If baby boomers have one defining characteristic, it is how little they have in common, says Matt Thornhill.
“It’s hard to know just by their age where boomers are in life,” said Thornhill, speaking at the Boomeretirement Road Show sponsored by the Partnership for Retirement Education and Planning here March 5. “When talking to boomers, advisors need to take age out of the equation and determine what stage they’re at in life.”
Boomers are “stretching out” the definition of middle age, said Thornhill, president and founder of a market research and consulting firm, The Boomer Project, Richmond, Va. “Unlike the GI generation that preceded them, most boomers do not lead ‘linear lives’,” (wherein one progresses methodically and predictably from schooling to marriage, to child-rearing or lifetime employment and, finally, to retirement.)
“It used to be that if I knew how old you were, I knew where you were on life’s path,” said Thornhill. “Boomers are all over the map. Many have gone to school, gotten married, divorced, remarried, returned to school or started a business after a period of employment.