January topped cakes with candles and marked a momentous birthday celebration, as the first of about 76 million baby boomers turned 65.
According to Brent Green, an expertise in generational marketing, “Around 10,000 will reach the milestone daily for the next 19 years.” This Post-World-War-II generation is looking forward to a life expectancy that is higher than that of any previous generation. This places concerns on the U.S., most of them being monetary, as the nation has never had to deal with population aging at this degree.
The UN estimates that worldwide there will be about 1.5 billion people 65 and older by the year 2050. This more than doubles the current number of 523 million. For the first time ever, people 65 and older will soon outnumber children under the age of five.
As a consequence, many people may have to delay their retirement or never fully retire in order to maintain sustainable incomes. Many economists do not view the exploding population of the aging as an asset, but as a pending budget crisis. The worldwide treatment of dementia and other aging illnesses and impairments costs billions of dollars annually.
A recent survey created by Dr. Ken Dychtwald, called ‘The New Retirement,’ offers a screening of the different lifestyles of work and recreation that baby boomers forecast in their future.
In the survey, baby boomers were asked about their ideal work arrangement in retirement. About 83 percent replied with answers saying they would like to continue to work at varying levels, ranging from full time to part time to starting up their own business.
The large percentage of baby boomers who anticipate on continuing work express that it is not all about the money. While 37 percent indicate that continued earnings is a very important part of the reason they intend to keep working, 67 percent claim that continued mental stimulation and challenge is what will motivate them to stay in the game.
The marketplace is looking at the shifting of the median age in the U.S. optimistically. The new business of old age may be the next competitive niche for companies. Industry analysts say that products and services that promote wellness, mobility and autonomy to the aging generation create a multibillion-dollar market. Such innovations prove to promote health and independence; postponing entry into long-term care, the potential savings to the health care system could be even greater.
According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an understanding of the target market is the key to being successful. Recently the AgeLab at M.I.T. created an Age Gain Now Empathy System. The age-gaining suit called Anges impairs vision and movement, realistically adding decades.
AgeLab, like other research centers around the country, develops technologies to help older adults maintain their health, independence and quality of life. Companies go to the M.I.T.’s AgeLab to understand the audience they are trying to target and to have their products, policies and services studied.
Many industries have shied away from the older demographic group and focused on reaching the younger spenders.
With 76 million baby boomers on the road to retirement over the next two decades, a new business opportunity and target market is being unraveled, and according to the founder of the AgeLab, may “make gray the new green” for companies.