Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What Baby Boomers Really Want


            Like it or not, the post-war Baby Boom generation makes up over a quarter of the American population. So what Boomers think about, what we aspire to do and what we want to buy, all make a big difference in the American economy and the social trends that shape our lives.

            So I did a little research and isolated ten issues that Baby Boomers are focused on in 2015. If you're a Baby Boomer you may not be concerned with all these items; but my guess is that at least a couple of them will speak to you:

            1. We want a smaller but nicer house. In the 1980s and '90s, Baby Boomers flocked to the suburbs to raise their families. Now the kids are grown, so Boomers are getting ready to trade in their three-or-four-bedroom home for a two-bedroom bungalow with little or no yard. Some may want the charm of an old neighborhood, but most are more interested in modern conveniences and minimal maintenance.

            2. And long to live in a city. Baby Boomers are tired of driving to work, the mall, and the kids' soccer games. By and large we Boomers want to move into more urban areas – but ones that are clean, crime-free and less costly. So goodbye New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles. Hello Portland, Maine, Savannah, Georgia, Austin, Texas, and Portland, Oregon.

            3. We do not want to share their homes. A website called The Street says that despite some reports of a trend toward home sharing – a la "The Golden Girls" – Baby Boomers are not particularly interested in group living. The U. S. Census Bureau confirms that notion, reporting that less than 2 percent of Baby Boomers live in group quarters. Instead, with the kids finally gone, we want to enjoy the freedom of living in our own space in our own way. Most of us want to feather their own nests, not move to a modern-day commune.

            4. But we do want to keep working.  The Street also says that Boomers don't want to retire. Some 28 percent of Boomers claim they will never retire. And 46 percent say they want to downsize their careers but keep working part time in a less stressful job. This desire to keep at least one foot in the workplace is partly driven by economic factors, but also by the prospects for living longer, healthier lives.

            5. We want to travel. And not just to grandma's house. Many of the more affluent Boomers feel the pull of  "name brand" destinations like Stonehenge, the Great Wall, Machu Picchu and the Pyramids. They also want to gaze at the natural wonders before acid rain or the rising tides destroy them – Venice, the Great Barrier Reef, the rain forests, and the Arctic.

            6. We want to stay healthy. Many Boomers flock to the health club and jump into other healthful activities. Even more stand in line at Whole Foods and other natural-food purveyors to reap the benefits of healthy, organic fare. Farm stands are good. Farm-to-table restaurants are better. Home gardens are best of all.

            7. We embrace social media. Facebook started out as a platform for college kids. But now the aging parents of those college kids are all over Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media sites, sharing pictures of their pets, their grandchildren, and their latest vacation.

            8. Believe it or not, we are still dating. According to the U. S. Census Bureau some 65 percent of Boomers are married. But that leaves 35 percent who are single (17 percent divorced, 11 percent never married), and many are still interested in dating, using online dating services, frequenting meet-up groups, and staying on the lookout from the supermarket to their Salsa lessons.

            9. Nostalgia is here to stay. According to my son the music agent, the highest grossing bands are not the favorites of 20-something hipsters, like Jungle, Ratking or The Front Bottoms, but the old acts of yore like Bon Jovi, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles and Paul McCartney. Meanwhile, what's big on Broadway? Cinderella, Jersey Boys, The Carole King Musical and Wicked, the latest twist on The Wizard of Oz.

            10. We want a slower, easier life. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, Baby Boomers have the lowest rate of poverty among all age groups. Yet we exhibit the highest levels of anxiety. Why? We worry about our health, about losing our friends, about our children moving away. And we feel insecure because of financial issues such as the stability of our pensions and the prospects for the stock market, and all the questions that swirl around the very programs like Social Security and Medicare that keep us out of poverty.

          And here you thought it was easy being a Baby Boomer!


16 comments:

Olga Hebert said...

i agree with that!

Florence said...

Yes to all of the points on your list!

Anonymous said...

Portland Oregon and Austin Texas are two of the most expensive cities to buy a home, rent an apartment and or buy a condo..They are nice cities and all, but I live across the river from Portland and the rents, crime and etc. in the downtown area are not what I would ever ever want..Austin is totally lovely but one cannot find a nice home for a reasonable amount as tooo many people are moving there, it is the capital of Texas and also the U. of Texas resides there so pickins are very slim..the sourthwest is scorching hot then rains like monsoons..Big citites where it is lovely are out priced Seattle for one is just ridiculous, one can walk everywhere there and the transportation system is supberb but who has about $400,000 for a tiny apt, in the downtown area, and it is not crime free at all anymore..No one cannot have heaven on earth at all!

