In 2006, companies across the United States spent billions and billions of dollars on advertising of products and services. The investment services companies were right in there, spending billions on advertising that tells consumers how to manage their money in advance of their retirement years.
You see advertisements filling magazine pages with announcements of product innovations such as the latest in annuity guaranteed minimum death and income benefits.
The result is clutter in the retirement industry space, and it ends up sounding more like white noise than real advice.
Still, the fact remains that baby boomers are retiring. And at an estimated 78.2 million (Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program, 2005), boomers are the largest, most watched and perhaps most controversial generation to come of age in the era of media.
This is uncharted territory. But it’s also the ideal time for the retirement industry to start a meaningful dialogue with boomers. So much money is being spent on telling boomers what they need instead of listening to what they want that many boomers end up without any real answers to their retirement questions.
Baby boomers have changed the national conversation at every stage of their lives. Now, as they enter retirement, they are making their own rules. That is why it is the charge of companies in the retirement space to start listening to what people in this group are saying about what they need to help them plan for their futures.
Boomers are still worried about financing their retirements, according to an August 2007 survey by the Lincoln Retirement Institute. Their concerns range from ensuring they have enough saved for lifetime income to protecting against retirement challenges such as long term care needs and the eroding effects of inflation. Subsequent focus groups uncovered more details about boomers.
The combined results indicate that boomers react positively to messages of increased accountability and responsibility for their own destinies. This internalization stands in stark contrast to conventional retirement advertising, which tends to focus on anonymous retired couples enjoying high-end retirement “moments” that may not be ideal or even attainable for many boomers.