Baby boomers, not millennials, most influence the auto industry – Sports –

For baby boomers, the automobile has always been a symbol of style and freedom. The generation of 76.4 million born between 1946 and 1964 who once romped in the back seats of their parents’ station wagons has determined what we drive for over a half-century. With advanced technology and designs catering to this demographic, boomers will influence our rides long past when they hang up their key chains.

In their youth, baby boomers were enticed with a Jetsonsonian future in which turbine-powered cars like GM’s 1956 Firebird II concept drove themselves. Reality has been slow to catch up.

“This generation was born into economic prosperity,” said Sheryl Connelly, a futurist for Ford Motor Co. “They witnessed the first man on the moon. They believe anything is possible.”

Former Ford and Chrysler executive Lee Iacocca anticipated baby boomers wanted to drive something fun with the 1964 Mustang, which created an entirely new segment and established a benchmark for accessible American sports cars. In its first three years, the Mustang sold 1,288,557 copies compared with just 74,224 Corvettes during the same period.

“Our market researchers confirmed that the youthful image of the new decade had a firm basis in demographic reality,” Iacocca wrote in his autobiography. “Millions of teenagers born in the baby boom that followed World War II … would account for at least half the huge increase in car sales that was predicted for the entire industry during the next 10 years.”

Those who didn’t buy Mustangs bought muscle cars like the Pontiac GTO. Or, went hippie counterculture via Volkswagen Beetles and Microbuses. They weren’t going to be caught dead in station wagons, but by the early 1970s, boomers started hatching offspring.

After Iacocca was fired from Ford in 1978 and became CEO of Chrysler, he championed the minivan. He also realized Chrysler lacked a product to compete with the popular Ford Bronco II and Chevy Blazer, so in 1987, he acquired Jeep and helped fuel the 1990s boomer-driven SUV boom.

“Cars became such an important marker for them” Connelly said. “It was romanticized with independence, an opening gateway to freedom and an extension of effort, work ethic, and aspirations. In the ’80s, their families’ formative years, the minivan had appeal. Then, came SUVs that fell under the umbrella of ‘no boundaries, no limitations.'”

In middle age, boomers embraced crossovers, which first outsold cars in 2016. That trend is not waning. Larger crossovers are ideal for those with kids still at home while smaller ones allow boomers to downsize with space for grandchildren and leisure pursuits.

“They’re in their 70s now and are aging quite differently,” continued Connelly. “They are very active, though retiring, and shifting to second careers and traveling. They are also simplifying, but want what they want in a different way. They are very involved in grandchildren’s lives.”

Boomers are shifting to compact crossovers as their vehicle of choice. Comfort and convenience features like heated leather seats, high-end audio systems, five-door utility, and frugal fuel economy come bundled in one appealing package.

“They’re a bit smaller than the ones they owned with families,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis, Edmunds. “Ingress and egress are easier as age advances — hip height is right. It makes sense it would be a popular vehicle for them as they age.”

Advanced technology also is helping boomers continue to drive long beyond their predecessors, and continue to shape what’s being offered in new cars.

According to AAA, 80 percent of people in their 70s suffer from arthritis and inflammation that makes moving difficult. Weaker muscles and reduced flexibility inhibit ability to grip the steering wheel and press pedals. As a result, those over 75 face increased fatality rates per mile traveled.

Today’s vehicles offer around-view cameras, rear cross path detection, and parking sensors to ease maneuvers. On the road, blind spot warnings, collision alert systems, and crash mitigation braking help avoid mishaps.

“Safety features aid awareness,” Caldwell said. “Driving assistance features will be helpful — especially as mobility becomes challenging. When it is difficult to turn your head, a backup camera and parking sensors will be helpful.”

While the features are luxurious, AAA recommends heated steering wheels and seats, and lumbar support to soothe arthritis and back pain. Auto power tailgates require no strength, while leather-wrapped steering wheels are easier for aging hands to grip. Leather seats make it easier to slide in and out.

Baby boomers once again are steering the automotive industry into giving them what they want and will have a far greater impact on the cars we drive than did their parents. This is not a generation that will quietly hand over the keys to their children. And they may not have to.

