Aging Boomers Have Come A Long Way Baby
Summary: How baby boomers have been spending their time and money over the past 50-60 years has continued to grow and expand since they were kids. The boomers have demanded products and services specific to them, and those items have appeared as quickly as they can be produced. The baby boomers have made huge demands in the marketplace pretty much since the day they were born. Companies have realized that they must keep step to satisfy the needs of this massive population. The following is a composite of what boomers have done, and how they are spending their hard-earned cash today.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed as of late, that the face of marketing has been undergoing a vast metamorphosis, due to the aging baby boomer population.
These changes have all been brought on by the buying power and demands of the Baby Boom generation. They have the money, they have the time, and they want products and services to match all their desires and needs.
Boomers fall into a category of being one of the wealthiest groups on earth. According to Life Stages Retirement Guide, Nova Scotia - here are some surprising facts of the wealth of our Canadians over 50:
- 1. The 50 Plus group spends over $35 Billion a year!
- 2. People over 50+ are the wealthiest segment in Canada
- 3. They control over 50% of all money in savings accounts
- 4. They own 80% of the wealth in financial institutions
- 5. They own 50% of credit cards
- 6. They buy 41% of all new cars and 50% of all luxury cars
- 7. They account for 80% of all luxury travel
But, the facts don’t stop there. Life Stages Retirement Guide’s research indicates that 50+ Canadians own or use –
- 61% own mutual funds
- 41% have RRSPs
- 54% have investments outside of RRSPs
- 49% own stocks
- 50% own investment in real estate
- 64% use a full service broker
- 53% use a financial planner
Surprised? You shouldn’t be, the buying power of this generation has developed in a way which has caused the world to change right along with it. It not only shows the power of the way boomers spend their money, it opens doors for many companies to develop new products and services for what boomers really want.
It’s no secret that when the Boomers were kids and the invention of the television became their favorite media; they chose to learn about the world in front of a TV set. The cusp of advertising hadn’t even found its footing or positioning with this new media.
Before too long, manufacturers were whipping up products, such as toys and clothing, which drove the boomers into a buying frenzy. Everything from hula-hoops to Davy Crockett hats where flying off the shelves in every department store; they couldn’t keep enough in stock for the demand. The boomers loved it all and came back for more.
This boom of children born created more and more opportunities for thousands of businesses that had access to what was popular. Kids watching TV saw things that they wanted to mimic in real life.
The Boomers watched cowboy shows and wanted hats and toy guns; they watched Mickey Mouse Club House and had to have the beanie hat with mouse ears. And when Walt Disney opened up Disneyland…well, you know that story.
The interest in ‘all things boomer’ became a mantra for manufacturers. They had to keep up the hectic pace with competitors at their heels, and it was brutal; but oh the profits that were made.
During their early teen years, Baby Boomers could not quench their thirst for the hottest items available. The guys loved their T-Shirts, jeans and crew cuts; the girls loved their poodle skirts and bobby socks, with their famous saddle shoes. And ELVIS!
By the 1960’s, things changed a lot for the growing boomers. Mini skirts, go-go boots, ‘flower power’ , The Beatles and ‘Muscle Cars’ were the rage. But, they were growing up so quickly; they were planning either for college or they had jobs.
Almost everyone worked anyway; part-time jobs were the norm for any active teenager. They were still trying to find their own independence. There were ample jobs for everyone. The marketplace was booming, the parents invested and saved; meanwhile boomer kids had cash in their pockets and they didn’t mind spending it. The era of the baby boomers was flying high.
Many boomers also married young. Many met in university, or married childhood sweethearts, and started their families. Many boomers weren’t what you would call rich, but middle class was still a time when you could own a car, buy a house and raise your kids in a reasonably nice area. It was still the Canadian and American dream.
When the first wave of Baby Boomers hit 55 in 1990-1991, they slipped into high gear with retirement. The boomers born in 1945 and 1946 were the beginning of this huge tsunami that stormed across both the United States and Canada.
As they aged it didn’t take long for those that had been in jobs for 25 or 30 years to realize that they were at the start of retirement. For those who have company and, government pensions and homes; along with products such as RRSPs, RRIFs, LRIF’s and/or Annuities retirement should find life to be very comfortable.
Along with many changes in the fold of the nuclear family, and the boomers have found themselves getting older and their needs keep changing. Did we say “We will never grow old”?
Perhaps that old phrase meant that our booming childhood and ‘live forever’ lives would sustain us. We were determined that we could stop the ticking clock. Did we believe that our Rock and Roll attitudes and sometimes “Flower Child Dreams” would stop us from aging too?
And just look at the number of potions and creams you will find if you walk into any department store and take a tour around the cosmetic counter. You’ll find that we are still trying to stop the aging process. The anti-aging products and lotions are making billions worldwide. Everything you can imagine from soap to foot cream is promising the fountain of youth. However, I think the majority of us know instinctively that it’s not possible to stop the aging process; but we don’t mind spending another few hundred dollars just in case there is one that might magically appear.
Along with anti-aging products, boomers also love to spend money on travel, engage in sports such as boating, fishing and golf. They love their pets, grandchildren and hobbies. They love the finer things in life such as motorcycles, classic or antique cars (the ones they couldn’t afford as young boomers), jewellery, furniture, electronics…and the list goes on and on: bigger toys for bigger boys and girls. Nothing has changed for them, except the price tags.
Today's boomer seniors are also catching on to the internet and are spending thousands of dollars a year on computers, printers, smart phones and tablets. And they aren't slowing down. Many love ordering products online and have items delivered right to their doors on a regular basis.
Baby Boomers are buying millions of dollars worth of products and services every single day! The generation that refuses to age is a massive sector of both the Canadian and American economies and this generation is one that they depend on to a very huge extent.
Grey Power is a force to be reckoned with and as a business owner, if you ignore this segment of the population you are doing yourself a huge disservice. It’s no secret that boomers also have huge voting power because of their numbers. As elders now, they expect politicians to make sure that as they reach pinnacle of their years in reasonably good health. They are going to need more medical care and suitable housing that lets them grow old gracefully.
If you own a business that has any affiliation with the medical profession, you stand to earn millions as boomers reach the critical ages of 75-90. They will demand health and medical products quickly and you had better be prepared for the wave or you'll be left behind.
Have you noticed that ‘nursing homes’ have changed drastically over the years. Seniors can live in beautiful apartments now that also house medical staff and lavish dining rooms that rival some of the country’s finest restaurants
That said, the most important WANT to Canadian boomers, is good health care. They demand that tax dollars that they have paid into all these years had better be there when they need it! However, as the aging boomers are finding now, it is because of our large demographics that we have a longer wait times than many other comparable world countries.
Canada’s bureaucrats are especially is in the hot seat on this demand; because even though we boast about our FREE healthcare in Canada, we are taxed to the max on everything to continue offering free health care to this large segment of the aging population. And, like it or not, we will continue to affect Canada’s health care system over the next 20 to 30 years. But, of course that’s another story. I’ll save that little rant for another time.
I do hope that all you fellow boomers are enjoying your retirement though…because you’ve definitely earned it. And there’s still a lot of spunk in the oldsters yet! Now, what do you ‘want’ to do (or buy) today???