March Newsletter Header
In this issue...
  • Like a Rolling Stone:
    Boomers Over 50 Will Never Retire
  • Fingerprint File:
    Facts and Figures on Boomers
  • Hot Stuff:
    Quotes from Boomer Summit

  • Latest News & Insights from the Boomer Project

    If you're still keeping track, the Ides of March are here.

    We have lots to share this month, starting with the fact that 2005 is indeed shaping up to be the year the "Boomer" issue reaches the front burner.

    Two proof points:

    • Interest in the Boomer Project has snowballed since the first of the year, judging by the traffic to our Web site. The last three months of 2004 saw monthly traffic of about 4,500 visitors. January drew some 8,800 visitors; February attracted over 11,000. And for March we're well on track for over 13,000 visitors.

    • Demand for quotes and comments from the media is also at a fever pitch. Just look at the stories where we've been a resource or provided commentary since the first of the year (from the LA Times to US News & World Report to the Toronto Star). And, assuming all is well in the world, this Friday's NBC Nightly News will feature the Boomer Project and Southeastern Institute of Research.

    I guess our clarion call hath been heeded.

    In this newsletter, we'll highlight what we learned at the recent "What's Next Boomer Summit" in Philadelphia.

    Speakers from the United Nations, Merrill Lynch, Iconoculture, JupiterResearch and others enlightened us about Boomers.

    The insights are below.

    As always, if you have a thought for the group, let us know and we'll share next month.

    Matt Thornhill
    Matt Thornhill
    The Boomer Project

    Rolling Stones Like a Rolling Stone:
    Boomers Over 50 Will Never Retire
    Merrill Lynch New Retirement Study

    Last year Merrill Lynch embarked on a huge study to gain some insight into how Boomers will approach retirement. Given that we're still over six years away from the first Boomer reaching 65, it's still anybody's guess.

    Some of the results of the study were shared at the Boomer Summit, and much of it is online here.

    To us, the most interesting "finding" in the research is that most Boomers think they won't really retire in their mid-60's. Instead, they think they'll transition to something else first. This explains Mick Jagger and the Stones.

    This transition period, for most, could start when they are in their early 60's and last six to ten years. During that time, they won't be building their pension as much as pursuing a passion that pays. They could start a company, work part-time at their avocation, or learn a new trade altogether. The money earned will help fund their lifestyle during that transition period, so they won't be tapping into their retirement nest egg until well past the age of 70.

    This research suggests, quite strongly, that traditional retirement planning offered by the financial services industry will need to be re-tooled and re-thought. Something we were squawking about last year.

    We are delighted Merrill invested in such a comprehensive study and are grateful they have shared the results so other financial institutions learn from it.

    Who knows, maybe your next meeting with your financial advisor won't begin with a "how much you need to save before you retire" chart.

    Fingerprint Fingerprint File:
    Facts and Figures on Boomers

    Many speakers at the What's Next Boomer Summit presented up-to-date and interesting facts and figures about Boomers. Some highlights:

    Joseph Chamie of the United Nations Population Division shared global population trends.

    • The 20th century is known as the "Century of Population Growth." The 21st will be the "Century of Population Aging."

    • By 2050, the median age worldwide will be 38, up from 28 in 2000 and 24 in 1950.

    • In the US, the median age will be 41 in 2050. In Italy, it will be 53!

    • The Baby Boom occurred in practically all developed countries after WWII, so we are not alone in battling this population bulge.

    • Overall, Europe's population has stopped growing and is now shrinking.

    • By 2050, the four largest countries by population will be: India, China, United States and Pakistan.

    • US population growth is driven by immigration; our fertility rate is at the rate of sustaining the population, not growing it.

    • In 2000 there were 250,000 people worldwide over 100. By 2050, there will be 3.8 million.

    Boomers and the Internet, from JupiterResearch:

    • Almost 70% of all Boomers are online.

    • 76% of those Boomers already online have made purchases.

    • Boomers use the Internet to (no surprises) communicate via email, search for info, shop, get healthcare and disease information and look at porn (okay, they didn't report on that, but wink, wink).

    The Natural Marketing Institute shared findings from a recent "Boomers and Healthy Aging" study.

    • The big finding is that Boomers know what they're supposed to be doing to enjoy "healthy aging," but they aren't doing too much about it.

    • 93% of Boomers state that exercise is a primary way to manage healthy aging. Only 27% do it regularly, and only 21% do it infrequently. That means 53% don't bother at all. Which, of course, isn't healthy and will age you.

    Iconoculture, a trend-watching group out of Minneapolis, told us about three Boomer trends which shape their lives: Shufflebordom, the New Nest and Shine On.

    • Shufflebordom is all about Boomers' need to learn, discover, experience, belong and obtain fulfillment.

    • The New Nest is how empty nests and alternative nesting will shape home life for Boomers.

    • Shine On is about Boomers and vitality, control, confidence and sexuality. Thank you Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.

    Our Take

    Isn't it interesting that it is easy to project the demographic characteristics of Boomers -- they'll grow one year older every 12 months whether they want to or not -- but it's not so easy to predict their behavior.

    Our Boomer Marketing Report research, with Survey Sampling International, is designed to learn what Boomers are thinking now and to track changes over time. In doing that, we think we'll have a better understanding of where Boomers are going next.

    Keep in mind, at every lifestage, Boomers have re-written the rules. They're going to do it again.

    Quotation Marks Hot Stuff:
    Quotes from Boomer Summit

    Out of the mouths of babes...I mean, Baby Boomers, comes:

    "Boomers are discovering life in their 50's is like a second adolesence, a 'Middlesence' of sorts." -- Mary Furlong, Furlong & Associates

    "Men in middle age get more 'esty' and women more 'testy' -- men naturally lose testosterone as they grow older, so the ratio of testosterone to estrogen shifts. Women lose estrogen through menopause so their ratio shifts the other way." -- Jed Diamond, author of "The Irritable Male Syndrome"

    "Women realize in their late 50's, when the kids of gone, that they aren't an older version of themselves, they're a different version." -- Suzanne Levine, author of "Inventing the Rest of Our Lives"

    "BOOM Magazine will be for the spoiled brat still in all of us." -- Randall Stickrod, editor of BOOM Magazine, scheduled to launch this spring.

    "My father always says to me: 'I have no idea how you've graduated college while I'm still in high school.'" -- Joe Cannella, Google AdWords representative, age 23.

    Joe's father is right -- how did our kids grow up when we haven't?

    phone: 804.690.4837

    Back to News.
    Back to Boomer Project Home page.