Boomers have always done things their way, so why should it be any different in retirement. Over 71 million baby boomers make them the second largest generational group right behind Millennials, which number at about 72 million. They are more educated and diverse than previous generations, and they have a considerable amount of aggregate spending power. Combined with the fact that they live longer and lead more active lives, they set their own rules for retirement. Those in the business of catering to seniors will need to evolve their strategy and meet this generation’s unique expectations. FirstLantic explores five ways Boomers are remaking what it means to ‘retire.’
- They are working longer. Many boomers choose to reinvent themselves by working part-time, consulting, or even starting their own business. Rather than playing golf at the club full-time, they are finding fulfillment in continuing to work. Part of this is due to necessity and the fact that they will need income during retirement longer than previous generations. However, they have also worked hard over their career, and they have the skills to share, so most are not interested in giving that up completely.
- They are leading active lives. Whether traveling, taking a class, participating in sports, or attending cultural events, this is a generation that does not sit still. They want to enjoy their golden years by exploring and continuing to learn and grow.
- Boomers want to age in place. Many want to live in their own home for as long as possible and enjoy life on their own terms. If they need some assistance, they will most likely hire someone to come in to help with household chores or transportation.
- They don’t want to be treated like they’re old. Boomers are tired of ageist beliefs and behaviors. Don’t even try to call most women in their fifties ‘mam’ or ‘dear,’ or you may get an earful. They don’t want to be marginalized just because they are a few years older. Boomers are independent thinkers, and they have been raised to go after what they want, and they don’t want to feel like life is finished simply because they are aging.
- Boomers don’t want to be disconnected from the rest of society. Many boomers choose to move back into cities so they can be close to restaurants, cultural activities, and within walking distance of amenities. They don’t want to wall themselves off from other generations either. That means that communities catering to boomers may want to rethink more about where and how they are built and consider incorporating multi-generational living options.
The bottom line is that boomers choose to live their lives after 50 very differently, which means there are opportunities for businesses to meet them on their terms. They are not ready to wind down or be forcefully moved out of the way. And there are numerous examples of boomers that are at their peak well into their fifties, sixties, and seventies. Just take a look at Meryl Streep, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, or Oprah Winfrey – all boomers and all at the top of their game.
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