Baby Boomers Have Untapped Potential as a Legion of Retired Activists – Inverse

Retirement is on the mind of baby boomers: Since 2011 an estimated 10,000 boomers have turned 65 each day. Now the question is whether the generation that kickstarted the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s will retire to Arnold Palmers and Jeopardy! reruns or purpose their newfound free time to join activist causes. Boomers are known to talk the talk of idealism, but their actual participation in activist movements has been anemic compared with the potential their massive numbers could mean.

Of course, sheer numbers is no guarantee of energy or even of willpower. But it takes only a small fraction of a huge cohort to make a difference. “Given the low level of activism at midlife, questions can be raised about any predicted upsurge in activism as the boomers move into old age,” writes Boston College professor John Williams in the journal Generations. “However, there are reasons to believe that there may be at least some increase in the level of senior activism with the aging of the boomers. Even if there were no increase in the proportion of the elderly population politically active, there would be reason to expect an increase in the amount of activism on demographic grounds alone.”

The size of the boomer generation is really where their power as a generational force lies — by 2020, for the first time in U.S. history, more Americans will be above 65 than 5 or under, according to Pearson. Their numbers have shaped Congress for the past two decades and will continue to do so for at least another 10 years: Boomers currently compose 63 percent of the House and 62 percent of the Senate.

Described as “idealist” by generational analysts, baby boomers are categorized as a generation that “uncompromisingly adheres to their deeply held principles all their lives.” This makes for a gridlocked Congress — but could be the characterization that could make for a legion of passionate activists.

A Bernie Sanders supporter at a campaign rally in Virginia.

A Bernie Sanders supporter at a campaign rally in Virginia.

Jeri Shepherd of Greeley, Colorado says that most of the people she sees being politically active are either the really young, or the people her age or older. Greeley, 57, retired from public defense in 2010. While she works occasionally now at her own practice, Greeley has found that not working full time has freed her up for political activism.

“I started getting involved in party politics in 2004, so knowing that I would have time to work on campaigns was certainly a factor in the timing of my decision to retire,” Greeley tells Inverse.

The central point of Greeley’s activism is the Bernie Sanders campaign. She has volunteered at Sanders events and is involved in canvas launches. In September her birthday party doubled as a fundraising event — Sanders and Greeley happen to share the same birth date.

“I’ve met some extraordinary people through volunteering — part of what is fun about getting involved in campaigns is getting meet so many people from different generations,” Greeley says. “As a whole, volunteers tend to be younger or older, because who else has the time to do it? If you’re trying to volunteering while working with a full-time job, you’re not going to have a lot of time to campaign and what not — you’re going to be busy with your family, especially if you have small children at home.”

Greeley’s passion notwithstanding, boomer generation activism won’t be predictably left or right. The generation is politically polarized, in part because boomers are “the first U.S. generation to experience a mixture of national pride and cynicism about the role of their country to the world.” The exit polling for boomers showed a narrower margin between parties than any other generation in the 2004, 2008, and 2012 presidential elections.

The youngest boomers (those born between 1962 and 1964) and the oldest boomers (born 1946 to 1947), who came of age at either the height of the Vietnam War or the hippie era, tend to lean the most Democratic. The in-between boomers, born 1950 to 1953, are usually more Reagan-friendly Republican. But they’re all liable to swap parties on you.

“Predicting the politics of the highly important baby boom generation over the next decade as the group moves into its senior years is highly speculative,” reads a 2014 Gallup report. “Baby boomers, holding the distinction of the largest generation in the U.S. population, will continue to exert disproportionate influence over the U.S. political process for at least the next 25 years.”

A Tea Party protester outside a fundraiser for President Obama.

A Tea Party protester outside a fundraiser for President Obama.

Case in point: On the opposite side of the spectrum of Greeley and her fellow Sanders volunteers is the Tea Party, which, writes Jim Spence and Curtis Ellis in the Los Angeles Times is “a harbinger of midlife crisis, not political crisis.” Mostly white and male, as of 2010, 46 percent of Tea Party members were between the ages of 46 and 64.

