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10 trends boomers will drive

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Monday, January 27, 2014
Posted: 4 pm ET

If you're a boomer like me, you know that you've never done anything that you didn't do in a crowd.

Frank Newport, editor in chief of Gallup and a boomer himself, pointed out that the large number of post-World War II births from 1946 to 1964 were "like a pig moving through a python, having an impact on society at every stage of their lives."

And now as they pass the age 65 benchmark, the age at which people have traditionally embraced retirement, he predicts boomers will continue to have a dramatic effect on virtually every aspect of American life. Here are 10 areas that he thinks aging boomers will turn upside down, changing retirement planning forever.

  1. Social Security and Medicare. Boomers are living longer than any generation before them and actuaries believe the number of people claiming benefits from these two programs will double in the years ahead. Since both of these programs are pay-as-you-go, relying on younger generations to pay for those who are already retired, Newport says this isn't great news for the younger generations who will be supporting boomers in their old age. Who will pay more or who will get less?
  2. Health care. The pharmaceutical industry will find it profitable to make more drugs that treat the ailments of aging, such as Alzheimer's, hearing and vision problems, heart disease and cancer. Nursing homes and other care facilities will expand. Physicians and others who specialize in gerontology, the treatment of elderly people, will be in demand. Also, funeral directors likely will be very busy.
  3. Religion. If boomers are anything like the generations that have come before them, they'll grow more spiritual the older they get, creating an increased demand for religious and spiritual leaders and experiences.
  4. Travel and vacation. People without full-time jobs or other commitments often have the urge to travel. It is unlikely that the boomer generation will be any different, creating opportunities in the transportation, hotel and tourism industries. Newport thinks that there will also be growth in the education market -- boomers will travel to take courses in things that interest them.
  5. The legal industry. Not only will boomers be making wills and setting up trusts, they'll also be dying off, leaving those behind to engage in legal disputes over what they have or haven't been left.
  6. Charities, legacies and volunteer work. Boomers will have time on their hands to work for no pay for the causes they care about, and some of them will leave those causes considerable sums of money.
  7. Promoting causes. Not only will boomers give time and money, they'll also give their votes and their emotional support to the causes they believe in. Newport speculates that because so many boomers grew up in a period of history when social protest had an enormous impact, many of them will again embrace this method of achieving change. "We could well see the new phenomenon of 'boomer protests' in the years ahead," Newport says.
  8. Housing industry. If boomers would all decide to sell their homes and move elsewhere, this could create a flooded market for suburban houses. The upside is that this could create a huge market for innovative retirement communities in attractive places, including college towns, warm weather havens and big cities.
  9. Dining out. With money to spend and nobody at home to cook for, empty nesters will be filling their bellies at restaurants and carry-out establishments.
  10. Financial advice. Lots of boomers aren't poor. In 2013, Gallup calculated that boomers ages 50 to 64 spent an average of $93 a day. Younger seniors who are 65 to 74 years old spent an average of $87. This is much more than millennials, ages 18 to 29, who spent just $73 a day. Helping boomers figure out how to manage income in retirement will undoubtedly be a great  industry in which to work.

Newport concludes, "It's a brave new world ahead for boomers as they age past 65, and also for the U.S. as a nation."

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January 29, 2014 at 12:03 am

Boomers are directly responsible for some of the worst things our country have ever seen that generation are terrible parents, half of there children live at home well past there mid twentys, there are directly to blame for most of our nations debt, they also are to blame for things like medical companies charging 1000% mark up on things etc etc

January 28, 2014 at 11:34 pm

John, to say that the boomer generation is worthless is very sad. For one thing, not all of us are narcissistic, undisciplined, irresponsible etc. In fact, I don't even know anyone in my generation who is like that. However, I worry about the present generation who don't want to work for anything. They want to be singers or actors or make it big on the web like Mark Zuckerman. So many young people today feel they are entitled to whatever they want just because they were born. My husband and I worked hard for years and we didn't buy a home until we were 40 and buy a brand new car until we were 45. It takes patience and perseverance. Something a lot of youth lack today. Maybe you didn't achieve what you wanted, so maybe that is why you hate your own generation. Or maybe you just hate yourself.

Barbara Schilling
January 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm

I'm so sad to see how Aldorey and John have such sorry opinions of our generation. Most of my fiends would help anyone they came into contact with in times of need. Most of the people I know also take care of their elderly, worked their whole life without asking for handouts. In these trying times where everything cost a arm and leg, help their young adults TRY to make it own their own. Unfortunately, with the drug use and their attitude that they are suppose to START at the same level of their parents......the next generation is what I worry about!!

Mike Russell
January 28, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Really! What a shallow, meaningless article. Who didn't already know this? Come on!

January 28, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Wow---John! Why so bitter? We are all not liking the fact that we are getting older, but we aren't all that bad are we!? Glad to see you entered the fact that you are one of US!

January 28, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Lee Emerson

January 28, 2014 at 5:18 pm

As a Boomer and a caretaker for my elderly mother, I would like to start some business that would be easy for us as Boomers to access things we need for our aging parents, like lessons in maneuvering Medicare/Supplemental Insurance and what it means. Making products that are cheaper and more effective. Just saying, for example, my mom is so small that they do not make "pull-ups" that fit her, therefore the things that should be kept in are running out! The big kids overnights are just little too tight, somebody needs to recognize these needs. Ramps for wheelchair use for only three steps into a home for rare use. I have learned so much, and don't know where to start to make things easier for me as a caretaker. Another thing is funeral choices.............I could go on and on.

January 28, 2014 at 4:58 pm

I have to admit my severe disappointment with my own generation. We started out believing in peace and love and ended up the greediest MF's the world has ever known. Think we can turn this around again? One can only hope.

January 28, 2014 at 4:48 pm

The analogy to a pig is an apt one for the boomer generation. Narcissistic, undisciplined, irresponsible in their lack of planning for retirement, consumers of the seed corn built up by previous generations, architects of our cultural rot.. I'm sorry to say I am a part of this utterly worthless generation.

January 28, 2014 at 10:36 am

'64 boomer ... Seems like we'd see more industries marketing to the wave: crematoriums, Eco-burials, senior residential communities, TV networks geared to seniors (shopping channels specializing in jar openers, financial channels, health news, travel).