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February 2017

The Good News and Bad News About Longevity

MusingsYou've probably seen news about current actuarial reports projecting increased longevity. For men and women who reach the age of 65, their life expectancy is now over 85 years of age (86.6 for men and 88.8 for women).

This is both good and bad news for Boomers. The good news is we'll live a lot longer past what was once the traditional retirement age of 65. The bad news is some of us could very well run out of money.

That's why you might want to read retirement expert Mark Miller's excellent article in The New York Times, "How to Make Your Money Last as Long as You Do." In it, Miller discusses a number of steps Boomers can take for "mitigating longevity risk," among them:

  1. Create a budget projection that accounts for non-discretionary expenses
  2. Recognize when it is wise to begin drawing Social Security benefits
  3. Consider continuing to work full-time or part-time
  4. Consider an annuity.

Miller's article includes specific information about each of the above steps. It also includes an interesting table that shows three scenarios for the possibility of a retirement plan failing.

This kind of information is essential for Boomers to consider and digest. It also reinforces the fact that most Boomers would do well to work with a financial advisor who can help plan the best retirement savings and lifestyle strategies so you won't run out of money in your later years.

Have You Discovered OLLI?

OnaWhimOne of the blessings of being retired is the time now available to you for educational pursuits of your own choosing. Most retirees no longer need to take courses to fulfill degree requirements; instead, they can take courses purely for enjoyment. If you're fortunate enough to live near an "OLLI," there is a whole world of educational opportunity available.

OLLI, or the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, is a program of the Bernard Osher Foundation, which provides post-secondary scholarship funding to colleges and universities. Currently, there are OLLIs operating on the campuses of 119 institutions of higher education around the country. You can find a list of these institutions here

The programs and courses offered by each OLLI vary based on the volunteers who participate. This is because the basic structure of an OLLI is for volunteers to teach the classes and work at various functions for the institute, while seniors who attend classes pay a generally reasonable membership fee and "tuition" to take a few courses per semester.

If you're thinking that these courses are traditional or boring, you couldn't be more wrong. Often, OLLI courses are an eclectic mix of subject material -- everything from issues of the day, to classic movies, to architecture unique to the area. It all depends on what volunteer instructors think up, and on what OLLI members suggest.

Getting involved in an OLLI in your area offers other benefits as well. In addition to courses, many OLLIs host meetings, presentations, workshops, and cultural and social events. OLLIs also provide volunteer activities. The colleges and universities with OLLIs on their campuses often allow senior students to take advantage of other campus perks, such as using the library and dining halls. OLLIs are a great way to connect with other seniors in your community, especially if you are new to the area.

Looking for a way to stay involved, informed, and invigorating? Maybe OLLI is for you.



About Marketing to Boomers

MusingsI spent the majority of my professional career in direct marketing and advertising, disciplines in which practitioners always work hard to fully understand the characteristics of target audiences. Not surprisingly, there are some marketing firms that have not only figured out that Boomers are a fertile target audience, these firms also specialize in marketing to Boomers.

One such firm, Coming of Age, is an industry leader. Established by Jim Gilmartin in 1991, Coming of Age positions itself as  "The Baby Boomer & Senior Marketing Agency." Jim writes frequently about the Boomer audience, and a recent column of his for MediaPost caught my eye. In it, Jim pinpoints some of the characteristics of the Baby Boomer Consumer, demonstrating rare and fascinating insight into this audience.

Since my assumption is that most readers of my blog are in fact Boomers, I thought I would share Jim's perspective with you. He highlights these six characteristics:

  1. Baby Boomers are less subject to peer influence than are younger consumers.
  2. Baby Boomers tend to be less responsive to sweeping claims in marketing messages as they age.
  3. Baby Boomers tend to be quicker than younger consumers to reflect a lack of interest in or negative reaction to an offered product that doesn't make an emotional connection.
  4. Baby Boomers tend to show increased response to marketing appeals reflecting altruistic values.
  5. Baby Boomers spend more time in making purchase decisions.
  6. Baby Boomers often project what seems to be contradictory behavior.

I think Jim really hits the nail on the head. I encourage you to read his entire article here. Even though it is intended for marketing professionals, it will give you a real understanding of the implications of these characteristics -- and maybe, just maybe, allow for a little self-reflection as well! 

Help for Older Job Seekers

OntheClockHere are two great resources for any Boomer who is looking for work this year:


    This website/blog is run by Nancy Collamer, a speaker, coach and author who specializes in answering the question, "What's next?" for Boomers. Available on this site is a wealth of information, including a great compendium of articles entitled "My Top 16 Second-Act Career Posts of 2016."


    This website directly targets retirees seeking employment. The site includes sections concerning work from home, part-time employment, starting a business, and more. Also available is information about retirement planning, retiring abroad, retirement locations, etc.

Another useful website is Geared especially to women, this site offers 9 focused blogs, including one entitled "Fending Off Retirement." The website also connects to The Flexwork for Women Alliance. The alliance lists national and regional firms whose mission is to help women find flexible work.

In addition, a very interesting article that recently appeared on CNN Money lists the top 100 jobs in America on the basis of "big growth, great pay and satisfying work." While this article describes these jobs as full-time careers, it would be valuable for retirees to scan the list and determine (1) if you have a skill set that matches any of the jobs and (2) how you could apply your skills to potentially working part-time in any of these careers. Keep in mind that employers who are looking for full-time workers in specific areas may be more than willing to consider part-time workers who have experience and the appropriate skill set.