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Four Ways Your Wrong About Boomers

I am very proud to have received this great review from the National Association of Realtors for my book, The Grandparent Economy: How Boomers Are Bridging the Generation Gap. Following is the blog:

It seems everywhere you turn these days there’s some new diatribe against the generational focus of commentaries on society. It’s boomers attacking millennials attacking boomers… Heck, we even played an April Fool’s joke based on the trend a couple of weeks ago.

As someone who’s always bristled at generational stereotypes, I’m cheering those who are finally agreeing we need to stop playing the millennials vs. boomers card in the media (as no one talks about generation x anymore, that needn’t be halted of course). But as I was working on the upcoming feature for our May/June issue about how brokers are attracting the next generation of real estate pros, I found myself unable to avoid the term “millennial.”

Is your image of grandparents woefully outdated? Photo: bandini, Morguefile.

Are your ideas of grandparents woefully outdated? Photo: bandini, Morguefile.

That’s when I realized it has nothing to do with the terms; it’s the inaccurate stereotypes everyone should be finished with. And that’s why I really liked Lori K. Bitter’s The Grandparent Economy: How Baby Boomers Are Bridging the Generation Gap (Paramount Market Publishing, Inc., 2015). Not only is she seeking to help business owners and marketers better understand the boomer generation through the lens of grandparenthood using actual data, but she also busts a fair amount myths about boomers and grandparents in the process. Among them:

  1. Age and aversion to technology: Bitter says if you do an image search on grandparents in Google you’ll likely see “cartoon caricatures of couples with gray buns, sagging bellies and boobs, and canes… In reality, only 20 percent of grandparents are 75 or older.” She also points out that grandparents not only outspend other generations in traditional shopping environments, but they also “are outspending younger consumers two to one online… and they account for one in four mobile transactions.”
  2. Multi-gen housing as a temporary reaction to recession. Bitter, who was raised by her grandparents, points out that humans have been living with several generations under one roof since the beginning of civilization, and in many cultures around the world, it’s more common than it currently is in the United States. But as we become increasingly multicultural, it’s important to examine our biases and look at the facts: 2.7 million grandparents are raising small children on their own, and that doesn’t encompass the many who are sharing the task of raising children with the kids’ biological parents. She also points out that, far from being temporary, the trend will probably grow as people are living longer, and notes that grandfamilies occur in every area of the country and represent all income levels, races, and ethnicities.
  3. Midlife crises. Rather than fearing their advancing age, boomers are becoming less concerned with numbers as they mature. Bitter says this is the beginning of wisdom, or “the centered sense of the timelessness of all things.” She suggests thinking of marketing in the same way you might universal design: If you create something that can be used by anyone, it will be appreciated by everyone.
  4. The “Me Generation.” Bitter shows how the common trope of younger generations being full of themselves goes astray: All young people project that sort of bravado to a certain extent. “The images of self-entitled, self-centered, and materialistic boomers do not sit well, and the majority of those surveyed believe advertisers and reporters frequently get it wrong. From a developmental perspective self-involvement and materialism are features of a striving lifestyle typical of younger adults, which would be accurate for any generation, not just the Baby Boom.”

Though this isn’t a book specifically about real estate, Bitter includes numerous examples of housing communities that are successfully meeting the needs of this new batch of grandparents. And she clearly thinks highly of REALTOR® outreach to consumers: “Has an ad ever brought a tear to your eye? …Fast forward to the recent ads by the National Association of REALTORS® about the ‘American Dream of home ownership’ featuring a grandfather and his grandson. Mature consumers appreciate the art of a story well told.”

Now that’s a stereotype I think we can all live with.

Meg White

Meg White is the multimedia web producer for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine’s Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]realtors.org.

 

What is Retirement in the 21st Century – Does It Include Work?

By Gregg M. Lunceford, Doctoral Student – Case Western Reserve University

In 2011 America’s Baby Boomer’s began turning age 65 a rate of approximately 10,000 people per day[i]. Historically age 65 has been the milestone at which many people retire. Dictionary.com defines retirement as “the act of leaving one’s job, career, or occupation permanently, usually because of age”. This classic definition was more appropriate when retirement systems were created in the early 20th century to provide income for aging employees with diminishing work skills. When the Social Security Act of 1935 was drafted the average life expectancy for men and women were ages 58 and 62 respectively[ii]. By 2013 the average life expectancy for men and women in the U.S. increased to ages 76 and 81 respectively[iii].

