Part One: Good News or Bad News? Boomers will have to work longer

Nicolette Lemmon, President/Founder

My Marketing Strategy

Nicolette Lemmon, President & Founder

I have a new fascination, the attention on the Boomers regarding their spending habits. That’s because I am one, so watching the discussion now of how spending habits are changing of a huge generation, the largest cohort in America’s demographic makeup, is an exercise in self discovery.

There have been news stories and blog posts popping up everywhere about the concerns of large brands on the pull-back of Boomers in luxury, electronics and other categories. Where once a brand could be sustained by Boomer spending, like Mercedes or BMW, now the difficult economy is causing a shift that was not predicted and these brands wonder if it is permanent. Here is an example from a Business Week article by David Welch in July:

“This year, Mercedes will sell a third fewer cars in America. In Montvale, N.J., Kristi Steinberg, who runs Benz’s North American market research operation, has a nagging fear: that sales won’t recover for a long time because boomers, history’s wealthiest generation, are tapped out. ‘I don’t know if anyone knows yet if this is a blip,’ she says, ‘or a defining moment like the Great Depression.’

Who is following the Boomers to be the next target for brands long dependent on the “watermelon in a garden hose” demographic group? The largest generation is being followed by a smaller Gen X, so that doesn’t help matters. Down the road, a larger Gen Y is growing up, but years away from making the same kind of economic impact.

Two things come into play; a smaller generation following the Boomers make it easier for them to stay longer in the workplace, and recent declines in home values and stock portfolios has provided an impetus for working longer.

In pondering for my clients, what is the impact on financial services if the Boomers do work longer? I think it’s good news. What’s your prediction? Share your comments with us below and check back tomorrow to find out why I think it’s good news.

2 thoughts on “Part One: Good News or Bad News? Boomers will have to work longer

  1. Good prediction, Carole! Everyone seemed caught off guard including the investment advisors. Taking control of finances is even more critical if 4 in 10 of us may live to 120! That stat is according to our friend, Karen Sadler who specializes in the Boomer generation and was a presenter at the last Credit Union Marketing Universirty. Can you imagine if 60 is the new middle age what that will do to thinking about retirement!

  2. I predict: Boomers will assume a more interactive role in their finances. Lessons learned thanks to Madoff and the big meltdown will see Boomers being much more vocal about paying (not!) fees for services- and willing to jump ship if service does not meet expectations. Loyalty to a FI can no longer be assumed. Same will hold true for investments- many Boomers were let-down by their trusted advisors and will turn to information available online to try and make up (or salvage) their retirement.

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