Boomer doom and gloom
Most Americans have faced tough times since economic malaise took over in 2008. And many say Boomers were hit especially hard because we have less time to recover financially, and face health issues that will rob us of our golden years. Googling Boomers generates a litany of dire predictions.
- Bad News for Boomers: Demographic trends will depress portfolio returns
- Are Baby Boomers turning into dumplings
- New study finds Baby Boomers are in a funk
For sure, Boomers don’t like the downturn. Who does? But doomsters fail to take into account that Boomers are also America’s most adaptable generation.
We weathered crises way more challenging than – sarcasm alert – why the iPhone 4 charging cable didn’t fit an iPhone 5. We evolved from typewriters to laptops, from rabbit ear antennae to streaming video and from the Sears-Roebuck catalog to Amazon Prime.
We’re the counter culture crowd. We question authority, including the inevitability of doom and gloom.
As comic genius Robert Crumb famously advised back in the day, we keep on truckin’.
Boomers, backlash and The Onion
Boomers have already had to accept backlash; we are no longer cool. Some even gloat over the decline of what has been called America’s most self-centered generation, as if a much needed comeuppance has finally arrived.
The backlash was already building back in 1999 when the satirical broadsheet The Onion wrote a hilarious preview of today’s Boomer doom stories. The part we like best is …
“… after decades of waiting, the much anticipated mass Baby Boomer die-off should finally commence within the next five to ten years, Census Bureau officials said Monday … the curtain will at long last fall on what is regarded by many as the most odious generation America has ever produced”
Boomers and the Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
Mark Twain would have loved The Onion.
Inspired by his time as a newspaperman in raucous mining towns of the Old West, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County launched his career as America’s foremost 19th century humorist.
Twain’s newspaper career began at the Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City, Nevada, a wild, wide open boom town sitting atop the fabulous Comstock Lode silver strike.
The Territorial Enterprise building still stands across the street from the Silver Queen Hotel & Saloon, one of many 24/7 watering holes and dance halls that catered to the miners’ above ground wants, needs and desires.
BTW, devotees of the paranormal will of course recognize the Silver Queen as home to one of the Old West’s most famous ghosts. Hey, don’t scoff, we’re talking colorful Americana here.
When The New York Journal mistakenly announced his death in 1897, Twain famously responded “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” He lived 13 more years to prove his point.
The same applies to Boomers. The reports of our death are greatly exaggerated, especially the obituaries issued by many mainstream brand marketers who eliminate Americans over 50 from their ads because, they say, we are too old to adapt or switch brands.
Boomer bonanza awaits brawny Millennial disruptives
The landscape above the Comstock Lode is barren and nondescript. Few guessed a glittering bonanza awaited those savvy enough to look beneath the surface but, eventually, gritty visionaries made fortunes here. Even a century later the unlikely Virginia City success story inspired a fabulously popular TV western series – a Boomer favorite – titled, appropriately, Bonanza.
Like the Virginia City pioneers, some brawny young adworld disruptives are now beginning to dig below the surface of conventional wisdom to find their own glittering bonanza in the Boomer-Plus Generation™, born 1940-1964.
At 89 million strong and owning two thirds of America’s private net worth, if it were a country it would be the world’s 15th most populous – the 15th Nation™ – and a bigger, more affluent market than Germany or France or the UK. And far larger than Canada and Australia combined.
So it’s high time for over-cautious mainstream brands to get past the old-fashioned theory that Americans over 50 are hardly worth targeting.
Thinking like that is as outdated as the plumbing in a 19th century Virginia City outhouse.
After a lifetime of change and evolution, Boomers are still America’s most adaptable generation – and the reports of our death are greatly exaggerated: the 15th Nation is a latter day Comstock Lode bonanza.
Originally published as a Boomer-Plus Consulting Group post; in September, 2017, we up-branded as Boomer / neXt to welcome the 4 million Gen Xers who join the Boomers in the 50+ space each year.