I was born in 1954, smack-dab in the middle of what is now the new “Greatest Generation.” More than 76 million baby boomers were born to GIs and their brides–the Greatest Generation–between 1946 and 1964. And what an impact they made. They changed the face of American as they squeezed into schools that couldn’t be built fast enough and they have challenged the system ever since to open and accommodate their seemingly unquenchable demands.
As licensed sales professionals it is important we understand the changes forced by this generation’s incredibly dynamic and diverse group. The first boomers were born when Bing Crosby crooned “I Can’t Begin To Tell You”–the number-one song in January 1946. The last of this generation came along in late 1964, when the Beatles were topping the charts with “I Feel Fine.” They were the rock ‘n’ roll generation, and the first raised on the new technology of television. They joined the Peace Corps, fought in Vietnam, or fought against the war in the streets or on campuses. They watched men walk the face of the moon. “Don’t trust anyone over 30” was their generation’s warning, until they arrived at that age.
They entered the workforce in droves in the 1970s, one of the major causes of “stagflation.” They wore polyester (well, some did). They did the “Hustle.” They invented the PC and the Internet (along with Al Gore). They had kids, lots of them, in the 1980s and ‘90s. For better or worse, they even made it to the White House…twice.
Their children–Gen Y–are your emerging customers but don’t forget about this latest “Greatest Generation.” The boomers still pack a punch in market potential. Boomers are affluent and educated, and they are approaching a time in their lives when both opportunities and stresses are creating new demands for a range of new products and services.
The new rules of retirement
Retirement? Most of them either can’t or don’t want to. They want to keep on truckin’, baby. A desire to stay active and connected motivates this generation to once again rewrite the rules. Boomers may be the first generation to take a pass on retirement. They see retirement as a transition, not a termination.