“For men of a certain age, it [the Tea Party] offers a counterculture experience familiar from adolescence — underground radio, esoteric tracts, consciousness-raising teach-ins, and rallies replete with extroverted behavior to shock the squares,” write Spence and Ellis. “But the (often-overlooked) truth about the ‘60s is that the great accomplishments we associate with that era — civil rights, putting a man on the moon — were made not by boomers but by the generation born before World War II.”

Protesters of the draft and the Vietnam War in 1968.

Protesters of the draft and the Vietnam War in 1968.

In a report on the older members of the nonprofit sector, baby boomers reported that the felt anxious about their future — how would they stay relevant once they retired; how would they be able to contribute to progressive social change? They said they liked the energy of young activists, but essentially didn’t trust their commitment levels to get the job done — a point of irony as studies as historians have pointed out that the baby boomers who protested the Vietnam War in the 1960s were noticeably absent in the voices against the Iraq War.

Activism in their retired years seems to be a natural solution for baby boomers who want to stay relevant. Apathy may have inflicted the generation, but their sheer mass means that a great number of foot soldiers for whatever cause they choose to champion. What will motivate them? Greeley’s opinion, that a cause supported by intergenerational activists is more likely to succeed, would be a start. After all, while millennials missed out on contributing to the social movements of civil rights titans like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., they may actually be better activists.

“It’s a lot easier for people to understand a generation is active if they see one million people marching in the streets,” writes David Burstein in Mic. “But a million people marching in the street isn’t as effective in producing change as it was 50 years ago.” Boomers have become the ruling generation, the status quo. Concomitantly, they may be complacent. If they need to find the spark to get moving, they should just ask their kids.

Y.O.L.O. – The Differences Between Baby Boomers and Millenials

Do you work or live with a Millennial? Chances are that if you are a Baby Boomer, or even a member of Generation X, you find them to be quite different from you. For instance, you may have found (like I have) that to get them to answer the phone, you may first need to send them a text!

Millenials, also known as Generation Y, were born between the early 1980s and early 2000s. Currently, there are 83 million Millenials in the United States and they comprise the largest demographic in the country, being even more numerous than Boomers at 74 million.

Here are the top 10 traits of Millenials:

1. Want to make a difference

2. Work/life balance is important to them

3. Want more time with family and friends

4. There are no winners and losers

5. Do everything in groups – even dating

6. Want to be praised just for showing up

7. Have high expectations for quick advancement

8. Y.O.L.O. – You Only Live Once – so they are not going to wait for life to happen

9. May not necessarily work a traditional job

10. Connect with people – but technology is the tool that they use

Whereas 56% of American adults own a smartphone, 80% of Millenials have an Android or iPhone device and social media as their constant companions. 96% of Millenials participate in one or more forms of social media.

Losers?

Back when you graduated from college, if you are a Boomer, you may have thought that only the “losers” moved back in with their parents. Not only is this now an accepted practice among Millenials, it is almost expected.

Because job opportunities after the Great Recession are still not as plentiful as they were for Baby Boomers when they started their careers and college debt levels have zoomed in recent years, 22.6 million Millenials have moved back in with Mom and/or Dad. If Millenials are employed after graduation from college, they likely are underemployed.

Besides the fact that many Millenials are physically still at home, family has always been important to them. In many cases, their parents viewed them as partners in the family, much different from the “command and control” ways many of their Boomer parents were raised by members of The Silent Generation.

“We’re Number Ten!”

Parents of Millenials made sure that while growing up their children took advantage of plenty of scholastic, social and sports opportunities. Millenials were proud to receive a trophy, even if their soccer team finished in tenth place.

Most Important Things to Millenials

According to Pew Research, Millenials say the most important things in their lives will be:

• 52% – being a good parent

• 30% – having a successful marriage

• 21% – helping others in need

• 20% – owning a home

• 15% – living a very religious life

• 15% – having a high-paying career

• 9% – having lots of free time

Millenials at Work

I recently was delivering a seminar to a group that consisted exclusively of Millenials. No one in the room was above the age of 30.

