Impact of Boomers Working Past Retirement Years

Impact of Boomers Working Past Retirement Years

 

As people are living longer and the age for receiving social security payments is extended, baby boomers have found that they are working well into what used to be considered retirement years.  USA Today reported, “The Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll found a baby boom generation planning to work into retirement years — with 73% planning to work past retirement, up from 67% this spring. The poll involved online interviews with 1,095 baby boomers.” According to the Examiner, “boomers are likely going to work five to 10 years longer before retiring.”

There are currently 77 million baby boomers.  This group has found it difficult to retire because “41% of boomers said they are expecting to have to scale back their lifestyle in some way in retirement and 31% believe they will struggle financially.”

Having a lot of baby boomers in the workplace has had an impact on the post-boomer generations.  In the article Millennials Hoping for Boomers to Retire, it was noted that many people who used to retire in their 60s are continuing to work, making it harder for Millennials to find employment.

There are currently four generations coexisting in the workplace. These 4 generations include:

World War II Generation (aka depression babies) – Those born prior to 1945

Baby Boomers – Those born 1946 to 1964

Generation X – Those born 1965 to 1982

Generation Y (aka the Millennials) – Those born after 1982

Baby Boomers represent the largest segment of the American work force.  However, millennials will be replacing the baby boomer group soon.  According to Harvard Business Review /HBR.org, “The makeup of the global workforce is undergoing a seismic shift: In four years Millennials—the people born between 1977 and 1997—will account for nearly half the employees in the world. In some companies, they already constitute a majority.”

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Boomers Worry More about Their Brain than Their Body

Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, have long been associated with having rejected traditional values.  Their notions about what they value in terms of their mind and body may not fit the traditional outlook as well.  Although they fear cancer and heart disease, it may be a surprise to note that they list “fear of memory loss” as their second biggest concern.  Cancer is their first and heart disease their third.  This information was obtained from a Strong.com poll by Knowledge Networks of Menlo Park, conducted through interviewing 1078 Baby Boomers. 

As boomers age, they aren’t taking care of their health as well as they could.  In the article Boomers Losing the Battle of the Bulge, the Arizona Republic reported, “Boomers are more obese than other generations, a new poll says, setting them up for unhealthy senior years.  Only half of the obese Boomers say they are regularly exercising.”

Rather than focusing on having a healthy weight, Boomers are working on avoiding dementia.  In this same article it was noted, “More than half of Boomers polled say they regularly do mental exercises such as crossword puzzles.” 

Marilynn Mobley from Baby Boomer Insights reported, “We boomers live in fear of being diagnosed with Alzheimers. Too many of us have watched our grandparents die with it and some of us are already dealing with parents who are showing signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Now, there’s evidence that our fear is not unfounded. We boomers are actually now regarded as “Generation Alzheimers.” One out of every eight of us will die with or from the disease. And unlike other common boomer diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and heart conditions, there’s really nothing we can do about it. There’s no cure; in fact, there’s not even a known way to significantly slow the progression of the disease.”

Boomers are not the only ones that fear Alzheimer’s.  They may have good reason for this.  The Examiner.com recently reported statistics from: The Metlife Foundation survey, What America Thinks. “Recent estimates show more than 26 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s. The number of Americans aged 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to reach 7.7 million in 2030 – a greater than 50 percent increase from today because of the aging Baby Boomer population.”

Baby Boomers Keeping Plastic Surgeons Busy

The popularity of plastic surgery is undeniable.  What may be interesting to note is how much of an impact the Baby Boomer generation has on the number of plastic surgery procedures performed.  Baby Boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964.   Karen Zupko and Sheila Hall from the Aesthetic Society News magazine recently reported some interesting Baby Boomer, cosmetic and plastic surgery statistics:

  • 7,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 per day in 2011 – This will jump to 10,000 per day over the next 18 years according to Pew Research.
  • People age 51-64 account for 28% of total plastic surgery procedures
  • People over 65 account for 7.3% of total plastic surgery procedures
  • Baby Boomers make up 35% of plastic surgery patients
  • The rate of men age 50-64 who color their hair grew from 3-10% from 1999 to 2000
  • 2,437,165 Botox procedures were performed in 2010 (all age groups) – Non-invasive procedures are growing with men accounting for 15% of injectable market and 26% of skin rejuvenation market.

How can plastic surgeons capitalizing on this demographic?    The authors suggest a few ideas to appeal to this group:

  • Have marketing material in larger font for ease of reading
  • Offer a pampering environment
  • Don’t waste patients’ time by making them wait
  • Focus on men too as they are becoming more interested in plastic surgery
  • Don’t focus on age in marketing because according to Pew Research, this group feels 9 years younger than their true age
  • Make things convenient for them

For those targeting Baby Boomers in their marketing plan, they may want to consider television advertising as Boomers watch more television than any other generation.

