Not surprisingly, the number of workers age 65 and older increased by 117 percent in twenty years, as has employment of individuals 75 and older, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Part-time work, phased retirement and "returnships" (short-term employment programs designed to help out-of-work individuals ease their way back into the workforce) are all trending up.
Healthcare is the only broad spending category that consistently increases with people's ages, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Boomer households spent on average $6,600 per year on healthcare in 2021 while Millennials spent a third less. One of the major trends is aging in place. Today nearly 300 hospital-at-home programs exist in the U.S., and one in six hospitals will likely offer such programs by 2030. Consulting firm McKinsey estimates that $265 billion in home health care will be delivered to Medicare beneficiaries by 2025.
Some $18 trillion sits in IRAs and 401(k) retirement accounts held by Americans. According to the Federal Reserve, the median holding in retirement accounts is $164,000 for households of people ages 65 to 74. Well aware of these retirement investments, the financial services industry is aggressively targeting older Americans. As people live longer, a common strategy of financial services providers is to help retirees understand how to make their funds last through retirement. This is especially crucial for Americans who are 60 to 69 years of age, because more than half of households headed by this group have less than $250,000 in financial assets. The Social Security Administration estimates that about 20 percent of Americans 65 and older rely on Social Security for more than three-quarters of their income.
Older Americans are embracing fitness and exercise. Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the country, with 49 percent of frequent pickle ball players age 55 and older, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Everything from exercise machines to low-impact workout programs specifically target the senior set.
The top group in travel spending is Americans 60 to 60 years of age, according to AARP. Travelers in this age group will shell out an average of $7,300 this year, and those who are 50 and older will average four trips this year.
Older Americans are moviegoers, and we're seeing more older actors appearing in movies because of these older audiences. Music concerts are also popular with older Americans as performers in their seventies continue to appear on stage. Television viewing by older Americans is also strong, as evidenced by such breakthrough programs as ABC's The Golden Bachelor -- for the first time featuring a bachelor in his seventies.
You have only to look at the president, members of Congress, and Supreme Court justices to know that older Americans populate the government. What's more, older voters make a significant difference in deciding elections. According to AARP, 61 percent of ballots cast in the 63 closest races for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2022 were cast by voters 50 years of age or older. While change at federal, state and local governments comes slowly, legislation focused on an aging population is beginning to be proposed by lawmakers at all levels.