Baby Boomers are a Mixed Blessing to the Economic Recovery

By Larry Teren

According to remarks credited to the president of AARP, 10,000 people are turning 65 every day and that level will continue for the next 18 years. If people make it to age 65, they can expect to reach 82, according to the Harvard Health Letter. If they make it to age 85, they can expect to reach 90. Of all the people who ever lived to age 65 since the beginning of time, two-thirds are breathing right now.

More than 30 percent of Social Security recipients are totally dependent on a Social Security check, while 65 percent are mostly dependent on Social Security. (I didn’t make that up. I guess it means that some senior citizens don’t have any savings other than their immediate checking account and their monthly social security stipend.)

The cost of health care is expected to double by 2020 as a result of the inflation of health care costs and the growing elderly population. As we baby boomers live longer, it puts pressure on our financial security. On average we have a retirement savings of only $50,000. (Believe me, even if you have twice that, it does not give you a secure feeling)

With all that negativity stated, on the positive side the Nielsen researchers say that baby boomers own 70% of this nation’s wealth while representing only 25% of population. Not only that, but according to AARP, 25% of all business startups are coming from boomers aged 55 to 64. (Apparently some of us baby boomers are taking our hard-won savings and rolling the dice on new opportunities because the old ones don’t cut it anymore. Do any of you fellow boomers need the help of a computer consultant?)

The Nielsen people do research on the habits of baby boomers to help the education of advertising buyers. It is not just whether we are willing to spend money on frills and luxuries in the face of a bleak economic future. They are researching whether we will even pay notice to the effort to get us to spend our shrinking savings. According to Nielsen, boomers have short attention span. When we go to a website, we immediately turn focus away from display ads. I tend to turn off the volume on advertisements at the beginning of video clips. The webmasters are getting wise to me and others by disabling the volume control during the run of the ad. The geniuses at ad agencies are trying to figure out ways when we watch television or go to a website to get us to acknowledge and retain the message. Rots of ruck.

What these geniuses don’t get is that most baby boomers subscribe to the concept of “been there, done that”. We’ve grown up with advertising hucksterism. Like the old margarine commercial tag line put it- “you can’t fool mother nature”. And you can’t fool an old baby boomer. Or can you?

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