“Ultimately, the baby boomer car would drive itself,” Caldwell said. “It’s about mobility and to give this generation increased freedom. It’s really fantastic, something generations before never thought possible. When we talk to boomers, they’re really excited to see what’s to come and will be useful to them.”

One vision provided by Mercedes-Benz is the F015 Concept, an autonomous fuel-cell-powered four-seat lounge that can be summoned from your smartphone. Gesture-recognition controls negate cumbersome knobs and buttons.

Even today, Tesla’s Autopilot 2.0 system promises point-to-point autonomous driving while the Cadillac CT6 offers Super Cruise for hands-free freeway travel. Makes ranging from the mainstream like Ford to the luxurious like Jaguar Land Rover and BMW automatically parallel and perpendicular park. Boomers, wielding far more wealth than millennials, want this technology and automakers are paying attention.

“There’s a strong business case for the aging population,” Connelly said. “Autonomous cars will allow them to age in place instead of a senior center. Imagine the peace of mind families will have.”

Going to the doctor, favorite restaurant or hair appointment will be as easy as summoning their crossover. Baby boomers will enjoy the technology-infused freedom their childhood promised.

The Facts of Animal Testing

Alternatives to Animal Testing

As per Animal Welfare Act, the research scientists involved in animal testing are required to consider the alternative to testing on animals before beginning a research project. They must search the available literature for any alternatives, and submit their findings and search history to their concerned department.


Many people argue that as animals are less intellectually advanced (which is false statement to begin with anyway), and hence can be used to find cures for HIV, cancer or other life-threatening diseases. However, it is inhumane to take the animals out of their natural habitat, and use them for any kind of research. In US alone, more than 70m animals are blinded, maimed, hurt, killed, scalded, genetically manipulated or force-fed chemicals in the name of household products, science, educational institutes and government agencies. The animal testing is not required by the law, but is done by the companies to protect themselves from consumer lawsuits.


Testing on animals costs billions of dollars annually. To measure the severe burn on live tissue, and animal is burned alive till the flesh is charred and can be easily removed in the large pieces, while the animal is still alive. Animal’s eyelids are sewn shut, and the protein levels are measured to demonstrate that there is no difference in the levels of protein in the eyes of sight deprived. Studies on head trauma include strapping down the head of the animal, and giving high impact blows to it, resulting in severe brain damage.


Animals and humans are different, and many drugs that have been based on the animal testing had to be taken off the market due to the side-effects, that were not shown during animal studies, but proved fatal for human. There are many drugs that have passed the animal testing, but end up harming or killing the humans. Rats do not have gall bladder, dogs have different circulation system as they walk on all fours, and cats do not have enzymes that can metabolize ibuprofen.


More than half of the animal tests conducted by the cosmetic companies, and most of these studies are flawed, resulting in incorrect scientific investigations that waste money, resources and time.  More than 25 billion animals are unnecessarily killed in the labs each year. In one study, the baby monkeys were taken away from mothers, and were abused. The conclusions were drawn that neglect and abuse leads to social maladjustment and psychological damage. Such animal testing does not justify the suffering of millions of animals, and wasting billions of dollars. It is a cruel act of violence forced upon those that cannot speak up or protect themselves from the slavery that some humans seem to believe is still okay in our modern world.


There is however a possibility of using the more reliable and less expensive alternatives to animal testing. For Draize eye test, sophisticated computer models or corneas from eye banks can be used instead of using the live rabbits. Other more suitable tests include tissue culture system, chemical assay tests, human skin patches, organ and cell cultures, cloned human skin cells and computer and mathematical models.


Researchers argue that when the human life is in danger, it is better to experiment on the guinea pigs than to let people suffer or die. However, it must be kept in mind that animal testing is unjust and unethical, and there must be law enforcement to use the alternative methods.  

Ranch Retrofit: The quintessential house of the Baby Boom gets a 21st-entury makeover | Business

The ranch house, the quintessential home of Baby Boomer youth is undergoing a renaissance, at least in rapidly growing areas of South Carolina.

