This is from Smart Money’s list of “World’s Most Influential Players.”
We know this, but it is interesting that Smart Money is just discovering the most influential generation in history… and the one spends the most and votes the most, so their influence can only grow.
With $14 trillion in assets and a proven willingness to spend, this group has been driving the economy. As the first wave turns 65 this year, many hope those wallets will keep opening.
Jane & Joe Boomer
They grew up watching The Andy Griffith Show, came of age during the tumultuous ’60s and bad-hair ’70s, raised their kids, and now…10,000 of them are hitting retirement age every single day, on average. But don’t think the 80 million-strong baby boom generation is going to go quietly to the land of canasta and early-bird specials. With a median age of 55, most boomers are not only still working, earning and saving; they’re also spending like crazy — buying some $2.6 trillion worth of stuff in 2009 alone. Indeed, the current crop of 45- to 64-year-olds spends 70 percent more than the same age group spent a decade earlier.
But while money is power, as the saying goes, that isn’t the only mark of their might: In the 2008 election, 65 percent of this generation reported casting a vote (a much greater proportion than that of most other age groups). And in 2012, experts say, it will be boomers, again, who decide who makes the rules.”
Another rendition of the "Greedy Geezers" from AARP
A new political ad from AARP http://www.aarp.org/protectseniors is the latest attempt by AARP to rally their base and build political clout. As a Baby Boomer, this new attempt just goes right over my head. I cannot relate to it, and I wonder how many in my generation can. First, the man in the ad, while he may be actually not that far from Boomers’ age group, looks old enough to be my Dad. Second, the camera pans wide to reveal a group of very serious- looking, definitely- not- working “retirees”–not a group I can relate to either. The “R” word again. The message is strident, angry even, aimed at getting seniors to call their congressmen and tell them not to cut their benefits. This just sounds like another ad in the “greedy geezers” genre. The message does not resonate with Boomers because Boomer’s benefits have already been cut! We don’t get social security until sometime AFTER age 65, not sure when we get Medicare. We are the generation that coined the phrase “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” We get that there have to be changes, many of us accept that, and frankly have probably known all along that we would have to plan for our own “second act” whether or not we actually have, which is beside the point.
AARP, which I continue to believe should be renamed the “American Association of Reinventing People” if it has a chance of winning over Boomers, has to shift its message to the Boomer generation if it is going to gain traction. Instead of “there are 50 Million of us and we don’t want to give up one measly cent” how about ” We are the largest block of voters in the history of this country. Work with us, talk with us, and let’s fix entitlements so they are there for us and for our kids.” AARP: rally the Boomers. Anyone who underestimates the power of the voice of the Boomer does so at their peril.
Why am I not surprised? Women are inherently wired as “connectors” and there is no better way on the planet to get connected than through Facebook. They are conversationalists, and there is no better way these days to converse than through social media. Whether its their grandchildren, their children, a long- lost lover, whomever, they want to reach out and touch someone. This is the way, now, and they will not be deterred. That is a Boomer value: defiance in the face of the expected. So, listen up tech world. Boomer women are maybe not the new nerds, but they have come a long way, Baby. Any marketers who targets them and doesn’t advertise on Facebook needs to fire their agency. Check out the video Social Media Revolution by Erik Qualman, author of the best- selling book Socialnomics. http://vimeo.com/11551721
Finally! For at least ten years, advertisers have been trying to find an appeal for Baby Boomers that would get us out of our denial about the “R” word, and into some kind of savings or investment planning. They have tried threats–the elephant in the room that we are avoiding. They have tried strident appeals from fellow boomers such as Dennis Hopper–” You need a plan!”
Ameriprise gets it wrong
Let’s face it, no one has gotten it right. Boomers don’t respond to fear, logical appeals, or threats from someone who claims to know more. They don’t feel helpless. They feel entitled. They are perennial optimists, driven by the belief that they are in charge, still important, and still are changing the world. So…this Prudential commercial hits exactly the right emotional tone…Boomers want to live forever, think they will, and believe it will all work out somehow. This is such a hopeful approach: a series of actual photos taken on the first day of retirement by a bunch of different boomers. The shots look cool, look real, and are very hopeful married up with inspirational not insipid music–no ’60s rock track redux. And the message is right on target: You are going to live a long long time! The “R” word is not “Retirement”…its “Rejoice”! It’s “Reinvent.” And yes, it’s “Revel”…in the simple beauty of the world, and every morning that you are going to see from here on out, till maybe forever. And yes, you’re entitled. Bravo, Prudential. One teensy thing I’d fix: take out the number. It should say, “one of the thousands and thousands of sunsets retirees will see….” Remember…We are going to live forever.
It’s the day after our President turned 5-oh, and the Dow dropped more than 500 points…an appropriate day to begin this blog about things Boomer.
Why? First, because unlike any generation in American history, we Boomers hate the subject of age. We cringe, we deny, we nip and tuck, and we outright lie to avoid dealing with it.
Secondly, because now we have to actually begin to face the reality that eventually, we will have to live off what we have earned in our lifetimes. Other generations have called this “retirement” but we reject that term. We think of it, or at least some of us do, as “reinvention.” But that’s another subject. The drop in the Dow forces us to do some actuarial math, and realize that we may not live long enough to break even on the Dow. But we quickly change the subject. If we are Boomers.