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Friday, September 9, 2011

The changing definition of retirement

Today’s New York Times carries an interesting piece on the now bi-partisan thinking that something—we’re not sure what, but something—needs to be done to reduce the cost of Medicare and Social Security.  Click here to see the story.

I raise the issue not for its political zest, but for its likely impact on consumer behavior. 

Implications:   Many people (including me) have been saying this for years, but it now seems more apparent that retirement will look different for future generations than it has over the past fifty years. 

It is likely that future retirees will have to be more self-reliant, in terms of having an income, paying for more of their own healthcare, and more.  How might that impact consumer’s investment decisions in their 20’s and 30’s?  How might this influence spending decisions for people in their 40’s and 50’s? 

Just as important, how does your company, product or service fit into this new "golden years" landscape.  Are you ready to serve customers who have deferred their retirement?  Are you ready to meet a LOT more people who consider themselves to be semi-retired, and perhaps never fully retired?  How will their needs be different than those of past customers age 65 and older?

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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