A wave of ranch house construction took place in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly in the newest suburban areas of the South and West. Generally, ranch houses are one-story brick homes, commonly running about 1,500 square feet with three bedrooms, a carport or one-car garage.

Besides being the “cookie-cutter” houses of the era, the small rooms kept ranches out of favor for decades. Everything from closets and bathrooms to bedrooms and living rooms was smaller by today’s standards.

But as people, particularly young adults, move to the Palmetto State in droves, the ranch house has become a hot commodity. Homes that sold for $100,000 or less in the early 1990s are now fetching prices in the $300,000 to $600,000 range. Renovated and expanded ones can go for more, according to real estate agents.

The lure goes back to the oft-noted, three most important factors in real estate: location, location, location.

Because ranch houses were part of the first wave of suburban development, they typically are closer to cities and neighborhoods with amenities that Millennials, Gen Xers and hip Boomers seek, such as shops, restaurants, concert venues and large, established parks.

The houses also tend to have larger yards and more established trees, since construction disturbances have been minimal over the last 50 years. Another appeal is that ranch houses often are in communities without homeowner’s associations, which dictate strict regulations for design and upkeep.

But buyers typically aren’t interested in living in cramped, often dark rooms that their parents and grandparents lived in. Most buy with plans to renovate and expand, notably knocking out walls and expanding ceiling heights, repurposing bedrooms for walk-in closets or bathroom expansions, converting small garages into entertainment rooms or “man caves.”

Exterior work often includes painting the brick a light color.

Hot spots, not spots

Ranch renovations are in full swing in the Mount Pleasant neighborhoods, such as The Groves and “Old Mount Pleasant,” near the Coleman Boulevard corridor, West Ashley communities such as South Windermere, Avondale, Oak Forest and Wespanee Plantation, as well as the Hampton Park area on the peninsula.

In Columbia, ranch re-dos are taking place in Rosewood and Forest Acres, according to Realtor Cindy Luoma of Keller Williams.

“Younger folks want to be where the action is,” says Luoma, noting that ranch houses are becoming available as life-long residents move into assisted living facilities or pass away.

Luoma says the typical ranch house runs about 1,300-square feet and can be purchased for “under $200,000,” but that most will add 500-900 square feet to the homes, bringing values in the range of $350,000 to $450,000.

The craze doesn’t appear to be happening in Myrtle Beach, which has less of a centralized urban area and which didn’t experience the growth in the 1950s and 1960s that Columbia and Charleston had.

“I don’t see it happening here,” says Lori White, a broker associate with Re/Max Southern Shores in Myrtle Beach.

White says ranch homes in Myrtle Beach tend to be even smaller, about 900 square feet. While they sell in the low $100,000 range, any renovations would likely make them be the most expensive homes in the neighborhood.

Mid-century meets 21st century

By contrast, the metropolitan Charleston area offers a wide array of ranch home scenarios, from people paying a premium for renovated ones to residents buying fixer-uppers and planning a major overhaul or a series of renovations.

In one week, Lauren and Benji Anderson of Mount Pleasant will be moving the family of four, which includes two young children, out of a ranch house they bought in The Groves earlier this year for a renovation expected to take at least six months.

While Anderson, a Realtor at Carolina One in Mount Pleasant, didn’t want to disclose the purchase price, she said it was far more than the $70,000 that the house sold for in 1990, back when was 1,200 square feet.

The Andersons plan to add about 500 square feet to the 1,600-square-foot home and, like most, knock out a wall between the kitchen and living room.

Lauren says, “2,100 square feet is plenty” for her family, which includes two children, a Great Dane and three cats.

She learned through the experience of living in a 3,200-square-foot house in Brickyard Plantation that it was “too much house.”

She noted that while the family didn’t use about one-third of the house, it still required work to maintain it and it served as a place to collect stuff they didn’t need.

Plus she found herself spending too much time in her car. Anderson says the main lures of buying the ranch house in The Groves was its closer proximity to schools, her work, the commercial districts of Mount Pleasant and the Cooper River bridge. Also, she likes the size of the yard, which is nearly a sixth of an acre.

While she says The Groves is starting to fill up with great examples of ranch renovations, she still wouldn’t call it a trend.

