Top Ten Boomer Myths Exposed (Part 2)

As promised yesterday, we continue the countdown of common myths about the Baby Boomer generation that were exposed in the AARP's Third Quarterly Boomer Report released on April 15th at www.aarp.org. The report, “How Well Do You Know Boomers? Counting Down the Top 10 Boomer Myths,” identified and investigated the top myths associated with Boomers in order to separate fact from fiction. My comments are in italics:

Myth #5 - Boomers are all wealthy

Collectively Boomers are the wealthiest generation in history, but only 9% are truly affluent (defined as having pre-tax incomes of $150,000 or more if working, or $100,000 or more if retired). In fact, one quarter of Boomers have no savings or investments at all. (It is for the other 91% that I created the Platinum Years Network... "Life planning for the rest of us.")

Myth #4 - Boomers are winding down with age

Actually, they are quite active, as the typical Boomer regularly participates in an average of 10 activities and the participation extends beyond going to church or gardening. They are traveling (60 million took at least one trip last year), attending live sporting events (22 million) and bicycling (11 million), among other activities. (We're not dead yet - Not by a long shot :-)

Myth #3 - Boomers are technologically challenged

Contrary to many assumptions, Boomers were in the workforce during the evolution of computers, e-mail and the Internet, and were the first to understand the value of technology. In fact, 82% of Boomers use the internet and their online activities extend beyond email to instant messaging, downloading music or movies, financial transactions and online gaming. (Some of us even have blogs :-)

Myth #2 – Boomers are the "Me Generation"

Boomers have typically been portrayed with the self-centered label the "Me Generation," but from their actions in later adulthood, this report reveals that a label of "We Generation" is more accurate. They are caring for others and caring for the world, with 70% saying they have a responsibility to make the world a better place. (I think this label comes from the stereotype that our parents indulged us as kids... remember that Baby and Child Care book by Dr. Benjamin Spock that a lot of our parents used? Personally, I didn't feel too indulged when I was working multiple jobs and going to night school.)

Myth #1 - Boomers are all the same

The media often portray the members of the baby boom generation as a monolith – 77 million people thinking, acting, behaving and buying all in the same way. Nothing could be further from the truth. More life events occur between the ages of 50-65 than in any other time in a person’s life, with the typical Boomer experiencing an average of two major life events around career, family, finance or health each year. These life events can have a major impact on attitudes, life goals and consumer behavior. It is a mistake to think of this cohort as all alike, and it is not all about age. Recognizing the differences among Boomers and understanding the truths behind the myths can help marketers craft products, strategies and messages that will resonate with this generation.

(So all generalizations are false, including these... but seriously, one problem with the term boomer, as I mentioned yesterday, is that somebody decided it should cover a twenty year band in age. Probably if we restricted it to true post war babies over a 5-10 year period, we'd look a lot more homogeneous.)

Hope you enjoyed this exercise. If you want more, you can access the whole report at https://www.focalyst.com/Sites/Focalyst/Content/KnowledgeCenter/ - Bob

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