Monday, February 7, 2011

The Silver Tsunami - part #1

A Silver Tsunami is fast approaching and few people are paying attention to it. This massive sea wave is the result of the baby boomers aging. Currently, 7,000 a day are turning 65 years of age, and as these baby boomers reach retirement, their $2 trillion worth of annual spending power is driving companies to rethink aging. Sit in any office, visit any mall, eat at any restaurant and you will see them. Fifty and older, these individuals are the valuable customers of today and the future.

The Silver Tsunami were the children born between 1946 - 1964. Optimistic to the core, they focused on money, title, recognition and for some the corner office. Many of them felt that job changing put you behind and thus they were company men and women. Having a stellar career was foundational to living a good life.

Now as they age, they approach the future differently than their more traditional parents. The Silver Tsunami wants to live in their own home until they die. They want to have multi-generational experiences on a regular basis. They want to be emotionally, mentally and physically active even if they encounter problems in any one of these areas. They also want to continue being active in the greater good of their churches and their communities.

Furthermore, this is not the generation who thinks of a rocking chair and retirement as a good thing. For them, 60 is the new 40, and with superb medical care and technology, they plan on being actively engaged well into their 80’s and 90’s. There will be little slowing down for older Baby Boomers.

There may be chronic health issues that surface but they expect to overcome these limits and flourish rather than struggle. With pills, surgery and therapy plus a diversity of age specific accommodations and devices, they expect to be doing what they are doing today right up to the end of their lives.

Read any issue of an AARP magazine and you will see a lifestyle that no generation before could have ever imagined. The Silver Tsunami in combination with tons of plastic surgery could be one of perpetual youth. Vigor and vitality are expected.

When I observe and, due to my own age, participate in this Silver Tsunami, I think about the people who are delivering the goods and services required to meet the needs of the aging Baby Boomers. I wonder how well they are listening to the VOC, namely the voice of the customer.

This week realize that a huge part of the customer base is in transition and that the Silver Tsunami will impact your world dramatically. Remember: someone turns 50 in the U.S. every seven seconds. Therefore, now is the time to plan accordingly. The future is happening all around us.

On a different note, for those of you looking for a good, quick on-line article, I encourage you to read the following at the Gallup Management Journal on-line called “Overcoming Barriers to Success” By Tom Rieger, author of the book called Breaking the Fear Barrier which will be published by Gallup Press this year. Here is the link:

Geery Howe, M.A. Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change Morning Star Associates # 319 - 643 - 2257

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