When I deliver the seminar to Baby Boomers and ask the question, “Who is a workaholic?”, 40 to 60% of the room raise their hands. But in this case, in response to the same question, not a single Millennial raised his or her hand. Zero.

Millenials think of themselves quite differently on the job as do veteran human resource professionals. For instance, according to a Beyond.com survey of 6,361 job seekers and veteran HR professionals taken from April 12 to May 9, 2013, here is how Millenials view themselves:

• Hard working – 86% agreed

• Loyal to their employers – 82%

• People-savvy – 65%

• Tech-savvy – 35%

• Fun-loving – 14%

On the other hand, here is how Millenials were described by the HR pros:

• Tech-savvy – 86% agreed

• Fun-loving – 39%

• People-savvy – 14%

• Hard working – 11%

• Loyal to their employers – 1%

Won’t be Here Long

If you have a Millennial on your team at work, it may be good for you to know that 91% of Millennials expect to be in their current jobs only three years or less. They only plan to stick around to get enough experience, and then move on. Remember Y.O.L.O. (You Only Live Once.) That percentage would translate into them having 15 to 20 jobs during their working lives.

Where Can We Park?

Unlike their parents who moved out to the suburbs to start their families, 41% of Millenials want to live in or near the city. One of the reasons they can do that is that while 50% of their parents were married with children at the same age, only 12% of Millennials have a spouse and their own family.

10 reasons Baby Boomers are the worst generation



(Language warning:) Gen-Xer Gavin McInnes calls Baby Boomers “the worst generation.” Ironically, his parents, who are also Boomers, hate their own cohort and passed this along to Gavin – who passes it along to you! MORE:

READ Gavin McInnes’ “gut-punchingly hilarious” memoir, “The Death of Cool”

How Baby-Boomers Can Effectively Coach and Mentor Millennials

There has been a great deal written and discussed about GenY and their soon to be dominance in the workplace. How are we (Baby-Boomers) to prepare them to run companies, marketing campaigns, and innovation labs? By effectively coaching and mentoring them!

The Bureau of Labor Statistics state that Baby-Boomers will hold an average of 3-5 jobs in their careers; GenX 11-15; and GenY 25+. Why is this? Many state that Millennials evidently are not getting the upward movement they believe they deserve and, therefore, feel compelled to change jobs. My take is different. I do not blame Millennials for this, but existing company business professionals for not mentoring and coaching them. They are not being taken under the wings of company managers and co-workers and led through the labyrinth of corporate bureaucracies. How can a new college recruit be expected to know the inner-workings of a large corporation? And this high-rate of turnover is extremely expensive for businesses. An article in INC magazine by Suzanne Lucas states: “What do all these costs add up to? Well how much? Estimates run as high as 150 percent of annual salary. Much less for lower level positions, but still significant enough to make retention a high priority for your business.” Most companies realize this, and have set up on-boarding programs, but they only go so far.

While an organization can set up formal mentoring programs, I believe “natural” connections work the best. What is the number one attribute of a good mentor? Listening! I’ve always subscribed to the idea that God gave you two ears and one mouth so you will listen twice as much as you speak. [This is especially true for successful sales people – they need to uncover the “real” needs of their customers before a sale is made.] You need to hear the challenges/concerns of the [typically] younger employee before you can assist them.

A common misconception is that a mentor has to be someone senior or in a higher management position; mentors can be peers, who may actually be better able to give hard-hitting advice. I also believe someone out of the direct chain of command will make a better mentor. Mentoring, while I believe works best in an informal setting, it needs to be done on a regular, consistent basis. Every month or every other month, depending on the assistance required. It should be done away from the workplace if possible, so you can give undivided attention. Mentoring takes time and commitment from both parties; make sure you set aside enough time so meetings are not rushed. Just as important as being mentored, is mentoring others – to play it forward. It can build your own character and give you insight to the organizational needs of others.

While coaching is similar to mentoring, I believe it is more of a process done in the chain-of-command. Both are extremely important to retain the best employees and reduce hiring costs.

