I want to respond to a query I’m often asked: “Why do you prefer to focus on the forty-plus segment versus solely focusing on fifty-plus, especially Baby Boomers?” My response is much the same as David Wolfe’s on this topic, as he describes the future of the Ageless Market:
“Markets over forty will grow at a far faster clip than markets under forty.”
This changes everything. Marketing and sales become all about serving the Ageless Market, principally Ageless Women.
As you are well aware now, the 50-plus demographic is an unstoppable powerful force for change, which is impacting the United States economy, as well as most other economies, and will for generations to come.
The group of “oldies but goodies” now 50-plus are expected to represent 54 percent of the over-25 population by 2032. With thirty more years now added to expected lifespans, this group is morphing everything in its path as it moves from an elongated productive midlife into a later and later onset of old old age. A briefing paper prepared for AARP by Oxford Economics states that this force of older people in the United States alone is composed of 106 million people responsible for at least $7.1 trillion in annual economic activity—a figure that is expected to reach well over $13.5 trillion in real terms by 2032.
It is important to note that the Longevity Economy isn’t just defined by demographics. This term also applies to the total of all economic activity related to serving the needs of the post-40s in the United States, as well as the products and services this same demographic purchases directly and the continued economics their spending engenders.
Echoing my own take on the Longevity Economy, the briefing report concludes that this is not a passing phenom- enon. Long after we 40-plussers are past tense, longer and longer life spans will result in continuously occurring large post-40 populations.
I want to share another striking and telling statistic from the briefing paper that nails the import and impact of this new economic trend “The over-50 population controls almost 80% of U.S. aggregate net worth; the average wealth of households headed by people over 50 is almost three times the size of those headed by people aged 25 to 50.”
The Effect of Longevity on Our Future Economy
We know that living longer, healthier lives, coupled with the sheer numbers of the aging Boomer population, presents us all with a financial challenge. How do we make our money last as long as we do?
Sound financial planning is an obvious answer. It’s also an ideal-world answer. In the real world, the aftereffects of the Great Recession, the costs of caring for parents and children, and the denial of the eventual effects of aging on our health are just a few factors that can make financial planning insuf- ficient to secure the future.
For many, the solution is to work past traditional retire- ment age, some by necessity but many others out of a desire to keep working. Individuals and companies are catching on to the idea of flexible working options, particularly those that allow telecommuting, job sharing, and shorter workweeks. These are benefits not just for Boomers but for the younger working generations as well.
Most age-friendly ideas for the workplace (and indeed for our homes and communities) are beneficial to all ages and stages. The sooner organizations and governments recognize this growing customer demand (and the more we emphasize it), the more prosperous and secure we will all be, in the workplace and as a nation.
To read further on The Longevity Economy please check out chapter 2 in my Amazon Bestseller Gray is the New Green.