And because the economy will want to simultaneously prevent a brain drain and declining consumption by keeping all of us earning and spending longer, it will become easier to stay at work or start a new career. The vacuum of workers maturing means that older adults will be in demand and more able to choose our own schedules, and still remain valuable. With the rise of flextime and part-time schedules and contract and project jobs and job sharing, there are millions of exciting paths for us to explore in the work world—throughout the world.With online universities, we can retrain at home or pursue a life as a writer or artist or some other dream.
6. We'll Still Have Clout in the Marketplace
Our huge numbers and often free-spending ways have ensured throughout our lifetime that anyone with something to sell would be inclined to tailor it to our wants and needs. Our demographic and financial wells of influence won't run dry as we mature. We'll live longer and healthier and remain active consumers. Meanwhile, as a generation, our wealth will continue to multiply. Already, today's fifty-plus men and women are the principal buyers of luxury cars, leisure travel, and high-end gifts and jewelry. We own 40 percent of all mutual funds and 60 percent of all annuities.While we are just 30 percent of the population, we control more than 70 percent of all of the wealth and account for more than 50 percent of consumer spending. As we mature and collectively inherit an estimated $20 trillion, we will be as cherished as ever in the marketplace.
Advertisers will need to break free of their addiction to youth. Many wrongly believe that all adults have already chosen the brands they will stick with for life, while young people have yet to choose their cola, sneaker, cell phone, or whatever. This flawed view will stop paying off; marketers will increasingly come to realize that at fifty or sixty we not only have money to spend but also are eager to ditch our old lipstick for the latest colors. As we age, we will remain interested in new adventures and experiences, and we will spend freely to reach our full potential in the power years.
In the years ahead, watch for growth in industries such as the following:
• specialty diagnosis and treatment centers for particular body parts, such as the eyes, ears, muscles, bones, or nervous system
• therapeutically cloned kidneys, livers, lungs, hearts, skin, blood, and bones for tune-up or replacement
• nutraceuticals engineered with macro- and micronutrients to fight aging
• cosmeceutical rejuvenation therapies for both men and women
• antiaging spas
• high-tech exercise gear and equipment programmed to precisely train users to build stronger, healthier, and more youthful bodies
• smart acoustic systems in telephones, radios, and TVs that customize signals to accommodate the auditory range of each user's ears
• Silver Seals -- for-hire teams of elders with various problem-solving talents who are deployed to fix difficult community or business issues
• lifelong learning programs at colleges, universities, churches, and community centers and on cable TV and the Internet
• "retirement zone" stores featuring products and technologies appealing to older adults with free time
• adventure travel services that send older adults to off-thebeaten- trail locations