The Mistake: Not Engaging The Largest Consumer Market – The Baby Boomer

Though it may seem as though the entire tween population is the consistent and unavoidable movie theater crowd, recent films and TV shows have proven that with the right script and the right cast, the baby boomer is the actual market to target.

Brands have a phenomenal opportunity to engage with these customers through new entertainment content specifically being created for this market.

Older audiences have been incredibly underserved as an entertainment media audience, but Hollywood has started to realize the major opportunities being missed as a result, which provides brands a phenomenal opportunity to engage with this, the largest generational customer base.

The baby boomer generation is massive, the largest ever born in U.S. history. Healthier, more active, and more likely to stay in the workforce longer than their parents, boomers are far more affluent with money to spend. It is estimated that baby boomers will control 70% of the nation’s disposable income over the next 20 years. As such, baby boomers offer the most disposable income – and free time – available to spend while watching movies.

Baby boomers are one of the hottest markets to Hollywood right now, and a multitude of films are in pre-production, offering phenomenal starring roles for brands eager to engage the audience. Below are five ways to tap into this opportunity before your competitors do:

1. Oldies but Goodies: Align your brand with content that is already proven to capture the baby boomers attention.

As for any age group, nostalgia is an incredibly effective advertising strategy. Research proves that to transcend cultures and tap into emotions that fuel purchase action as a result of the increased feelings of connectedness.

NBC figured this out with the Holiday season broadcast of The Sound of Music Live!, bringing back the classic in true throwback form: as a live televised musical, a format not utilized since the Eisenhower era. The program drew 18.6 million viewers with a median age of 55.

2. Books which already have an established baby boomer fan base.

Brand managers can also look to the NY Times best sellers list to see what books have resonated with baby boomers. Books that have proven to be successful films geared towards baby boomers: Philomena, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and virtually any feature adaptation of a Tom Clancy novel. Hollywood currently has acquisitioned over 100 books slated to be turned into films in the near future, and baby boomer targeted content are amongst them.

3. TV shows and feature films with actors who appeal to the baby boomer demographic.

In order to appeal to this growing number of older viewers, numerous TV shows have recruited older actors. CBS brought on 66-year-old Ted Danson and notable Cheers alum to the cast of CSI in 2011, while Tom Sellack, 69, joined the cast of Blue Bloods. Mark Harmon, 62, has been the star of NCIS for over a decade now. And this coming fall, Scott Bakula, 59, will join the cast of the spinoff NCIS: New Orleans. Even Fox, the network with the youngest audience, brought on 46-year-old musician Harry Connick Jr, who has become a favorite of the mom viewers.

As for films, any project Meryl Streep is attached to tends to garner high box office numbers, particularly with baby boomers. Actors such as Tom Cruise, Liam Neeson, and Bruce Willis – all who are over the age of 50 – are more than just relevant names at the cinema, and continue to drive and deliver strong numbers at the box office.

3. Don’t be afraid to partner with projects who are taking modern-day risks.

The 50+ generation may be older, but they are not old. In fact, they are the leaders in technology adoption and media consumption.

An example of this is the Oscar-nominated film Gravity and its use of 3D technology. In the past, the most predominate use of 3D has been geared more towards children, as most would assume that kids would be the most eager and willing to embrace the advanced technology.

With Gravity, however, with the combination of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney being an older cast, the technology married with the storyline performed extremely well at the box office. The film succeeded in capturing an older audience who were more than willing and able to pay in the extra dollars for 3D, and grossed over $221 million with 59% of the audience being predominantly older.

As technology evolves, so are baby boomers, said Beth Brady, global head of Nielson Marketing. And it’s something marketers must not forget. “Don’t tell them [baby boomers] they’re old because they do not think they’re old. They think, ‘Not only am I not old, but 50 is the new 30,'” said Brady.

4. Create strategic, promotional partnerships with film and TV projects.

One of the best ways to leverage a brand experience interwoven into content appealing to baby boomers is to create strategic, promotional partnerships that live outside the theater using already planned brand media or available retail space. Sponsor screenings or explore ways to work with the film’s marketing department with grass roots efforts. The possibilities are endless. This allows the brand manager to create a multi-prong campaign strategy that resonates and creates higher awareness and engagement.

