Who Are The Baby Boomers?
Remember that civil war song, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again—Hurrah! Hurrah!”? Well, those World War II Johnnies and the ladies who “all turned out” made a whole lot of babies when that war ended.
Born between 1946 and 1964, there are nearly 80 million of those post-war babies in the United States. The 8.5 million Canadian boomers are generally defined as those born between 1947 and 1966, because Canadian soldiers were repatriated later than American servicemen.
As a group, boomers head the world’s most powerful companies, have tremendous purchasing power, a strong work ethic (live to work rather than work to live), thrive on action and causes, push hard on economic, political, and social reform, and are, generally, fierce competitors.
Boomers born between 1946 and 1955 have different outlooks on life from those born between 1956 and 1964. The older boomers were influenced by events such as the assassinations of Martin Luther King and John and Robert Kennedy, the moonwalk, the Vietnam War, social experimentation, civil rights, the women’s movement, sexual freedom, and drugs. They appear to be more experimental, individualistic, free-spirited, and oriented toward social causes.
The younger boomers, on the other hand, were influenced by the cold war, raging inflation, gasoline shortages, AIDS, Watergate, and Nixon’s resignation. Therefore, they are a bit more cynical, less optimistic, and more distrustful.
Baby boomers will live longer, stay healthier, and be more active than any prior generation; however, because of economic crises resulting in financial setbacks, they will probably have to work longer than their parents’ generation. Even if they don’t have to work, many will choose to do so because they enjoy the social opportunities and mental stimulation a job or volunteer work can provide.
Unfortunately, most boomers have not saved sufficient funds for a comfortable retirement, and many in the United States who thought they had saved appropriately, lost much of their home equity in the 2008 financial meltdown.
Many senior Canadians do not want to retire and/or simply cannot afford to do so, and employers need them to remain in the workforce. They do not view age 65 as a magic number that should force them out of the labor pool.
Following are a few excerpts from an article byMark Miller titled “Seven Ways Boomer Retirees Are Different,” published in Reuters on February 5, 2013:
“The baby boomer generation has broken the mold at every stage of life, and it looks like old age won’t be any different. Boomers aren’t heading quietly into retirement. They’re launching businesses, embracing digital technology and living abroad in greater numbers than ever before.
“Twenty-one percent of baby boomers say they are “interested” or “very interested” in retiring abroad, according to a survey by the Center for Medical Tourism Research at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.”
That 21% equates to more than 16 million boomers from the States alone. As the boomers begin to understand what these trends mean to them personally, some of them will be looking toward Mexico as a place to reinvent themselves. For many others, the very idea of moving to a foreign country at this stage of their lives is incomprehensible.
“This is a generation,” says Ken Dychtwald, president of the consulting firm Age Wave, “which is far more comfortable, and even addicted in some ways, to change and newness and adventure. They are going to pioneer a lifestyle where people reinvent themselves again and again and again.”
(Ed. Note: Blue is the author of Baby Boomers: Reinvent Your Retirement in Mexico.)
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