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3 Myths About Baby Boomers

iStock_000016454287XSmallBoomers, defined as Americans born between 1946 and 1964, are aging. No myth here. The leading edge boomers are now 65 and the back-end “baby” Baby Boomers are approaching 50. I will refer to Boomers as “they” yet I am a proud Boomer and have a deep and personal first-hand understanding of myths discussed below.  

Boomers have led societal change. They led the protest of the Vietnam War, vote at a higher level; pay taxes, work, and many Boomers have significant discretionary income. Given their advancing age, they are supposedly nearing retirement. Not so fast…. Here are 3 myths about Boomers.

Myth #1 Boomers are going to retire shortly.

Not even close. Their 401Ks became 301Ks last decade. None of the financial models, which showed how their money would minimally increase 8% annually, or double each decade, came to pass. Therefore, Boomers need to continue to work. Moreover, Boomers largely remain healthy, vital and seek to work. Boomers have wisdom and experience and in fact many Boomers have begun second or third careers. They realize that Boomers role in the traditional workplace may be receding and are taking steps to reinvent themselves in new careers. “Retirement” was a concept for their parents.

Myth #2 Boomers are afraid of technology

Au contraire. Some Boomers may not be quite as swift as their children in the latest technology, but technologically lame they are not. Boomers have the $ and interest to purchase high tech products and use them. And they use communications tools like this blog to communicate their thoughts and ideas. In fact roughly 1/3 of bloggers are over 45 (count me in the “Boomer Blogger” category).

Myth #3 Boomers are brand loyal

The majority of Boomers are far less brand loyal than their parents were. Boomers will gladly switch brands given a better alternative. The concept of blind brand loyalty may have been true with Boomers parents, but not them. This is exacerbated by a weak economy, the explosion of value/coupon promotional concepts like Groupon, Living Socail, etc. and the overall willingness of looking for value. Boomers make brand choices based on need and their perception of what a brand stands for today.

Summary

Boomers are not all alike and any “rules” about their behavior are bound to be flawed. Certainly the old rules no longer apply and smart marketers are wise enough to understand this. But one thing is certain– Boomers are a large group and our thinking and spending will continue to influence our society. If you are interested in more about Boomers feel free to visit the thoughts from my friends at MayoSeitz Media Monitor in two excellent posts, 55 and Forgotten and Maybe 55+ Isn’t So Forgotten After All. Good stuff.




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