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Life Part 2


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Boomers needing a better legacy. a major driver of the social capital market as it evolves.

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Life Part 2

  1. 1. Primetime: Baby Boomers at Midlife and Beyond Greg O’Neill, PhD Director National Academy on an Aging Society
  2. 2. The “Boomer Consumer” 5/13/09
  3. 3. Boom and Bust in the Next 10 Years 5/13/09
  4. 4. Primetime for Boomers <ul><li>Boomers – age 45-54 – have the highest pre-tax household income and highest household spending of any age group. </li></ul><ul><li>Boomers spend $2 trillion per year on consumer goods and services. </li></ul><ul><li>In the 1990s, boomers accounted for 50% of all U.S. consumer spending! </li></ul><ul><li>Boomers’ poverty rate is 7.3%—lowest of all age groups. </li></ul><ul><li>Sources: MetLife Mature Market Institute; Consumer Expenditure Survey, McKinsey Global Institute </li></ul>5/13/09
  5. 5. “24”? More Like 48 <ul><li>NBC’s median viewer is 49, ABC’s 48, and CBS’s is 50-plus. </li></ul><ul><li>Median viewer age for 2007-08 programs: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ABC: Lost (44); Ugly Betty (50); Dancing with the Stars (54); </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CBS: CSI Miami (52); 60 Minutes (60) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NBC: Deal or No Deal (54); The Office (38) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fox: American Idol (42); “24” (48) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CW: America’s Next Top Model (28) </li></ul></ul>5/13/09
  6. 6. Fifty on Facebook? 5/13/09
  7. 7. <ul><li>10% of Twitter users are between ages 55 to 64, nearly the same amount as those between 18 and 24 (10.6%) </li></ul><ul><li>5.2% are 65 or older </li></ul><ul><li>Source: comScore, March 2009 </li></ul>? = 5/13/09
  8. 8. The New Shade of Gray <ul><li>Tomorrow’s generation of older adults is different from yesterday’s — and even today’s older adults — in ways other than just demographic size… </li></ul>5/13/09
  9. 9. The New Shade of Gray <ul><li>Higher levels of formal education </li></ul><ul><li>More accumulated wealth </li></ul><ul><li>Women in the labor force and two-earner (and dual pension) families </li></ul><ul><li>Higher percentage of “retired” people who continue to work </li></ul><ul><li>Not just living longer, but more healthy, disability-free longevity </li></ul><ul><li>More racial and ethnic diversity </li></ul>5/13/09
  10. 10. The New “Middle Ages” <ul><li>The Extension of Midlife (30’s – late 70’s) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Longer Working Lives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Virtue and necessity </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Healthy and Active Lives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Unlikely to disengage from lifelong interests and activities </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complex Family Lives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Midlife family roles and relationships will likely extend beyond the middle years (due to later parenthood; remarriage; boomers’ parents longevity) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>5/13/09
  11. 11. The Age Disconnect <ul><li>Boomers over 50, on average, feel 7 to 12 years younger than they are </li></ul><ul><li>Boomers define “over the hill” as over 80 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But young adults (Generation X and Millennials) say 57 is “over the hill”! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sources: AARP, Boomer Project </li></ul>5/13/09
  12. 12. Old Rules No Longer Apply <ul><li>For the last 50 years, age was a good marker for life stage </li></ul><ul><li>But boomers have diverged from the linear life stage path </li></ul><ul><li>Their cyclical lives mean age provides few clues as to their life stage </li></ul>5/13/09
  13. 13. Shades of Gray <ul><li>Question: Which of these descriptors would you </li></ul><ul><li>say relate to your life right now? </li></ul><ul><li>Parent 50% </li></ul><ul><li>Empty Nester 73% </li></ul><ul><li>Grandparent 41% </li></ul><ul><li>Caregiver 28% </li></ul><ul><li>Retired 26% </li></ul><ul><li>New Job 17% </li></ul><ul><li>Child in College 20% </li></ul><ul><li>Child at Home 27% </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Boomer Project National Study, 2004 </li></ul>5/13/09
  14. 14. Life Stage, Not Age <ul><li>Adult life stages that we must recognize, besides work and retirement: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Single (never-married, divorced, widowed) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>One-third of the boomer cohort! (13%, 16%, 3%) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Caregiving </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>34 percent of boomers reported caring for an older parent in 2001, compared to 26 percent in 1998 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grandparent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Average age of a first-time grandparent is 48. An average 30 years of grandparenting ahead of them! </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Source: AARP 1999; 2003 </li></ul></ul>5/13/09
  15. 15. The Four Life Stages <ul><li>Many developmental psychologists believe that people go through four life stages: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Youth: acquire basic physical, intellectual, emotional, and social skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Young adult: focus on social and vocational needs, i.e. “becoming someone.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Middle Age: focus shifts towards self-actualization, i.e., “being someone” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Senior: quest for reconciliation and legacy </li></ul></ul>5/13/09
  16. 16. The New Consumer Majority <ul><li>The boomer generation is now in life’s third quarter—middle age </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Less focus on material things and more on “experiences” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quest for balance, purpose, and life meaning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reality begins to moderate idealism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legacy aspirations emerge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More autonomous, less influenced by peers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Source: Ageless Marketing, 2003 </li></ul></ul>5/13/09
  17. 17. Emotion, Motivation, and Aging <ul><li>Research shows that older adults recall emotional narrative in stories better than rational facts. </li></ul><ul><li>In fact, older adults typically recall twice as many of the emotional components of a story than younger adults. </li></ul>5/13/09
  18. 18. Be Positive! <ul><li>The brain begins to ignore negative concepts, images, and words as we age. </li></ul><ul><li>MRI studies show older and younger adults have similar brain activity when viewing positive images. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the positive linked to longer lives </li></ul>5/13/09
  19. 19. The Mature Mind <ul><li>“ Developmental Intelligence” includes 3 types of thinking that typically improve after age 50: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Relativistic: knowledge is relative/contextual, not absolute </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dualistic: ability to frame opposing views </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Systemic: “big picture” thinking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Source: The Mature Mind, 2005 </li></ul></ul>5/13/09
  20. 20. Boomers: United <ul><li>Authenticity </li></ul><ul><li>Self-improvement, reinvention </li></ul><ul><li>New collectives (physical, social, virtual) to meet individual needs and mitigate individual risks </li></ul><ul><li>Health, wholeness, wellness </li></ul><ul><li>Meaning and purpose </li></ul>5/13/09
  21. 21. <ul><li>“In most other industries, if a business found an audience segment that huge and underserved, and decided to target them, they’d be lauded as forward-thinking.” Source: Network executive quoted in “Nielsen Finds Audiences are Aging: 55-plus Age Bracket is Fastest-Growing Demo.” Variety, 8/29/08. </li></ul>5/13/09