For more information about plastic surgery and specific procedures, click here.

Coexisting with Four Generations in the Modern Workplace

The modern workplace has seen growth in the 16 to 24-year olds and over 55 year olds.  With people living and working longer, this growth has led to four generations of workers trying to coexist. This may present challenges to management.  According to The East Valley Tribune, “It’s not merely age that differentiates these workers, said AARP officials, but rather how they approach accomplishing different assignments and tasks, as well as how much “work” defines their everyday lives.” 

These 4 generations include:

World War II Generation (aka depression babies) – Those born prior to 1945

Baby Boomers – Those born 1946 to 1964

Generation X – Those born 1965 to 1982

Generation Y (aka the Millennials) – Those born after 1982

According to the Tribune each of these groups has unique needs:

World War II Generation – appreciate a logical approach to work, with clear job expectations that are fair and consistent. This group prefers face-to-face communication rather than phone or email. . .are reluctant to buck the system, uncomfortable with conflict and reticent when they disagree with their boss or fellow co-workers.

Baby Boomers – represent the largest segment of the American work force. There are roughly 77 million Boomers who are service-oriented, appreciate a team perspective, and are motivated workers . . . appreciate personal communication and the telephone, are not necessarily “budget-minded” and are uncomfortable with conflict. In addition, some may put “success ahead of result.” They also insist on phased retirement and health and wellness programs to foster a healthy lifestyle.

Generation X – are independent and creative souls who are adaptable, technology-literate and like to buck the system. They don’t need a boss constantly looking over their shoulder as they enjoy being turned loose to meet deadlines. . .this group enjoys communicating by voicemail and email and is looking for development opportunities and to add certifications to their resumes for upward mobility.

Generation Y – brings to the workplace optimism, a can-do spirit and the ability to multitask, but they are often inexperienced and require supervision and structure. This group, which prefers instant messaging, blogs, text messages and email, has difficulty communicating in the workplace and likes to be spoken with one-on-one.”

Baby Boomers Turn 65 This Year: Keeping the Illusion of Youth While Staying Healthy

This year the oldest baby boomers will turn 65.  If you call a baby boomer “elderly”, you might find that is not a term they take lightly.  The days of older generations taking it easy and moving to quiet communities have faded.  This is a very proud group that wants to remain vital and active for as long as possible.

Although boomers may not have noticed it, marketers are using subtle targeting methods to reach this group without insulting them. Some companies are using larger typefaces and avoiding colors that are hard to distinguish between to allow for their packaging to be distinct to older eyes.  If aging boomers haven’t realized their clothing size may remaind the same, while their body size increases, they may not be aware that clothing companies are doing something called vanity sizing.  Although not necessarily unique to only boomers, Mesh.com reported, “Gap, the parent company of Banana Republic, was contacted to ask about the new double-zero size. They said they’re responding to the demands of their customers. They said women want smaller sizes.”

Boomers may dress for success still but father time is creeping up on them.  Companies are doing their best to allow boomers to age gracefully, keeping their dignity intact.  WJS.com reported, “Kimberly-Clark spent two years overhauling its Depend brand, anticipating boomers would demand changes to the image and design of a line long considered too diaper-like and institutional. By 2020, Kimberly-Clark expects 45 million boomers will need incontinence products, up from 38 million currently.”

Those not ready for diapers, are not ready to sit on the porch swing and rock either.  In the past, retired generations paid off their mortgages to live their twilight years free of debt.  Boomers may be downsizing but many plan to move into new homes.  “A big driver of boomers’ increased spending is the fact that over one-third plan to move to a new home within five years of becoming empty nesters.”

Boomers may not be retiring as early either.  The stock market crisis is partly to blame, but there are other reasons.   Another issue facing this generation is that they often have to not only care for their children but their own aging parents.  They have often been called the sandwich generation because of this.  US News Money reported, “Almost a third (31 percent) of relatively wealthy Americans are supporting older and younger immediate family members at the same time, according to a new Merrill Lynch Wealth Management survey of 1,000 people with investable assets of $250,000 or more.” The stress from this has caused many boomers to have difficulty with their jobs and health, leading to a generation that experiences higher rates of depression.

