Close Close

Portfolio > Economy & Markets

Growing older in America: Changes to boomer trends

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Experts on boomer marketing convened at Seattle’s “Pig in the Python: Design for Aging Forum” this month to discuss current trends of the generation. Among the speakers was Matt Thornhill, president and co-founder of the Boomer Project.

While the forum was mostly dedicated to the changing landscape of architecture within the boomer realm, blogger Rita Robinson of “The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide” highlights some important boomer trends mentioned in Thornhill’s speech to attendees:

  • One world – The Internet and the global economy are among the forces making the world smaller. Populations in developed countries are growing older, while populations in less developed countries are having more children and getting younger. The interaction between those two groups will be interesting over the next 20 years. Boomers will think locally and act globally because what they’re going to do here will be impacted by what happens somewhere else.
  • Green and sustainability – With 80 percent of Americans thinking or acting green, green is now mainstream. The sustainability model will replace the current consumer economy model. Building will be green or it won’t occur at all.
  • New frugality – At midlife, boomers will be more interested in experiences than stuff. The new frugality will be a permanent change. Modest living and modest pricing will be the norm. Those providing housing need to think about this as they make their plans.
  • Older populations – As the United States and other countries age, attitudes about “old” will change. Older people will be viewed as heroic, inspirational, wise and visionary. Universal design – barrier-free or accessible design – will be used for everyone.
  • Social contract renewed – There’s going to be a larger split between the haves and the have-nots. Of the 75 percent of boomers unprepared for retirement, one quarter has saved less than $10,000. A substantial number of boomers will need help as they age. With so many older Americans, ways will be found for older people to be useful. Under a “new” New Deal, funding to provide services for older Americans will change.