Fox Searchlight’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, starring two actresses in their 70s and targeted to people over 50, was the breakthrough movie that had studios immediately adding films to their slates that appeal to the baby boomer demographic. Fox Searchlight even held screenings through American Association for Retired Persons and specifically targeted retirement hot spots, including Arizona and Florida. The comedic drama ended up surpassing $100 million at the box office on a $10 million budget, an overwhelming response that was well beyond the production’s expectations.

Identifying the baby boomer generation as a valuable audience is the first step. In order to strategically align your product with these types of opportunities and optimize exposure to the baby boomer audience, working with industry experts who understand the role each generational group plays in the modern entertainment world is invaluable. Tap into this underserved consumer group – with money and time to spend – before your competitors do.

♥Mezclita Para La Tecnica Baby Boomer♥



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Baby Boomer Seniors: Beyond the Rocking Chair

Beyond retirement and the iconic, stereotypical senior porch rocking chair, Baby Boomer seniors today are living longer and finding surprising, new ways to share their time, energy, and talents with others in their later years.

Do you remember watching your grandmother quietly knitting, while watching TV or listening to the radio for seemingly hours as your grandfather sat with her or puttered around the house? Well those days have passed as Baby Boomers and seniors all across the US are taking on new challenges, new roles, and new activities reflective of the fast paced times and economic climate we live in.

Today, Baby Boomer seniors are stepping out more than ever, even taking college classes in various areas of study and interest. In fact, proudly, some 20 years ago, my own mother graduated from the University of Maryland when she was 72 years old with a major in sociology, and a minor in linguistics. Yes, it took her 10 years, many buses and many, many late nights as she worked toward her lifetime goal of becoming a college graduate with her 4 year degree. To everyone’s utter surprise, she even successfully took algebra to get that degree. The course load was heavy, the time was well spent, and she was able to attain her lifelong goal… And it kept her young, alert, and active. My children, siblings and I will never forget them announcing over the loudspeaker that she was the oldest candidate that day at graduation!

With current statistics revealing that an astonishing 80 percent of seniors plan to work past age 65, and that one quarter to one half of them have not been able to save for retirement, things are bound to be different for the rapidly aging Baby Boomer generation.

It has been estimated that when the Baby Boomer generation reaches 65 years of age, the 65 and above demographic will be twice what it is today. With these unprecedented, massive numbers of seniors depending on Social Security for retirement, and working late into their senior years to supplement their Social Security income, Baby Boomers are in the prime, financial position to need to work longer- at least part-time- into their later years.

With that said, they will continue to be one of the busiest generations ever, as they balance working into their later years to earn extra income, help their children with their grandchildren, volunteer in their communities and churches working with the homeless, youth programs and literacy programs, register for college courses, join senior centers to take art classes, exercise and other classes, and the list goes on.

With this generation of Baby Boomer seniors putting aside the rocking chair in exchange for a more central role in American culture and society, many Baby Boomer seniors will be in the position to share their lifelong, valuable experiences, expertise, and the wisdom of their years with many people in and outside of their homes. Striving to make a meaningful difference in the world around them, these dynamic, active Baby Boomer seniors will be in the strategic position to positively impact people of all ages and backgrounds in unprecedented ways.

Future Thinking launches results of Baby Boomer study 11 January 2016 – Research Magazine

UK — Future Thinking is launching the results of Ageing Well, a study of Baby Boomers ( 50-70 year-olds) in the UK, France, Spain and Germany. 

The online study, in conjunction with marketing consultancy Seniosphere Conseil, gathers views from 1,600 Baby Boomers on what they do to age well, where they get advice, their physical and mental wellbeing and spending priorities, among other issues. 

“In recent years the 50+ market has become increasingly important to brands,” said Julian Kenway, commercial director at Future Thinking. “Our Ageing Well study, in association with Seniosphere, helps to understand the effects of ageing and the evolving needs of the baby boomer generation.”

Findings will be presented at two breakfast seminars in February. More information can be found here