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Jun 3, 2009 9:17 pm

FACT: The baby boomers, born 1946 to 1960  are starting to retire.
FACT: Boomers have mucho dollars in 401ks and IRAs.
PERSONAL OPINION. Boomers are different than the generation before them. Much more committed to their personal self than commnity goals. Much less trusting of experts. More informal. Less conventional. More taken with fads and crazes.
One example I’ve seen is that the typical 65-year-old man is comfortable being cold called. The typical boomer is not.
I’m not a boomer, came in the generation behind them, and as you can tell, I don’t see they’ve acomplished as much as they will tell you they did. My best clients are either older than 65 or younger than 50 (like me). I’m concerned I don’t know how to connect to the boomers.
At any rate, how do you think the boomer retirements will impact our business. What kind of services and approach will work getting their business?

Jun 3, 2009 10:35 pm

The ones I know that have a ton of money own businesses, drank themselves stupid 30 years ago, tell crazy stories of all the lines of coke they’ve blown, love to play golf and travel, and are somehow always busy.

  I meet more of them through things like golf, c***tail parties, and other social stuff than anywhere else.    Because I too am younger than this generation, I ask a lot of these people how they perceive what is portrayed to them.  The thing that generally stands out the most is that "retirement planning" has a somewhat negative connotation because it is often discussed as the end're "retiring" so you must be old.  They don't think of themselves as being old at all.  Some of them have accumulated a lot of money and haven't planned for anything.  In other words, they're ready to really start living.  Make the cross country motorcyle trip, take longer vacations, play more golf, etc...   Here's my opinion:  I don't think the boomers have realized how much it takes for them to afford THEMSELVES and their family at this rate.  Maybe if you approach them with the attitude of the Dennis Hopper/Ameriprise TV commercials and connect with them seeing their lives as just beginning it might help.   Also, most of my business owner/boomer clients are very keen when it comes to risk/reward.  I've had a few that mention safety and guarantees are important to them, and that's before they knew I offered annuities.  So perhaps you clearly state to them that you help protect against losses as opposed to trying to make big gains (if they've accumulated enough).   Sorry for the ramble....
Jun 4, 2009 12:59 am

Snags, I think you hit it pretty accurately. So many of my boomer clients are completely kidding themselves about the lifestyle they will be living in retirement. Many of them are making 150-250K (combined), and spending all of it other than a 10% 401K contribution. They have less than a million in 401K (pre-meltdown), and think this is going to carry them for 30 years with the same lifestyle. Very frustrating. I think the Dennis Hopper spots are perfect (I think Ameriprise sucks, but whatever).

Jun 4, 2009 1:07 am

Good points. Yeah, I have the feeling that the view ‘retirement planning’ as something for old people.

Jun 4, 2009 3:26 am

I think the boomers are going to have to be approached with a true plan for retirement. It doesn't have to be overly complicated - like a 50 page printout of graphs and charts from a Monte Carlo simulation - but going forward, it's got to be more than slamming their rollover into American Funds and sending them 5% annually.

We're going to have to draw from the wide variety of products that are available to us and show them 'Here's where your income is coming from in years 1-7, here's how we'll meet your income needs in years 8-14, etc.'   I believe MPT is still very much alive, but the days of working off the total return method are numbered.  
Jun 4, 2009 3:34 am

The one’s that are truly wealthy (way more than they need) are a blast to work with.  You can drop f-bombs in meetings and not shave for two weeks and they could care less (though I wouldn’t advocate too many f-bombs - sh*t and a** seem to be cool though).  However, if you blow up their portfolio they will leave in a heartbeat.  Not nearly as committed as the 65+ set.

  The good news - their parents are loaded, so even the boomers with only a million and some serious personal spending deficiencies may become multi-million dollar clients in the next 10 years.   I say go get em - then cruise through the next 30 years with them.   As for age.  Un-scientifically; I think they like working with young advisors.  I'm under 30 and I think it makes them feel young working with me and the succesful ones share tons of very useful business building tecniques and almost jones for seeing me get more successful.  It's very cool personally and very cool to see them vicariously happy.
Jun 5, 2009 5:13 am

Hey guys, check out

  DIRECT COPY & PASTE EXCERPTS FOLLOW... Baby boomers (78 million strong and born between 1946 and 1964) are the wealthiest, best educated and most sophisticated of purchasers. Marketing and sales professionals must create motivating communications, effective sales presentations and service improvement programs to better capture and keep current and potential customers.

Now that the adult median age is in the mid-40s and continuing to rise, pressure is building on company marketing and sales professionals to learn how to better market to a dominantly older customer population.

Eight Progressive Changes in How Older Minds Process Information

Less reliance on reason to determine what is of interest, and more on intuition (which is cued by emotional responses).

identify and employ images that promote strong positive emotional responses; relationship building must precede presentation of company and product; relationship potentialities are primarily emotionally inferred ("gut feelings") -- rather than rationally deduced. 

First impressions (which are always emotionally based) are more durable and more difficult to reverse than for younger adults.

be sensitive to images that can stimulate negative first impressions. It is probable that the strongest sources of negative impressions are images that conflict with idealized image of self, especially with respect to autonomy and sense of personal validity.

After a matter qualifies for interest and further attention, baby boomers tend to want more information than do younger consumers.

manage the transaction continuum so that emotional cues are present when most advantageous, then shift to "hard" or objective information when most advantageous; information content must be no greater than what the baby boomer wants at a given point in time.

Decreasing speed in rational processing of objective information.

Deliver objective information (e.g., product benefits and features, technical information, etc.) at a slow to moderate pace. Avoid "jump cuts" and incomplete sentences. 

More resistant to absolute propositions.

present information on company and products in a qualified, even deferential manner.

More sensitive to metaphorical meanings, nuances and subtleties.

take advantage of greater sensitivity to subtlety to expand the content of the message, especially in terms of metavalues - values that transcend the generic value of the service and expand its perceived attractiveness. Nonverbal symbols are effective in accomplishing this.

More receptive to narrative-styled presentations of information, less responsive to information presented in expository style.

Implications: Make greater use of story-telling techniques to get information across. Stories are generally quicker to arouse emotions than straight-forward propositions about a product's features.  Think Hallmark Cards - they surpass most in using stories to present products. Resistance to emotionally neutral information (mainly processed in the left hemisphere of the brain) increases in midlife.  Storytelling has become an important part of market strategy.  Whoever tells the best story and tells it best will most likely win.  

Perceptions are more holistic.

Implications: Project an interest in the "whole" person, not just the facet that might need a particular product or service; also, avoid depicting representatives of target markets in flat, single dimension contexts (e.g., simply showing consumers using or talking about the product without reference to a larger context).

For more information on how we can help you to improve marketing, sales & service to baby boomers and seniors, contact us at [email protected] call us at 630-462-7100.