Well, I sure didn’t until I read an article the other day which said that “middle boomers” are those individuals who were born between 1952 and 1958. I quickly realized that I was a member of this group, one which apparently, differs distinctly from the youngest and oldest boomers, so called “bookends”. We middle boomers (can I call us “mb’s” for short?) number 29 million, comprise 38% of all baby boomers and make up 10% of the U.S. population, which makes us mb’s the largest of the three baby boomer segments.
A recent MetLife study shows some interesting characteristics for us mb’s:
- Most middle boomers consider themselves in good health but many are concerned about their ability to afford rising health care costs.
- Only 8% of middle boomers are fully retired and 60% work full time.
- Most middle boomers don’t think they can retire until they’re at least 66 and over half feel that they’re behind in their retirement savings.
- 86% are homeowners and 15% would consider a reverse mortgage to finance their retirement.
- Middle boomers won’t consider themselves old until 75 years old.
- Priorities have shifted in the past few years. Now we focus on family, financial security, personal well-being and wellness.
As I read these and other characteristics, I felt a tremendous sense of validation as they resonated with my own internal feelings. But it also got me to thinking about the huge differences that exist between my generation and that of my teenage son. The number one item that came to mind was technology. Of course, we never had the Internet or computers when I was growing up but statistics show that seniors are rapidly adapting to technology.
In the five year period between November, 2004 and November, 2009, the number of seniors actively using the Internet increased by more than 55%, from 11.5 million active users to 17.5 million. In addition, in that same period of time, time spent on the Internet by seniors increased by 11% from 52 hours per month to 58 hours per month.
You may ask, what are those seniors doing on the Internet? Not surprisingly, a study by The Nielsen Company showed that for 88.6% of seniors, checking personal e-mail was their number one online activity in the past 30 days. Interestingly enough, checking personal healthcare information online represented a primary online activity for 47.3% of the seniors, which ranked seventh among the most popular online activities.
For those of you who might think that seniors might shy away from social networking and blog sites, think again. The number of unique visitors 65 and over increased 53% in the last two years alone. Even more amazing to me is that 8.2% of all social network and blog visitors are over 65 and this figure is a mere 0.1 percentage points less than the number of teenagers who come to these sites.
These figures seem to indicate that us mb’s, our fellow younger and older baby boomers as well as our parents, are embracing the technology that is available to us. It would seem logical for this trend to continue, thus making the senior population a powerful voice in the online community.