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
- 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
recent "What's Next Boomer Summit" in
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.
The Boomer Project
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
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
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
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.
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
countries after WWII, so we are not alone in battling
this population bulge.
- Overall, Europe's population has stopped growing
is now shrinking.
- By 2050, the four largest countries by population
be: India, China, United States and Pakistan.
- US population growth is driven by immigration;
fertility rate is at the rate of sustaining the
population, not growing it.
- In 2000 there were 250,000 people worldwide
100. By 2050, there will be 3.8 million.
Boomers and the Internet, from
- Almost 70% of all Boomers are online.
76% of those Boomers already online have made
- 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).
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
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
- 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
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
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.
Quotes from Boomer Summit
Out of the mouths of babes...I mean, Baby Boomers,
"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." --
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