Anonymous said...

If a person has a tiny home and food, and hydration and most importantly a significant other one is mighty lucky in this USA..Here in Washington it gets cold sometimes and hotter than a pepper plant at others drought for the ages lingering on now in 2015 no precipitation for more than a year, hot as can be..So I say just be happy where you get to live, not that you will find an urban oasis or anything, it doesn't exist anywhere..I agree with some of your statistics, not wanting to live with others and having a healthy life, do not know about dating services married 42 years, life is not perfect I say be GRATEFUL AND HAPPY all the time!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Snowbrush said...

Fleetwood Mac is old? Ha! I think a lot of us boomers go back well before that regarding the music we buy.

I agree with nearly all of these, but I don’t want to travel, and as for working, it if means a paying job, then hell no.

DJan said...

Numbers 6, 7 and 10 speak to me, plus I'm a bit older than the Boomer generation. :-)

Pam said...

We don't want much, do we? I had to laugh as I read your list, nodding my head in agreement (most of the time). Even though I'm a senior citizen, I don't mind admitting that I still don't know what I want, and I don't think I'm the only one. What I know for sure is that I treasure my faith, family and friends, so I'll continue to focus and build those bonds. Maybe everything else will fall into place.

Anonymous said...

Good read!

Stephen Hayes said...

I like all of them except embracing social media. I think it's alienating us from each other, causing less personal interaction.

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom! Another good post listing things most of us baby boomers want to experience. I agree with most except for the dating....I've been married 38 years and not looking to change that. AND I don't want to live in a city. I DO WANT live in an area with lots of amenities like art, activities, and recreational opportunities but you don't have to live in a city to get them. Plus, as some of your other commenters mention, the prices to live in some of those cities make them unaffordable to many of us. Lots of places to choose from if you are willing to look. ~Kathy

Tom Sightings said...

Well, Snowbrush, I hate to break it to you, but, yeah, Fleetwood Mac is old. But you're right in one respect. Some of us are so old we remember The Fleetwoods! (Come Softly to Me, Mr. Blue, Tragedy).

Also, I'm with you on traveling. But I think most of our contemporaries like being on the road better than we do.

And Kathy, I get what you're saying, because 65 percent of us are married. But actually ... B and I got out on a date, together, at least once a week!

Anonymous said...

I saw Don Henley on the pbs with Charlie rose, he looks great for 68 and lives in Dallas Texas still tours with the Easgles when he gets time away from his wife and raising 3 teenagers..He said he shops at the grocery stores, takes his kids where they must go and picks them up..Of course he makes tons with his royalties but still retains the Cass County twang and heart love of where he was raised Texas east texas! He just released a new album said he spent a million or more to write and produce it and is pissed about the pirates who steal from people who do the writing and producing of their albums/cd's I could not agree with him more, it is his craft and expertise.>What a fellow now the Eagles have been singing for about 38 years or so and I don't consider them old at all, Fleetwood Mac was and is an orginal and they keep at it music wise, I don't consider them old at all..The new rap crap and music is excrutiating to my ears and I would never buy one of those albums/cd's ever..It is perspective in my book. As for the list of where one wants to live and how to live it takes CASH and many retired don't have what Don Henley has or even close but his music is still lovely and soft and interesting, many artists sing on his album Cass County is the name..I just want to live a long while to get the money I paid into my pension and my hubs too and have a teeny tiny amount to feel comfy not rich by any means whatsoever, we love the natural beauty of where we live and love the coast and childhood friends, you can't spend a damn dime if you are dead is our motto and we are not gonna live we think to the 100 mark so why complain and kvetch about life! be grateful and happy and love who you love and appreciate each and every moment of each day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

The generation that wanted it all still does! Miss Manners wrote a piece this week, posted by public TV, that said Aby Boomers are wrecking old age. The number one way they do this is by denying their circumstances. You can find the article by subscribing to Next Avenue, an online publication for seniors.

Barbara said...

Totally Excellent Post. For me, and most of my friends my age, you hit each point right on. I'm going to save this post and read it once a year to see how, if any, I change. Well done.

Janette said...

You hit the main points for me- but I never want to work for money again! I may have to, but I do not want to :)
Fleetwood Mac? on our Pandora channel!

Anonymous said...

Did you get this, Tom. Your sister, Nancy