In the last fifty years there has been a dramatic change in the populations of developed nations. It started with the boom in births after World War II but since then lower fertility and greater longevity mean an age wave of baby boomers is now dominating our personal, social, financial and political lives.
Many of the things we take for granted have emerged because of the demands or needs of the baby boomer generation. At each stage in their lives, they have transformed the issues that were important to them at that age.
- As teenagers they transformed the music industry with rock and roll and the food industry with snack foods and eating out.
- As young adults, they transformed the fashion industry and redefined sex roles and practices.
- In jobs, they transformed workplaces with maternity leave, flexitime and other work-balance innovations.
- When they had children, they transformed parenting and the education system.
- As they got older, they revolutionised health care and made technology an everyday part of life.
- As they move towards retirement, they have pushed for changes in investment products and aged care.
The earliest baby boomers born in the mid-late 1940s are now in their 60s. Many of their generation are now considering retirement and the challenge of whether they have enough saved to live the lifestyle they want for the rest of their lives without working. Some observers have suggested many baby boomers may “retire retirement” as an outdated model.
- Concerns to maintain physical and mental fitness and slow the onset of ageing.
- Many boomers have large amounts of discretionary dollars saved from successful careers, investments and inheritances.
- New life stages such as empty nesting, being an active grandparent, caring for ageing relatives and re-entering the workforce.
- A shift away from acquiring material possessions towards buying enjoyable and satisfying experiences.
- A continued shortage of time due to complex lifestyles.
Above all, expect the baby boomers to continue to change the world. Watch for a revolution in their personal, social and financial lives. If you are a boomer, start stirring – your generation represents the majority in Australia and politicians, institutions and businesses know the value of listening to the majority.