BSMG Blog: Protecting the Future of Families and Businesses

Bridging the Generational Gap Part II: The Baby Boom (1946-1964)

Posted by BSMG on 18 Aug 2015

Baby Boomers, the 78 million Americans 50 or older, were born into unprecedented post-war prosperity (the “pig in the python”) and now control 67% of the country's wealth ($28 trillion dollars) and 80% of personal financial assets.*


When Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks he said; “that is where the money is.”

The sheer size of this generation has been a dominant force in American life since the 1950’s. From the baby food and school construction craze, to the hippies,  the yuppies,  the workaholics and the supermoms, the affluence of the baby boomers has made them notoriously adverse to planning for their own retirements. Having come of age during the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam and Watergate, they tend to have retained high idealism, but perhaps surprisingly are far more loyal to organizations – including financial organizations – than other generations. 

Legacy Planning & The Generational Gap

Related: Legacy Planning Breakthrough: Turn Death Insurance into Life Insurance

Here's a breakdown of the different assumptions held by  "The Baby Boomers" that advisors should be aware of when it comes to selling life insurance to this market. You will come across in your practice. These facts are a great way to prepare you to bridge the gap.

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Financial Concerns

Baby boomers have changed with the times, but the finances of Mr. Gordon Gekko and those of his generation haven’t improved. According to the 2011 Associated Press and surveys:
  • 60% lost value in investments because of the economic crisis
  • 42% are delaying retirement
  • 25% claim they'll never retire (currently still working)

As a result, boomers are more focused than other generations on re-building net worth in a short period of time.

This generation is increasingly concerned with planning for (and paying for) care for their aging parents, which may even include having their parents live with them. Also, their children are staying at home longer or even returning years after college to move back in at home due to the weak job market for young entrants. With all these generations under one roof, boomers are sometimes called the Sandwich Generation.

The big impact of baby boomers on our popular culture and our economic condition continues with a primary focus now on retirement.

According to AARP, 10,000 baby boomers will retire every day for the next 19 years.

Despite this, boomers tend to be more accepting than other generations of the changing economic realities. They understand that retirement at age 65 is no longer possible or even desirable. “Work til you die” might characterize their approach.

Communication Style

In terms of communication styles, boomers are open and direct, with little use for formality, etiquette or small talk. Boomers continue to be much more involved in social and political causes of all types than other generations, making them naturally receptive to philanthropic ideas and appeals. They are interested in figuring things out for themselves and insist on the necessary information to make a decision. They want details, not opinions, although they are very supportive of advisor relationships. They are also equally comfortable with face-to-face and virtual communication.

The same cannot be said for the next generation…Keep a look out for 2 upcoming blogs on other key generations or read our recently published blog on The Silent Generation
*Source: U.S. Census and Federal Reserve, December 2009

Topics: Communication Tips for Advisors, Estate Planning, Legacy Planning