“Most people typically upsize and want newer houses, but there are a lot of people who appreciate locations where you can get on your bike or walk to the bridge and be near schools. I like a big piece of property.”

‘Good bones’

Another feature of ranch houses that people like is that they tend to be solid structures.

“These little ranches have such solid bones to be able to work with,” says Suzie Smith, a sales associate at Carolina One who has lived in a ranch house in Mount Pleasant’s Greenwich Village since 2005.

Over the years, Smith has built a tiny house in the backyard, converted a front screened-in porch to a room, expanded the house from three bedrooms and one bathroom to four bedrooms and two and a half baths. Her master bedroom and bathroom is in an addition at the back of the house.

“One of my main goals in all the additions was that I didn’t want it to look like a different house. I wanted this to look like it could have been a part of the original house. I feel good about that. I like it a lot,” says Smith, who has no plans to sell or move. “I’m happy as a clam.”

But Smith notes that not everyone who buys a ranch is interested in keeping the structures intact. Some buy and demolish just enough to be grandfathered into old setback requirements and build around the remnants. Others simply buy, demolish and start over.

And some who are buying up ranch homes are builders intent on selling the properties as “spec homes,” filling the demand for people who don’t want the hassles and frustrations of renovations and expansions.

Embracing the modern

Part of the ranch craze of the 1950s and 1960s was modern touches of the time. Some who are drawn to ranch house renovations today like that and want to bring an update to it.

Allison Merrick admits that when she and her husband, Dan Bradley, were searching for a home, they weren’t necessarily looking for ranch, but rather had geographic parameters that kept them closer to downtown Charleston and better access for his commute to Daniel Island.

Two years ago, they found a ranch house in West Ashley’s Wespanee Plantation, which is adjacent to Old Towne Creek County Park and Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site park, that was in bad condition.

“When we came in, it smelled so bad. It was so beat up and so unloved. The carpet smelled like cigarette smoke, dogs and mildew. The kitchen cabinets were falling off the walls. It needed a roof and the air conditioning was not working,” recalls Merrick.

“We looked at a bunch of houses, including two that were in better condition … I told my husband that I couldn’t get the mid-century ranch out of my head. It came down to the fact that there were a lot of things we had on our list. The things you cannot change were intact. The things you could change, all of them needed work.”

Merrick doesn’t think they got a bargain on the house, but noted that because “both parties were unhappy, it was probably a fair price.”

The major renovation, which took nearly 10 months to complete, included tearing down a center wall between the living room and kitchen, vaulting the ceilings, complete rewiring, redoing the kitchen, fixing issues related to mold and creating her “dream pantry,” which helps keep the kitchen uncluttered.

Among the many personal touches that Merrick added to the house was getting relatives back in Louisiana to find a starburst light fixture that was in her grandparent’s ranch house. She had an electrician rewire it and, amazingly, found replacement bulbs for it. The fixture hangs in the interior entry way.

She also installed modern, Danish-made lighting fixtures in the kitchen.

The Western Sizzler

Merrick drew inspiration from neighbors, Thom and Gretchen McKellar Penney, who 20 years ago bought the ranch house originally built for the developer of Wespanee and have since completed five renovations to the house.

The Penneys, who are both architects, started with a major overhaul of a house that Gretchen says “looked like a Western Sizzler” in 1997.

In all, they basically extended the roof out, got rid of florescent lighting fixtures and a bounty of fans, renovated the kitchen, installed heart pine floors, and added a family room that helped the home take advantage of views of Oldtown Creek, the Ashley River and, in the distance, The Citadel.

The latest efforts including removing a circular driveway and put in a new hardscape and an outdoor sculpture, created by fellow Clemson graduate and modern sculptor Bob Doster of Lancaster.

“This is our forever home,” says Gretchen.

Beach ranch

By contrast, some ranch house lovers opt for houses that already have been renovated and updated.

Susan and Steve Appelbaum bought a ranch house, originally built by developer J.C. Long on the Isle of Palms in 1963, nearly two years ago from a couple in North Carolina who updated it as a vacation home. The Appelbaums moved from a ranch house in Summerville.