RetirementBoomerStyle listed some recommendations for this generation and how to stay as healthy as possible, “So, while baby boomers are caring for the health of their family, they should keep themselves in mind as well. A diet that is high in fiber is ideal for the baby boomer, and including lean meats in the diet will provide the protein that is needed for energy and muscle toning. Baby boomer women should also considered taking a supplement that includes omega-3 fatty acids; this will improve memory and brain function, and make it easier for the body to fight off free radicals. In addition to taking supplements, women should also be sure to eat some form of fatty fish each week, such as salmon or tuna. Men of this generation should be sure to eat foods that are rich in lycopene, a substance that can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene can be found in foods like tomatoes and watermelon, so eating these fruits fresh a few times a week can make a big difference when it comes to preventative health.”

Millennials Replacing Baby Boomer Workforce: Meeting Their Unique Needs

Big changes are occurring in the current workforce.  The dynamic is shifting as companies are experiencing a shift toward millennials replacing baby boomer generations. According to Harvard Business Review /HBR.org, “The makeup of the global workforce is undergoing a seismic shift: In four years Millennials—the people born between 1977 and 1997—will account for nearly half the employees in the world. In some companies, they already constitute a majority.” 

The book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, addresses the unique personalities and needs of the post-boomer worker.  For simplicity sake, these post-boomer generations are given the title NewGens.  It can get confusing when Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials and other titles are used.  The term NewGens encompasses all of these groups. 

Post-boomer generations have received a bad reputation at times due to their need for immediate gratification.  Perhaps they are different but different isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many have high expectations but are willing to put forth the efforts it takes to achieve their goals. HBR.org reported, “Millennials have high expectations of their employers—but they also set high standards for themselves. They’ve been working on their résumés practically since they were toddlers, because there are so many of them and so few (relatively speaking) spots at top schools and top companies. They’re used to overachieving academically and to making strong personal commitments to community service. Keep them engaged, and they will be happy to overachieve for you.”

image via hbr.org

This new group of employees has considerable knowledge that can be crucial for a company’s success.  Younger generations, unlike the boomer generation, tend to move around in their jobs more often.  They are less likely to remain in a single company throughout their career. 

Are companies doing enough to keep their current employees happy?  Workforce.com stated the following about the millennial generation, “Large companies don’t move fast enough for that generation, which is [switching employers and] looking to expose themselves to new and different things. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show the average American will have 10.8 jobs from age 18 to 42. Many workers have clung to their jobs amid the recession and high unemployment. Still, the overall turnover rate across all industries was 16.3 percent in 2009, according to a survey from Compdata.”

Part of keeping this younger generation interested in staying at their current position is to keep their attention.   Training must be aimed at their specific needs.  This is a technology-based group that likes to learn that way.  They also like to receive their information quickly.  Shorter, 3-5 minute training videos, can be effective.  This is the YouTube generation and employers must realize this and keep up with the trends. 

Aimglobal.org suggests the following guidelines for employers when dealing with millennial workers:

Ø Training. If you want a job well done, employers need to tell Millennials how to do it. However, don’t just give orders. Millennials want to know the reasoning behind them and the training offered to be successful.

Ø Mentoring. Partner your new Millennial with one of your veterans. The veteran can show the newcomer the ropes and conversely the newcomer can offer fresh ideas.

Ø Integration. Involve Millennials in a variety of projects, assignments, and career opportunities. Mixing it up keeps their interest.

Ø Team Collaboration. Millennials are comfortable in team settings. They like to collaborate with others especially on team-based projects and environments.

Ø Support Future Pursuits. During their employment at your company, Millennials will face decisions regarding the next stage of their lives including marriage, buying a house, having children, etc. Developing a guidance program around these changes demonstrates how your company will be there to support them.

For more complete information on post-boomer generations in the workplace and how to deal with their unique personality needs, click here

Millennial Women – What Millennial Women Think

Millennial women – born between 1980 and 1995 – are part of a generation that’s bigger than the baby boomers and more influential. Studies indicate that millennial women believe work-life balance is achievable and don’t see gender bias as an issue. They’re entering a workforce that is 50% women and will soon dominate the workplace. If you’re a millennial woman, how do you see yourself as different from previous generations, and what are your expectations for the future? Share Your Opinions

Working Millennials

If you have not already seen it, I would recommend watching the 60 Minutes show “The Millennials are Coming”. It is an interesting look at the expectations of post-boomer generations. Dr. Twenge has also done some important research in this area. She has been cited as saying, “today’s employees are prepared to take greater risks and are encouraged and rewarded for thinking outside of the box rather than sticking to the traditional ways of doing things.” This can be advantageous, because it steers the organization away from group-think and promotes more of an entrepreneurial atmosphere. I think today’s women are much more open to new challenges. I believe understanding personalities and making adjustments based on having emotional intelligence is going to be a big factor in success and that is why my daughter, Toni Rothpletz, and I wrote our book about understanding personalities in the workplace where we address this issue in the post-boomer generation workforce. www.drdianehamilton.com
—DrDianeHamilton