The baby boomer generation will be the sweet spot for banking for many years. Keying on a number of the following facts can provide good information that is meaningful for your bank. You might pass this column along to others at the bank, including trust, investments and insurance.
Here are a few facts about those in the 45-65 age group:
1. Approximately 5,000 boomers turn 65 every day. Boomers are the largest generation in the United States. At age 65, boomers are very focused on their retirement. They are thinking about when and if they will retire, where they will live, what their lifestyle will be like and how they will go about getting there. Is your bank providing financial assistance and know-how for this major life-event change?
2. Most middle-aged boomers have more parents than children. Increases in longevity mean that many will have to care for their extended-life parents for longer periods than previous generations. The need for housing, financial and other care-giving assistance will remain. Does your bank provide information and other assistance to those who are helping?
3. Nearly 50 percent of boomers are experiencing some form of hearing loss. According to the National Health Institute, one-third of boomers report they have been tested by audiologists. Many have a high incidence of hearing loss because of their lifelong exposure to loud music and other noises at younger ages. Do your bank personnel, especially the younger associates, recognize signs that boomers and older adults may have difficulty hearing what they say and adjust how they speak with them?
4. Boomers are the first generation for which a majority have experienced divorce. Today, the incidence of first-marriage divorce is 51 percent, according to the Census Bureau. The second-marriage divorce rate is even higher at 60 percent, and many late-life divorces occur. Divorce is a painful and stressful event for one or both parties and can also be stressful for banking relationships. Many important decisions need to be made, such as dividing assets — financial, the home, pension plans, personal property — and figuring out how to make ends meet, sometimes on reduced incomes. Are you prepared to assist your bank clients who are experiencing divorce?
5. Nearly eight in 10 persons over 60 are grandparents. Some 82 percent of all adults 60 and over, and 50 percent of adults 45 to 65 are grandparents. Today, there are close to 80 million grandparents. They are heavily involved in funding grandchildren’s college educations. Does your bank acknowledge and provide informational programs for grandparents, especially those who want to go grand-tripping?
6. Even well-off boomers expect to work in retirement. Recent studies indicate that a high number of boomers — wealthy or not — plan to work well into their normal retirement years. You need to understand that working into one’s 60s, 70s and 80s can be a sign of vibrancy and a desire to keep contributing to the world. Do your bank personnel understand this reality and provide conveniences to make it easy for them to continue working?