It’s the generation that turned popular culture and societal norms upside down.
It’s the generation that led the charge in a period of dramatic change — fighting war, racial, gender and economic inequality.
The 1960s, especially, saw social values shift widely, fuelled by mega protests that brought turmoil, disorder and change.
But aging boomers eventually shed their rebellious nature, settling into the material comforts of modern life.
The first wave of baby boomers, about 2.4 million of them born in 1946, turned 70 in 2016.
Now they confront the rigors of growing old, face life-and-death decisions, and grapple with difficult lifestyle choices.
With increasing frequency, boomers enter a state of declining health while — courtesy of Big Pharma and the vast Medical Industrial Complex — they’re able to live longer by reaching for a pill or hooking up to a machine.
As our population ages, major retailers, Big Pharma and the Medical Industrial Complex will dominate market share and profitability.
But wide gaps are opening for entrepreneurs with good ideas, an open heart, community sensibilities and the business acumen to attack the opportunities above.
The comfortable lifestyle that many boomers had settled into morphed, for many, into a financially challenged retirement. The Panic of ‘08 and the subsequent and yet-to-recover ruptures in the economy means aging boomers are working longer or having to return to the workforce.
According to a BlackRock survey this year, boomers aged 55–65 have saved US$136,200 for retirement, sans any Social Security or pension income. That’s about $9,129 a year in retirement income.
Older boomers, especially those turning 70 this year, are in even worse shape because their savings or 401K accounts were wiped out and their income streams dried up following the economic downturn.
Moreover, some are responsible for stay-at-home kids and grandkids who couldn’t find work. And others are combating the ills of aging.
Add rapidly rising healthcare costs to already debt-ridden boomers, and the classic portrait of easy living in the Golden Years is shattered.
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
Of all the trends I forecast, the way we age is a megatrend in the making that still lurks under the mainstream radar. Trends are born…they grow, mature, reach old age and die…a natural organic process.
How to stay healthy and live longer is a trend still in its infancy.
Businesses and service providers who target these true quality-of-life issues will find the gold.
We’re seeing growing examples of this ‘young’ trend. Among the cutting-edge trendsetters will be the boomers who revisit and redefine the adventuresome spirit they displayed in their youth…
They want to be around activities and opportunities that give meaning and enjoyment to their lives. They want to travel more, learn more, experience more…and live more.
While European and Asian cities provide rich, historic settings for these opportunities, the US isn’t as ideally suited.
Nonetheless, small American cities like Providence, Rhode Island, Columbus, Ohio, Athens, Georgia, and Bellingham, Washington are attracting older boomers who want to work, play and live in vibrant, active communities. Old, decaying manufacturing plants are being repurposed into living spaces shared by millennial hipsters, who increasingly are leaving for the confines of their tiny-home safe havens, and older boomers.
Elsewhere, longevity centres and community-wellness groups featuring natural living and healing practices for ageing adults are sprouting in the long shadow of the dominant medical industrial complex. These healing emporiums will continue to grow steadily.
And even health and fitness practitioners are beginning to develop products that stress enhancing quality of life above ‘coping with life’. Vigorous workout programs uniquely tailored for active, healthy-minded boomers are saturating the infomercial circuit where, just a year ago, they were barely noticed.
As the swell of population moves into their 60s and 70s, their aging bodies are being welcomed by Big Pharma and a corporate medical empire bombarding them with an endless menu of pharmaceutical and high-tech medical wonders.
Today, the lion’s share of lifetime medical costs pile up during a person’s final five years of life. As new technologies emerge, those costs will extend healthy, active lifespans and fuel even more rapid changes to society.
In the big picture, it’s easy to see how Baby Boomers will be part of changing America and the world one more time. The investing trends we’ll generate from this growing theme are immense. And it’s the strongest case imaginable for why you should have breakthrough medical and biotechnology stocks in your portfolio right now.
For Markets and Money
Publisher’s Note: Gerald Celente is founder and director of The Trends Research Institute, author of Trends 2000 and Trend Tracking (Warner Books), and publisher of The Trends Journal. He has been forecasting trends since 1980, and recently called ‘The Collapse of ’09.’