Sunday, April 15, 2007

Study Takes Heartbeat of Boomer Generation


Boomers are, well, booming. As the largest population segment in the United States -- more than 78 million strong -- this diverse and powerful group is leaving an indelible mark on our nation. Boomers (individuals born between 1946-1964) are challenging traditional norms and redefining the role of aging Americans.

BoomerEyes, a leading Boomer research and demographic intelligence authority, has partnered with industry leader JWT BOOM to track the lifestyles, attitudes and values of this influential segment with the annual Boomer Heartbeat research monitor. The in-depth study explores Boomers' views and perceptions on life, family, work, finances, health and wellness and technology.

"The breadth and depth of Boomers' diversity creates a fascinating mosaic of their distinct lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors," says Anne Wall, senior vice president, C&R Research. "Boomers are unlike any generation before them, which is why it is critical to understand the factors and influences that shape their values and views."

The online survey provides insights on what it means to be a Boomer today. Here's a look inside the Boomer psyche:

The Empty Home Front

• Empty Nesters ... Boomers are transitioning from child-rearing to empty nesting. Nearly four in 10 Boomers who have kids are now Empty Nesters.

• It's a whole new world ... Of the Empty Nester Boomers, more than one-third are new to empty nesting within the last two years.

• Cash back ... In addition to the time to do what they want and when, Empty Nesters also report financial freedom. On average, they say they have $315 more per month to spend.

• Deja vu?...Two in 10 Boomers with children have boomerang kids -- adult children who returned to the nest -- who stayed for at least one year.

That's Life

• Age is relative ... Seventy percent of Boomers are comfortable with their age. Forty-one percent of Boomers say these are the best years of their lives while 32 percent believe that the best years are yet to come.

• Daydreamer ... When it comes to dreams, financial freedom and success (23 percent), time with family (21 percent) and travel (18 percent) are what Boomers daydream about most.

• Worrywart ... Financial concerns (47 percent) top the list of worries, along with family and health/diet (20 percent each).

• Where does the time go?...Work (50 percent) and family (48 percent) is where Boomers devote most of their time with a little carved out for hobbies (40 percent), friends (22 percent) and travel (17 percent).


Here's a look at technology usage according to Boomers who completed the Heartbeat survey online:

• Boomers online ... According to the Pew Foundation, home Internet usage is high across most age groups: 18-29 year olds (88 percent), 30-49 year olds (84 percent), 50-64 year olds (71 percent), 65 years old and over (32 percent).

• Help desk ... Boomers are technology influencers, with one in three being sought out by family and friends on how to use new technology.

• Tech's tools ... Of the Boomers who completed the online survey, 96 percent use computers at home as well as at work (47 percent). Ninety-two percent use desktop computers, 42 percent use laptops and one-third have wireless connections.

• On ramp ... Three-quarters of online Boomers have high-speed Internet access at home.

• Surf city ... Besides emailing and gathering information which are nearly universal, online Boomers use the Internet most often to surf the web (72 percent); shop (69 percent); research health, medical and nutritional information (69 percent); word process (63 percent); bank/manage personal finances (61 percent); research/book travel (60 percent); play games (53 percent) and download/print pictures from a digital camera (46 percent).

• Shop 'till you drop ... Boomers who took the online survey say they most often shop online for travel (58 percent), books (57 percent), clothes (57 percent) and electronics (50 percent).

• Safety first ... Sixty percent of Boomers who took the online survey are concerned about the safety of their personal information online.

• It takes an online village ... Thirty-two percent of online Boomers have visited online communities. However, a mere nine percent have blogged.

• Stay connected ... Fifty-nine percent of the online Boomer respondents use non-video cell phones versus only 16 percent who use cell phones with video capabilities.

• Picture perfect ... About two in 10 Boomers have HD or wide screen TVs. Of those who don't, nearly 20 percent plan to purchase the technology in the next six months.

Off To Work Boomers Go

• Working nine to five ... Work is a major focal point, with Boomers who work full-time working an average of 44 hours per week.

• Retirement dreams ... About one in 10 (13 percent) Boomers are currently retired, versus four times as many (55 percent) Matures (individuals born between 1935-1945).

• Pink slip ... In today's job market, Boomers (28 percent) are more likely than Matures (13 percent) to experience job loss.

• Changes ... Thirty percent of Boomers have changed jobs in the past five years and another 18 percent have changed careers. All this change on the work front has left 43 percent of Boomers facing a major change in their financial situation.

• Love of the job ... Work offers more than financial benefits -- it stimulates the mind and provides a social atmosphere. More than half of Boomers say working keeps them active and engaged. Just 33 percent say they work only to pay the bills and put food on the table.

• Coasting ... Fifty-three percent of Boomers see themselves working in the same role until they retire while another 21 percent plan on coasting until retirement day.

• School daze ... One in three Boomers would consider going back to school full- or part-time.


• Too much, too little ... Many Boomers feel they have too much debt, too little savings and inadequate incomes. A large majority of Boomers say their household debt is average or above (62 percent) while 57 percent admit their savings for retirement are below average.

• Salary woes ... When it comes to compensation, Boomers are pessimistic about their annual incomes with 37 percent perceiving their incomes to be below average.

• Total assets ... Forty-two percent of Boomers report invested assets of less than $100,000 with 26 percent reporting none.


• In sickness and in health ... Seventeen percent of Boomers have experienced a major or life-threatening illness.

• Caregivers ... As Americans live longer, 11 percent of Boomers have become a caregiver for an elderly parent or relative.

• Sweat it out ... The majority of Boomers (65 percent) say they are exercising at least once a week.

• Fountain of youth ... Boomers say they feel some (46 percent) or a lot of (22 percent) control over the aging process versus 47 percent and 26 percent respectively for Matures.

• You are what you eat ... Boomers have adopted healthy eating habits including reading nutrition labels (50 percent), eating smaller meals (43 percent), changing their diet to maintain their weight and stay healthy (41 percent), eating low-fat foods (37 percent), and monitoring their carb intake (29 percent).

(Source:, 3/27/07)

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