I recently attended a conference where I appreciated perspectives of different generations.
I attended a “dine-around” networking party, where a dozen strangers gathered under the direction of a host conventioneer.
Several generations were represented, from newly graduated professionals, mid- to late-career types, and retirees.
Discussion defined our generations in unique ways: how we spent free time, our school experiences, and so on.
At dinner’s end, our late-boomer hostess asked a younger attendee, “Are you at the hotel?”
“No,” she answered, “an Airbnb,” prompting discussion of “what’s an Airbnb?”
“Can I call you a cab?” Our concerned hostess inquired.
“No,” the young lady said, whipping out her smartphone. “I’ll get an Uber,” prompting discussion of “what’s an Uber?”
Then, “Aren’t you just the millennial hipster!” exclaimed our fun hostess.
What worked for the millennial hipster would not work for the boomer…
This week, get to know boomers better.
‘There’s no substitute for hard work.’—Thomas A. Edison
“Older Boomers More Engaged at Work Than Younger Boomers,” says Gallup. Workers age 60 to 68 are more apt to be engaged (35%) than those age 50 to 59 (31%). In part, this may be because those beyond age 60 “have the best job situations.”
Further, older boomer women are more engaged (39%) than their male counterparts (32%), in addition to being more engaged than younger boomer women (34%).
The boomer workforce is divided between those who need to work and those who want to work.
And, “While 62% of millennials and 35% of Generation Xers have taken advantage of flexible working conditions at their current and previous places of employment, a mere 3% of boomers work from home,” says an article in MarketWatch.
Part of the reason may be lesser boomer interest in technology. “Unlike boomers, younger workers are more likely to treat their smartphones as their office,” notes the article.
Might this lesser interest in technology prevail elsewhere?
Also, “Boomers tend to occupy more senior and management roles, so they’re often in the office longer and need to be there in person.”
Did you know about “A Very Fast-Growing Group of Entrepreneurs: People Over 50”? Gallup says “their main reason for launching a venture was a lifestyle choice or to increase their income.”
These prospective business owners face two challenges: “12% agree or strongly agree the government makes it easy to start or run a business” and many struggle to obtain credit.
“Only 9% agree or strongly agree that it’s easy to obtain a loan,”
“Ready or Not: Baby Boomers Are Revolutionizing Retirement,” says the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS).
“Baby boomers were born to be wild and their retirement promises to be even wilder,” says TCRS president Catherine Collinson. “Baby boomers are overturning long-standing assumptions about working until age 65, calling for dramatic changes in current employment practices and proving that retirement and working are not mutually exclusive.”
Survey results show 65% of boomers plan to work past age 65 or forgo retirement. Just over half will work post-retirement. “Widespread savings shortfalls” exist—62% of those intending to work in retirement need the money and health benefits.
The survey provides seven suggestions for employers to assist boomers with retirement transition.
Among them: a need for education about retirement plans, financial planning, and Social Security and Medicare programs.
Also, greater awareness of Saver’s Credit is required—only 23% are in the know, and Catch-Up Contributions as 64% of boomers have awareness.
Can your credit union help spread the word?
‘I have no one to leave the money to…I like spending my money.’—Elton John
“Baby boomers Are Opening Their Wallets,” notes Gallup. Boomer daily expenditures dropped to $55 in March 2009, but as of last December, spending “had rebounded to a five-year high of $105 per day.”
More dollars are spent on household necessities than discretionary purchases.
Overall, older boomers spend more than younger boomers. “The lone exception is retirement investments, where more than twice as many trailing-edge boomers report spending more.”
Financial responsibilities, too, factor into varied spending habits as older boomers shed college tuition bills and mortgage payments. Older boomers tend to spend more on non-essentials.
‘I’m thinking of taking up golf, but the idea of spending time with golfers scares me.’—Harlen Coben, American author
Research findings indicate financial providers have unique opportunities to connect with boomers.
“Retiring Boomers Present Annuity Sales Opportunities,” according to BenefitsPro.com. “The picture’s not completely rosy… but there are still opportunities in the life insurance market… And lots of those will come from retiring boomers looking to secure their income with annuities.”
Boomers searching for consistent incomes hold market potential when they “shift their retirement accounts strategy from accumulation to decumulation.”
Finally, note “For Banks, Boomers Mean Lucrative Business.” This is because half of boomers have more than $100,000 in investable assets, and almost one in five have more than half a million dollars available to invest.
Thirty-seven percent have more than $50,000 in deposits.
This cohort diversifies investments in a number of financial institutions. “The upshot is that when it comes to investing… the vast majority… aren’t working with their primary bank.”
About one-third of boomers are “fully engaged” with their primary provider, two of 10 are “actively disengaged,” and 46% are “indifferent.”
But, spendy boomers respond well to cross-selling. Those who are fully engaged keep nearly twice the share of investable assets with their primary provider.
To connect with boomers:
Technology may not be the best way to engage boomers. Remember, they are more likely to call cabs than summon Uber.
Still, their “wild retirement” journeys require retirement planning roadmaps, investment vehicles, and even business loans to reach their destinations.
Are you along for the ride?
LORA BRAY is an information research analyst for CUNA’s economics and statistics department. Follow her on Twitter via @Bray_Lora and visit the CUNA blog, “The Research Roundup: Economic Perspectives.”