Our increased longevity and improved health now allows for a wider range of lifestyle options therefore retirement is taking on new meaning. For many, retirement has become a career transition that includes work on different terms in the same profession, or the beginning of a new career[iv]. Work with flexible structures has led to “win-win” situation for retiring workers and employers as they recognized several benefits from working beyond retirement age. First, many individuals benefit from the socialization and feelings of accomplishment that come from work. Forty percent of individuals who completely retire from the workplace suffer from clinical depression and 6 out of 10 report a decline in health[v]. For many, work provides an outlet to continue to thrive and improve their well-being. Second, working in retirement allows many employers to maintain valuable knowledge individuals have developed over 30-40 year careers. Such individuals are often valuable mentors and can assist with succession planning and the training of younger employees in the workforce. Finally, Baby Boomers represent the largest cohort in the workplace. The complete exit of all them from the workforce at age 65 has the potential to create a human resource gap and limit overall productivity. The retention of Baby Boomers may help many organizations improve their productivity and become more competitive.

Given the overall benefits, it is important that society better understand what factors may predict an individual’s intent to work in retirement. In 2015, a study was conducted on retirement work intention[vi]. In the study 227 working individuals, of which 93% were age 50 or older, were surveyed to see what factors contributed to their decision to work in retirement. Our research showed that a person’s confidence in their ability, willingness to be adaptable and belief that they will have meaningful opportunities for work in retirement were all predictors of their intent to work in retirement.

Retirement has evolved and no longer means the complete exit from the workforce. Work with flexible options is becoming a rewarding lifestyle option for many retirees. Careful reflection on what activities will provide happiness and fulfilment should be considered in the retirement planning process and may lead to greater success in retirement.

[i] Synder, M. 2010, December 30. In 2011 The baby boomers start to turn 65: 16 statistics about the coming retirement crisis that will drop your jaw. End of The American Dream [online].

[ii] http://www.demog.berkeley.edu/~andrew/1918/figure2.html

[iii] http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus14.pdf#016

[iv] Kim, J. E., & Moen, P. 2001, June 3. Is retirement good or bad for subjective well being. Current Directions in Psychologicial Science, 10: 83–86.

[v] Sahlgren, G. H. 2013. Work longer, live healthier: The relationship between economic activity, health and government policy. Institute of Economic Affairs: Discussion Paper #46

[vi] Lunceford, G. M. (2016, January). Retirement Values: What Factors Influence the Decision to Work in Retirement. Unpublished Doctoral Study at Case Western Reserve University . Cleveland, OH.

Unexpectedkindness is themost powerful,least costly, andmost underratedagent of humanchange

Gregg Lunceford, CFP® is a 24 year veteran in the financial services industry. Mr. Lunceford specializes in wealth management and works with clients on financial, estate and retirement planning issues. He currently, is a doctoral student at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, and is studying how individuals make career transitions to retirement. Mr. Lunceford holds a MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, and a BBA from Loyola University of Chicago.

Email: gml56@case.edu

 

 

 

 

 

13th ANNUAL WHAT’S NEXT BOOMER SUMMIT COMES TO THE NATION’S CAPITAL , MARCH 23, 2016

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Nation’s Leading Conference Brings Together Boomer Marketing Experts and Industry Leaders to Focus on “Seizing the Opportunity of the Longevity Economy”

Washington, D.C. plays host to the 2016 What’s Next Boomer Business Summit, the nation’s leading annual conference for the boomer and senior markets. Taking place on Wednesday, March 23rd at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, the upcoming summit shines a spotlight on “Seizing the Opportunity of the Longevity Economy” and includes a prestigious lineup of speakers, sessions, and exhibitors. Learn More →

Lori’s Interview with Barry Moltz on Business Insanity Radio

I was recently interviewed by Barry Moltz on Business Insanity Talk Radio. You can listen here:

 

Reaching the Seasoned Traveler at the Educational Travel Conference, Jan. 19-22 in Orlando, FL

Later this week I’ll be at the The Educational Travel Conference (ETC), Jan. 19-22 in Orlando, Florida. ETC is the founding conference for Alumni, Museum, Zoo, Conservation, and Nonprofit Educational Travel. It hosts 450 delegates who are a highly-qualified international group of nonprofit travel planners, suppliers, specialty tour operators and destinations. They assemble to focus on the development, operation and marketing of group educational, experiential and affinity travel worldwide.

