I am a Baby Boomer. I love music. Especially rock and roll music. Not long ago I was watching PBS and they played a performance by two of my longtime music favorites, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood. I was blown away by the passion and drive as they played some of my favorite songs from their old supergroup Blind Faith. I remember commenting to my wife Cindy, "Not bad for a couple of 60 somethings". I've followed Clapton's career since he played with the Yardbirds. Then came John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Derrick and the Dominos and his extensive solo career. There's no better blues or rock guitarist. I also remember Winwood's lead singing on "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "I'm a Man" for the Spencer Davis Group when I was 13 years old. He went on to form Traffic, then Blind Faith and a prolific solo career. For every rock star of that era with an early demise such as Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison, there are others who are redefining what it means to be a senior citizen. Have you seen the Rolling Stones or Tina Turner perform lately?
What does all this mean to your business? Markets and services have changed to adapt to and accommodate Baby Boomers through every stage of their lives; from the growth and expansion of school districts and colleges to the housing starts in the 70s when the Boomers began forming households. Boomers comprise the largest and most educated group of employees in the U. S. According to the National Association of Realtors, Boomers own more homes than any other age group. They own 57% of all vacation homes and 57% of all rental properties in the U. S. Today there are 78 million Boomers and they have 70% of America's net worth. They are the wealthiest consumer group in the U. S. and their choices are influential. It is only to be expected that the Boomers will shape retirement in this country to fit their needs and desires.
What are some of these needs and desires? Among them are:
- Low cost of living
- Access to quality health care, including alternative medical practices
- Access to eclectic, quality restaurants
- Access to music and art related cultural activities
- Access to continuing educational opportunities
- Access to eentrepreneurial business opportunities
- Access to active recreational activities, ideally near a lake, river or ocean
- A temperate climate
Does any of this sound like Savannah and the surrounding area? According to the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center, starting by 2010 and for the next 20 years, until 2030, the Boomers will populate our six coastal counties and the adjoining four inland counties, raising our population by 50% to over 840,000 people. Is your business ready for this?