Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Boomers: Not Your Grandfather’s Retirees

This 1965 Equitable ad must have been one of the cheeriest ever produced for annuities. Admire the work of Charles Saxon, the New Yorker cartoonist who sketched the foibles he observed in and around New Canaan, Connecticut. Saxon rarely took commercial assignments.

Can you imagine today's Boomers identifying with Saxon's gents in suits? Me neither. The Wall Street Journal ($) surveyed ways that business seeks to accommodate the Boomer wave of retirees. Problem: 60-ish Boomers do not wish to be "accommodated." Not surprising. Their show-biz contemporaries include Sly Stallone, Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Helen Mirren, none of whom look ready for a long-term-care facility.

Boomers nearing retirement are either wealthy or not – and not solely in the sense of net worth. My father had it right: "Your health is your wealth." Assuming good health, many affluent Boomers will keep busy and keep working.

Forbes' Erika Andersen sees Boomers extending their careers, forcing the young to create their own employment. Martin Zwilling sees a different trend: Boomers are Driving a New Entrepreneurship Boom.

Best strategy for young wealth managers? Treat each Boomer retiree as the individual he or she is. And please don't shout or speak slowly unless asked.

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