Full Fathom Five
Meditation on Mortality: Part 1

What "they" are saying about us

As I’ve noted before, the term “baby boomer” has become, and will be for decades, synonymous with “old.” The oldest boomers are turning 58 this year, and it has recently reached corporate America and the print media that this group, along with the additional 48 million who are between the ages of 60 and dead, is an important target audience.

Private institutions and public agencies are turning out increasing numbers of thick studies purporting to know the truth about what boomers will do in their older years fueling speculation by journalistas who know a growing audience when they see one. Here are some of the recent facts, fantasies and contradictions about older people.

By 2010, between 60 percent and 70 percent of investment assets will be in the hands of people older than 60. [Fidelity Investments]

Even as they age, boomers will remain the most influential segment of the population. [The Next American Dream, Citigroup Global Markets, May 2004]

Boomers will not leave their children an inheritance. Instead they will leave them with debt. [Wilmington Star, 6 June 2004]

Baby boomers don’t want to retire at the usual age of 65. They plan to keep working and earning longer than their parents. [The Next American Dream, Citigroup Global Markets, May 2004]

Boomers should work until they are 75. The second career may be merely a way of earning money, getting medical benefits, augmenting Social Security or staying off the dole while trading a brief case for a grocery cart. [Wilmington Star, 6 June 2004]

90 million consumers currently use or have used products or procedures in an attempt to reduce their visible signs of aging. [National Consumers League, 15 May 2004]

People 65 and older now account for one in every seven facelift surgeries. [American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery]

Instead of discipline and sacrifice, boomers will use drugs and cosmetics and surgery as the way to health, or at least the appearance of it. [The Next American Dream, Citigroup Global Markets, May 2004]

One in four U.S. adults has doctor-diagnosed arthritis. It costs a total of $86.2 billion to treat, one percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. [CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 14 May 2004]

About 43 percent of people age 65 are expected to enter nursing home at least once in their lifetime. [Mutual of Omaha, 2004]

Boomers spend a much higher percentage of their disposable income on housing than their parents did. As they get older, they will indulge in “jewel boxes,” smaller homes with expensive kitchens, bathrooms and electronic amenities. [The Next American Dream, Citigroup Global Markets, May 2004]

Boomers will live in small, gated communities near cities with mild climates and cultural attractions. [Washington Post, 23 May 2004]

Boomers are not looking toward Florida or Arizona to spend their golden years; instead they are content with age-restricted, amenity-enhanced communities closer to the kids, grandkids, and their business contacts. [The Free Lance-Star, 1 June 2004]

Active-adult communities (restricted to those 55 and older) are not for boomers. They say it would be a stigma to live there. Also, they are uptight about the rules and regulations at active adult communities.” [RISMedia, 4 June 2004]

On 1 July 2002, there were 71 men for every 100 women age 65 and older. [U.S. Census]

The baby boom generation has fueled a remarkable increase in demand for recreational vehicles and will continue to do so for a decade. [Reuters, 6 June 2004]


Wow! Interesting info. As I am not a magazine reader, or much of a web surfer, I enjoy finding these factoids and tidbits here :)

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