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Three Crucial Longevity Economy Issues
The importance of Generation X, the pitfalls of depicting older people in images, and the rise of older women. Plus, what's up with The Golden Bachelor?
Well, after a week in sunny Florida where it was 85 every day, I returned home to Boulder to the first snowfall of the season.
And to make it extra fun, I also came home with a terrible head cold.
On the plus side, we have a whole bunch of new subscribers (hey y’all!).
That got me thinking – there’s a whole lot more subscribers in general since the early days of Longevity Gains, which means a lot of people haven’t seen some of the critical follow-up articles to the Longevity Economy Fundamentals ebook.
Let’s look at three important articles that expand on and supplement those 47-pages of ebook goodness.
Don’t You (Forget About Gen X)
They’re the forgotten generation.
The middle children of history, wedged between the huge Baby Boomer and Millennial generations. They’ve been known as latchkey kids, slackers, and cynics.
And by they, I mean we. That’s because I’m a proud member of Generation X.
A cohort named for a book that was named after a band, Gen Xers were born between 1965 and 1980. We’re the smallest of the economically-active generations, which is the explanation most often given for why marketers and media ignore us.
But for such a small group, we’ve had a big impact. That’s because Generation X specializes in influence rather than recognition. From music and movies to technology, we’re the primary architects of the culture every generation currently resides in.
And now, Generation X will do more to define the shape of the longevity economy than the Baby Boomers who have all those coveted cash reserves. Let’s explore why.
Those People Are Old (I’m Not)
The article with perhaps the most practical tips about what not to do when marketing to older people is also one of the most counterintuitively fascinating.
This piece also explains why traditional brand advertising will likely struggle connecting with older consumers, while content marketing is likely to thrive.
First up, there are guidelines for effectively reframing aging with images. Basically, avoiding stereotypes and misconceptions with photos of older people is rule number one.
Then there’s the “Super Senior Fail.” If you pay attention to content about retirement or other issues related to older people, you’ve probably seen those stock photos in articles:
There’s the 70-something surfer, the shredded senior bodybuilder with the white ZZ Top beard, and the “nutty” grandma doing a daredevil stunt, like skydiving.
Find out what older people really think about these images.
And then there’s the fascinating topic of subjective age. Not only do we not “feel” our chronological age, when we see photos of other people our age, we often think that person is older than we are.
Plus lots of other interesting stuff, such as how to change attitudes about growing older among those at middle age:
Rise of the Matriarchy
While awareness of gendered ageism is rising (meaning, it’s worse for women), there’s other surprising demographic shifts to be aware of that may change the balance of power.
In other words, odds are you won’t be communicating with just any older consumer in the longevity economy. You’ll be attempting to attract an older female consumer.
That’s because women are gaining wealth faster than men, to the point that by 2030 women will own more than half the world’s total wealth.
Plus, across all age groups, women are responsible for 70-80 percent of all consumer purchasing, thanks to a combination of their buying power and influence.
Finally, nearly half of all new business ventures will be launched by women in 2030. And based on what we know about entrepreneurship, most of those who succeed will be over 50.
This article explores three key ways influential older women will impact investing, spending, and entrepreneurship.
Over to You
Have you been paying attention to this whole Golden Bachelor thing? Basically it’s the same format as “reality” show The Bachelor has had for the last 20 years.
Except in this case, bachelor Gerry Turner is 72, and the women vying for his attention are between the ages of 60 and 75. A good sign for the new longevity and extended healthspans (and hotspans)?
I thought so, but the show is getting some strange pushback. The argument being that showing attractive older people is bad, because not all older people are attractive (and apparently shouldn’t want to be).
News flash, most people are not attractive, cool, or good dancers. But this is television, and contestants on The Bachelor have always broken the bell curve on attractiveness.
The other weird thing I’m picking up on is that it’s somehow shameful for older women to doll themselves up to attract a man “at their age,” while I don’t really see those attitudes when younger women do it.
Look, I’ve never watched an episode of The Bachelor in my life, because I think it’s vapid crap. And yet, I certainly don’t see any harm in older people being, well … people.
And when I see people object to older people simply being people, I know the ageism monster is sitting right there, even if those making the comments can’t see it.
What are your thoughts? Let’s put our own comment section to work and have a discussion.