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Baby Boomers: A Force for the Future?

JUNE 04: Normandy veteran Jack Griffiths, 92, (who was a glider pilot on D-Day) poses for a photograph on board the cross channel ferry leaving Portsmouth, England for Caen, France on June 4, 2013 in the English Channel. Across Normandy several hundred of the surviving veterans of the Normandy campaign are gathering to commemorate the 69th anniversary of the D-Day landings which eventually led to the Allied liberation of France in 1944. Next year, which will mark the 70th anniversary of the landings, is widely expected to be the last time that the veterans will gather in any great number. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Baby Boomers are those Americans born between 1946 and 1964. The increased birthrate after the return of soldiers from World War II is commonly referred to as the “baby boom”. Seventy-six million children were born during those years and now the first of those are approaching retirement. Over the next ten years over 10,000 baby boomers will retire each and every day of the year.

Babies Mean Business

Any time a large segment of society does something there are consequences. Sometimes the results are good and sometimes they’re bad. In the United Kingdom, baby boomers reportedly held 80% of the wealth, bought 80% of the high-end automobiles; climbed onboard 80% of cruises, and purchased almost half of all skincare products.

Not to be outdone, US baby boomers are doing quite well in their own right. More than 80% of personal financial assets are in the hands of boomers along with almost half of all consumers spending. Not surprisingly they buy 77% of all prescription drugs and 61% of over the counter drugs. American baby boomers like their cruises equally as well as the Brit’s matching their 80% spending rate.

War Babies Are A Target Rich Environment

Starting as early as the 1940’s mass marketers saw a major buying group in the coming years. Starting with baby products like Gerber Baby Food and other known products companies began reaping the baby boom wallet.

In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s television came along and now baby boomer families were sold every conceivable product under the sun. Baby boomers effectively ended the 1950’s recession and began the world’s largest economic boom.

1960’s: Baby Boomers Change The World

In the 1960’s the first wave of baby boomers hit colleges and the workforce across America. The Vietnam War, hippie movement, women’s lib, sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, made this one of the most turbulent but exciting times in American History.

The Civil Rights Movement, political assassinations, and public demonstrations dominated the headlines. “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Tune in, turn on, drop out was the anthem of the day. The times, they were a changin.’

Baby Boomer Economic Impact Today

The first wave of these movers and shakers began turning 65 in 2011. As mentioned above 10,000 each day (over 300,000 every month) are going to begin emptying their retirement plans. They are going to be collecting social security at an unprecedented rate. By the year 2020, twenty-five percent of the total workforce will be over the age of 55.

What affect this shift in monetary distribution will have on the already fragile economy is anyone’s guess. The good news is that each of these baby boomers could have produced 1-2 children each who are now having their own children.

Some Final Thoughts

When you hear job numbers of 100-200,000 or less being added each month just remember that 300,000 per month will be leaving the workforce each month. We are not even coming close to filling those spots.

I’m sure you’ve seen the bumper sticker on the back of the huge traveling motor home that says, “We are spending our children’s inheritance.” It might surprise you to know that about half of baby boomers have decided that they are going to distribute their wealth to charity rather than pass it on to their offspring.

If your grand folk’s are baby boomers you might want to start sucking up to them a little more. You never know.

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