While they like the mostly ground-level home, they have been somewhat concerned about flooding. However, they were spared any damage from flooding events caused by hurricanes Joaquin, Matthew and Irma the past two years.

“Except for (Hurricane) Hugo, this house has never been flooded,” says Steve.

Susan says the big draw for her was the kitchen. A garage that was converted into an entertainment room, or what Susan calls Steve’s “man cave,” includes a bar, fireplace and large screen TV.

Like many on the island, the Appelbaum’s have a “flood room” in the event of a major hurricane, to take belongings that they don’t want damaged. The Appelbaums renovated that room into a master bedroom and bathroom

Like the Penneys, the Appelbaums seem content with their painted ranch.

“It’s cozy, coastal looking and casual. When people come over, they feel like they are home. When they come in, they are surprised because it seems so spacious,” says Susan. “We sit out on the patio and people will drive by and say, ‘I love your house.’ We do, too.”

5 Steps To Amaze Your Guests With A Flower Kitty Party Theme

I never imagined that flower kitty party themes can be so simple yet amazing! To my surprise, I was showered with loads of acknowledgements from my kitty friends for my efforts which was quite overwhelming! A month ago, when I was in quest of an interesting theme that could make my kitty party memorable, I suddenly came across the “flower-theme” on the web.

Why I Chose The Flower Kitty Party Theme?

I liked the idea of throwing a fabulous party with minimum preparation. Flowers are always beautiful, anytime anywhere, so I thought it would be a great idea to turn my living room into a paradise just by decorating it with beautiful flowers. At last, the venue looked even more beautiful that what I imagined.

Why I Call It A Success?

Whenever I host a party, like any normal human being, my ultimate intention is to impress my guests and make them spend a wonderful time that they can cherish forever. And it will be a lie if I say I could not make it possible. Right from the invitation to food, my guests were extremely pleased with my efforts. I could clearly see the immense joy and delight on their faces. Some even sent me messages of appreciation after leaving, which means a lot to me!

5 Steps To Execute Your Flower Kitty Party Theme

Now that I am quite excited with the success of my party, I am dying to share with you the easy steps that you can take to organize a memorable flower-based party. Typically there are five main steps: invitation, room decor, dress code, games and food.

1. Invitation

For invitations, you can either buy the cards or make them yourself, which is even more exciting! You need a bunch of multi-colored papers, a flower-shaped cookie-cutter, glitters, stickers, crayon colors or whatever else you can think of. Make beautiful flower-shaped paper base with the cookie-cutter and then adorn it with whatever crafts you have collected. You can also leverage the creative genius in your kids to do the job.

What I did – I personally like making such things myself as I am a BIG DIY FAN. I took coloured foam sheets, cut them into flower-shaped planes and then decorated it with my collection of glitters, floral stickers and stones. I used plastic flower petals to form the text for which I received a lot of appreciation. I send the invites a week before the party to give enough time to my guests to get ready for the occasion.

2. Room Decor

Here comes my favorite segment – the room decor! I just love it as it makes me feel like I am preparing to move to some new location with a new ambiance! You can use curtains, cushion covers and tablecloths with floral prints. Beautiful flower vases, floral arts and paintings on walls are enough to decorate the venue and remember to include a tint of greenery everywhere to make things look more natural.

What I did – I had my floral curtains with beautiful laces at the bottom which I took out for the party. I decorated the table with ceramic vases filled with white lilies. In the corners of the room were my ornamental plants to add the much-needed greenery to the venue. I bought a flower shaped serving bowl this time which is now one of my most precious collections!

3. Dress Code

Dress code for such kitty party themes are usually very simple and hassle free. You can wear any dress with flowers on it (no matter if it is a print or thread work or a real). Make sure your jewelleries and accessories are also adored with beautiful flowers. You can use headband or clip with a single flower on it or simply place a real one on one side above your ear.

What I did – I once bought a white Italian chiffon saree with beautiful floral print which I thought was perfect for the occasion. I prefer keeping my hairdo simple most of the time – for the occasion I just swept up my hair into a high bun and stuck a big pink rose there. Not Miss Universe but definitely felt beautiful from within!

