Tonite, President Obama will give his State of the Union address. While the focus will supposedly be on “jobs” and “the economy,” both topics strangely absent from the liberal manifesto given at inauguration, I wonder if he will hit the hot buttons for Boomers.
Just when we thought it was safe to head towards retirement, the stock market and economy collapsed, sending most of us into high anxiety. The plan to sell the big house and use the proceeds for that cute condo in Sun City when out the window with the housing crash. As adult children, well-educated yet un- or under employed, moved back home with their college debt in tow, it added to our stress.
We all know this. So what’s the plan? We need a strategy for this country that puts us back on a growth track now. A strategy is a choice, and provides clear goals for setting the agenda. It is not vague, it is not partisan, it is not high- minded. Unfortunately, those adjectives seem to apply to the president’s messaging. No, Boomers across both parties should listen up tonight. If there is a growth strategy that is well articulated, we can all take a chill pill. I fear that is not in the plan.
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.”
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.