A while back I got into my car, flicked on the radio and realized that there just wasn’t anything for me to listen to. It seems that all of the stations were programming their music for — oh, it pains me to say it — much younger audiences. We Baby Boomers were once defined by radio, but have we become irrelevant to the broadcast industry? Flash forward — there’s an app for that, a free iPhone app called, appropriately enough, Boomer Radio. It was created by a couple of Boomers who decided that their generation needed a single place to go for the music that we grew up with (oldies and rock & roll), plus the genres we’ve embraced as adults (smooth jazz, acoustic rock, etc.).
The Boomer Radio folks believe that other media outlets don’t appreciate that there are more than 80 million of us Baby Boomers and that we control more than three-quarters of all wealth in the U.S. And what Boomer Radio also knows, but no other media outlet seems to understand, is that over the next 10 years, Baby Boomers will inherit more than 8.4 trillion dollars, the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world.
That breaks down to $300,000 each for 70% of all Boomers, 10% of who will inherit more than a million and a half dollars. And when you consider that this is an audience that has the lowest savings rates in history, it begs the obvious questions: Will Boomers see their windfall as a second chance and squirrel the money away? Will they use the cash to pay off their debts and start clean? Or will they see the new income as an unexpected gift and continue with their profligate ways? Only time will tell.
But with all due respect to the economists and legislators who are spending a lot of time sussing this out, I believe it truly doesn’t matter. Because regardless of what Boomers decide to do with their money as a cohort, there’s going to be an awful lot of cash flying around. And than means opportunities.
Boomer Radio is busy figuring out how to be the go-to media source for these newly flush Boomers looking for the music they grew up with. Chris Crowley and the Younger Next Year book series folks are working hard to be the go-to information and inspiration source for Boomers who aren’t willing to go gently into the good night. Olay is creating skin care products and messaging for Boomers who are not willing to “age gracefully.”
Apple has added a setting to their iPhone to increase text size for Boomer’s failing eyes (Interested? You can find it at Setting > General > Accessibility > Large Text. You’re welcome). Ford has designed a new Taurus with SUV-like seat heights for Boomers who have trouble fitting themselves into low-slung cars but don’t want to buy trucks. And hearing aid manufacturers are designing devices that look like Bluetooth earpieces for hard-of-hearing Boomers who are too vain to accept traditional looking equipment.
BRP has created the three-wheeled Can-Am Spyder Roadster for consumers who want their open air motorcycling served up with a little more stability. Porsche has created the Cayenne SUV and Panamera sedan for drivers who want their performance with a side order of comfort. And even Ferrari has thrown their Borsalino hat into the Boomer-accommodation ring, releasing their first-ever station wagon, the FF (no, really!).
The Baby Boom is really going to explode as the largest, most narcissistic population ever finds itself suddenly flush with cash and continues on its self-centered journey for self-expression and hedonistic experiences. And companies all over the world, from real estate developers to restaurants to cruise lines to banks and investment houses are going to trip all over themselves trying to service this free-spending audience.
For best practices tomorrow, they should upload the Boomer Radio app today. Besides listening to some of the greatest music ever created, they can keep an eye on how the media company is positioning themselves because Boomer Radio has seen the future and it is us.