” says Tom Easthope, 50, whose sixfigure Generations Touring Co. in Seattle offers intergenerational trips to exotic locales. Boomer tourism will continue to boom, says the company’s founder and president, especially in niche travel: university alumni, volunteer groups and singles.
“It’s not as though boomers think they can turnback the clock. But they do hope to slow it down.”
–Matt Thornhill, president, Boomer Project
9.1% of boomers say they’ll pay whatever it takes to look younger.
(Source: Packaged Facts)
In addition to giving the cosmetics biz a shot in the . . . crow’s feet, boomers are driving what marketing researcher SharpBrains estimates is a $225 million brain fitness software market. “When you ask people how long they want to live, most say they want to live as long as they have their minds,” says Jan Zivic, 66, who cofounded VibrantBrains in 2007 with CEO Lisa Schoonerman, 41. The San Franciscobased “brain gym” offers computerbased workouts for improved cognitive functioning. “You come heretotone your brain—just as physical fitness tones your body,” says Zivic, who projects a 30 percent increase in sales this year and is poised to open a second location in the Bay Area next month.