I am looking forward joining Kathy Dragon, Doris Gallan and Heather Hardwick Rhodes for several agenda sessions there on Friday Jan. 20:

  • Going Past 40: How Today’s Baby Boomers are Traveling and Making their Buying Decisions, 9:30 – 10:50 a.m.
  • Boomer Product Development: Go Broader, Go Deeper by Appealing to Core Values of the 40+, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.
  • Prime Time Travelers: Diving Into The Digital/Social Component Of the Boomer Marketplace,  4:15 – 5:30 p.m

Learn more about The Educational Travel Conference (ETC) here.

Lori Bitter Featured in Forbes Magazine

In A Brutal Economy, Boomers Rewrite The Next Chapter


11/16/2011
(This story appears in the Dec. 5, 2011 issue of Forbes.)

Two years ago, on her 50th birthday, Lori Bitter got fired from her job at JWT, a subsidiary of WPP, the world’s largest ad agency. Nothing personal, mind you, but JWT had decided to eliminate JWT Boom, the unit she ran focused on marketing to mature consumers. She spent that weekend with her husband, on a long-planned birthday jaunt to Sedona, Ariz. “I hung out in the red rocks and pondered my existence,” she says.

The pondering didn’t last long…

Read the full article online at Forbes. Print article available on December 5.

Building With Multiple Generations In Mind

The recently released MetLife Report on American Grandparents revealed that 1 in 10 households is headed by a grandparent with at least one grandchild living there. The study reports that part of the reason for this is high rates of unemployment among the children’s parents. Interestingly, in 1980 there were only 28 million Americans living in a household that included two adult generations or a grandparent and at least one other generation. By 2008 the number was 49 million Americans living inter-generationally.

In a recent New York Times story about this trend, Kermit Baker, a senior fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard and the chief economist of the American Institute of Architects, said, “Immigrants are a source of growing demand (for intergenerational homes), and their household composition is different in fundamental ways from the domestic-born.”

Learn More →

Reaching the New Assisted Living Decision Maker at CALA Fall Conference, Oct.24-26, Orange County, CA

I hope you’ll join me at the California Assisted Living Association’s (CALA) Fall Conference, Oct. 24-26 in Orange County, CA where I will be speaking in the session Reaching the New Assisted Living Decision Maker.

Date: Tuesday, October 25
Time: 3:45 – 5:15 p.m.
Where: Hyatt Regency, Orange County, CA

This session will provide key strategies to effectively communicate with strong influencers in the decision making process – the adult children/caregivers, integral to the selection and sales process. Learn how understanding the values of decision makers and trends and differences in sentiment towards Assisted Living communities can help drive your marketing strategy. Discover a messaging framework needed to engage and increase your prospect base.

October IMMN Webinar: Retirement in Hard Times

Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM (Central Time)
Speaker: Mark Miller, retirement journalist and author of The Hard Times Guide to Retirement Security: Practical Strategies for Money, Work and Living.
Registration: click here
Cost: free for members; $50 for non-members Fee waived for this webinar!
About the webinar: The huge American baby boom generation is entering retirement just as the economy has pivoted in a direction most didn’t anticipate. The housing crash, high jobless rate, faltering entitlement programs and volatile stock markets have created new challenges for a generation that had been somewhat blasé in its approach to retirement planning in the pre-crash days. Now, Boomers are struggling to adjust to what is shaping up as a prolonged period of economic challenge. Join us as retirement journalist and author Mark Miller discusses his book, The Hard Times Guide to Retirement Security: Practical Strategies for Money, Work and Living. He’ll outline the key trends affecting Boomers’ personal finances, career and lifestyle trends.

Quoted: Can Empty Nesters Still Afford to Splurge? SmartMoney

For this article Can Empty Nesters Still Afford to Splurge? in the current issue of SmartMoney, I spoke with writer Missy Sullivan about the empty nesters’ mentality.