4. Games

Now comes the entertainment part for which you can select games related to flowers. Think of the memory game where every participant has to remember the complete sequence of all the ladies in the game and their favorite flowers. Of course, the prize also should be something that blends perfectly with the theme. You can try out other things like making a flower garland in one minute, remembering maximum number of flower names in one minute or painting a clay vase.

What I did – I selected a few games surrounding the theme like “Rangoli Designing in 3 Minutes”, “Writing Flower-based Bollywood Songs” and for the final round we played “The Flower Garland”. The fun and excitement we had is simply inexplicable! Some moments were not just funny but even hilarious as the ladies were going crazy to win the game. I kept beautiful flower bouquets ready as prizes for the winners which they received like an over-excited kid – worth seeing!

5. Food

No matter what you make, just try to give it the shape of a flower. Your sandwiches, cookies, tikkis, parathas or cake will look awesome with the idea! You can even use flowers for garnishing your recipes and as I already mentioned earlier, try to look for flower-shaped crockeries to make your task easier. Ans yes, do not forget to delight your guests by including some floral cocktails if it is summer.

What I did – I thought of a multi-cuisine menu and deliberately included Afghani Paneer, Aloo Cheese Croquettes, Grilled Chicken Salami Sandwiches and Frozen Margs cocktail. I cut the paneer pieces and sandwiches in the shape of flowers and garnished the cocktail with hibiscus.


I welcomed all my guests with roses right at the door just as an initial sign of what they could expect next. So, those are some of my ideas of a flower-themed kitty party. I am sure there are many more innovative things you can come up with and it will be a pleasure if you can share your ideas with me in the comment box given below. However, if you are looking for a theme other than Flowers, you can go for Mughal-theme, Safari-theme, Fashion-theme, Children-theme, Retro-theme, etc.


Oiii pessoal!! Hoje vim com minhas melhors dicas mostrando como fazer um degrade escuro ficar lindoooo, é bem simples ♥ Espero que gostem!

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Fannie Mae: Boomers won’t own their home free and clear before retirement | 2017-10-06

While outright homeownership increased among Baby Boomers after the last recession, they still lag previous generations, and may never catch up, according to the Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research Group’s latest Housing Insight Series.

At one end of the spectrum, older generations such as Baby Boomers criticize Millennials for waiting longer than their generation to buy a home, however even Boomers are failing to keep up with the pace set by the generation before them.

Baby Boomers are much less likely to own their home outright, that is – without a mortgage, than the generations before them, and probably won’t be able to catch up before reaching retirement age.

“The leading edge of the large Baby Boom generation has reached retirement age with a greater likelihood of carrying housing debt, raising concerns about their retirement financial security,” Fannie Mae’s report stated. “The oldest Boomers, who were aged 65 to 69 in 2015, were 10 percentage points less likely to own their homes outright than were pre-Boomer homeowners of the same age in 2000.”

Outright homeownership picked up after the Great Recession, and the younger end of the generation is more likely to be close to previous generations with their rate of outright homeownership.

The chart below, which uses data from U.S. Census Bureau and the 2000 Census and American Community Survey, shows 26% of Baby Boomers aged 50 to 54 in 2015 owned their home outright, compared to 22% of homeowners of the same age in 2000.

Click to Enlarge


(Source: Fannie Mae, U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 Census and American Community Survey)

But despite this uptick, even the youngest Baby Boomers will likely not be able to pull up their outright homeownership rates to the level of previous generations.

From Fannie Mae’s report:

The relatively high incidence of housing debt among Boomer homeowners has the potential to strain their retirement finances. Given that income typically declines in retirement, monthly mortgage payments could stretch the household budgets of Boomers who exit the labor force without first extinguishing their housing debts. Indeed, among Boomer homeowners aged 65 to 69 in 2015, those with mortgages were over three times more likely to experience a housing cost burden than were those who owned their homes outright.

The chart below shows the youngest Boomers will come the closest at 58%, compared to 59.8% among previous generations. The oldest Baby Boomers will come in significantly lower with a share of 49.4% reaching free and clear homeownership by retirement age.

Click to Enlarge


(Source: Fannie Mae, U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 Census and American Community Survey)