investments benefit from spotting trends was my thought
as I watched Chilled waters on Turnagain Arm lash at Fire
Island. Bitter cold and tendrils of icy grey. Alaskan spring freshness fights
the low clouds that scud in a mackerel sky as the airplane banks low.
investments were on my mind in May 1968. This is my first
flight, Portland Vancouver, Anchorage, Tokyo and onto Hong Kong and we
are about to land in Alaska for fuel. Then we headed east and
there in Asia, opportunity, exotic travel and adventure grabbed hold
for nearly 20 years, a life of work and play outside the USA. With no
background in travel or investing or business at all, who would have
guessed. What a surprise to do all that! But I am a boomer and we were
given the world.
Then two decades
later upon returning to the US, the radio was filled with another surprise. The
music played upon my youth once again reached my ears. Rock and roll music was everywhere! Echoes
of Radio 91
Wonderful KISN (the AM Rock & Roll station of the 60s in Portland) were
playing everywhere! Golden Oldies stations had taken over FM radio.
Quite some time
passed before realizations formed an understanding that the same forces
behind my first trip abroad had also kept that golden
One of the best
ways to thrive and prosper in business and investing is by spotting trends
and this message looks at a huge trend that we
should not ignore.
The trend is created
by demographics. A website on baby boomers says
next nineteen years, one Boomer will turn 60 about every 7.5
seconds. Boomers are confronting a demanding life stage, fraught with
unique developmental challenges. Representing nearly one-third of the
U.S. population, this demographic tidal wave will continue to refocus
businesses on how best to capitalize on a distinctive set of
I am a boomer
entering this world in 1946 with the first of this huge, incredibly rich
generation. Arriving early in the wave and remaining
the leading edge has brought a fortune. Simply put, by doing what
appealed to me early meant that tens of millions of wealthy people were
following in my tracks ready to buy what I already owned. This has been
Let me be honest-it
took me a long time to figure out why success followed me, even when I
made stupid errors. There is probably a slow
leaner gene tucked away somewhere. However once the lesson has been
learned….it stayed. So the trends of the boomers are seriously
and this new trend is…well…new. We boomers were promised
Then we boomers were given the world. Now this world is being taken
This fact was
first highlighted for me perhaps two or years ago by no less a pair of
celebrities known as Randy and Spiff, radio show hosts
who claim that their origins are somehow related to Joliet State
and my return to America (Late 80s) included a home in Naples,
Florida and a cabin nestled nicely on a creek, among pine and fir, in
the North Carolina mountains. This is a nice boomer living combination. The
journey from home south to cabin north required a trek
along Interstate 75. This route forced us near enough to Atlanta that
our radio captured the realms of “FM Fox 97 Radio”. Thus
with the Randy & Spiff show, our first Golden Oldie experience. (Naples
Florida in those days still had an average age of somewhere near the
centurion line-so Glen Miller was more the rave). Atlanta, Fox 97 and
Randy & Spiff may have been among the first to play Golden Oldies.
nostalgic listening and some enjoyment
wandering down memory lane. Of course as time passed these stations
became the FM sensation. Eventually 60s and 70s rock could be heard
Learn more about boomer trends at http://boomers.typepad.com
Then a couple
of years ago Randy & Spiff intervened once more. While traveling north
from Florida we came close to Atlanta. I tried tuning
in FM 97. Randy & Spiff were gone!
As these radio
hosts put it at their website. “From
February of 1989 until January
31, 2003 Randy and Spiff would wake up Atlanta. (Mainly because of the
loud muffler on Spiff's car as he drove to work at four in the
morning.) They would still be waking up Atlanta on 97.1 except once
again they were fired.” (By the way they can now be heard
These two were
leading the way. There were showing me (by their
absence) a demographic factor of significance that was taking
place. FOX Radio was showing even more. The station was appealing
its listeners to write in and say how much they enjoyed Golden Oldies. “Our
advertisers want a new mixture of music that appealed to
younger listeners”, the station said.
My remark to Merri was, “This
is the beginning of the end.”
Now the erosion
of boomer dominance is accelerating. You can see signs everywhere.
A December 19,
2005 article in USA TODAY by Tom Kenworthy entitled “Revamped resorts give boot to ski snobs” is one
example. This article tells how ski parks are catering to snowboarders and
words, this is no place for baby boomers willing to pay $81
for a day of polite skiing at Vail. For $35 a day, snow riders here
will be catching big air as they slam through half pipes, slide atop
rails and tables and attack ‘hit lines’ or a series of bumps,
16-degree slope. Music by Ludacris and the Beastie Boys.”
This trend of
how boomers react to their maturity will have profound implications on
our investments and business. The boomer site mentioned
above points out four areas of significance now.
First, one fourth
of boomers have live-in parents. How they deal with them will create enormous
of boomers are overweight and this creates health issues plus enumerable
For example, Randy Thornhill, an expert on marketing to boomers writes:“ When
it comes their health, baby boomers act like Ponce de Leon and pursue their
fountain of youth through water, not diet and exercise.” That
is about all they do to stay healthy, according to the
latest Southeastern Institute of Research/Boomer Project Boomer Trend
Report. The research among 1,400 adults conducted in November 2005
found that Baby Boomers over the age of 50 say the most important
things to do to stay healthy are to exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
it comes to what they actually do on a regular basis, the
only things Boomers over 50 say they do are drink plenty of water, take
vitamins and get routine healthcare. They do not exercise regularly or
eat a balanced diet.”
This shows how
this site has been guided by its boomerish roots. We started focusing increasingly
on investing in water since the beginning
of this millennium. (However
we also do eat a balanced diet and get regular exercise).
The third opportunity
comes from the fact that 27% of boomers are singles. (This does surprise
me!) and are the most avid users of
internet personal ads.
Boomers are about to be screwed financially. Social Security
is a mess.
Alan Greenspan made the
point about Social Security when he said: "We
may have already committed more physical resources to the Baby-Boom
generation in its retirement years than our economy has the capacity to
About a third
of the boomers are insolvent and have net assets of less than $10,000 and
those who are solvent have to deal with increasing
inflation and a failing, falling US dollar.
won’t bail all the boomers out either.This creates huge avenues of opportunity.
These four problems are
just the tip of the iceberg, so let’s keep
eyes on the boomers. We have profited from their ups and now and we can
participate in the natural course of their reduced influence.
We boomers are
far from out of sight, but our influence is waning. This is a big trend.
Do not miss it! We won’t and look forward
what we observe and learn with you.
By the way you
can gain a clue on what to watch for in an article entitled “The
New Power Generation-How you'll know when the boomers have lost control
of the media.”
The site says, “two
post-boomer developments that boomers don't get and
don't particularly care to get—namely video games and rap music—as
rich source of future ads.” The article suggests that when references
and idioms relating to these developments start to appear in newspaper
headlines and ads it “will be a slap at all boomers, who will grab
their walkers and storm out en masse for a DonMcLean concert.”
also points out that post boomers consider the Beastie Boys
(I honestly do not know who they are-nor Ludacris) as the Beetles of
the post boomers. So when references in ads begin referring to these
groups (look again at the USA TODAY article above) you’ll know what
And if you see and learn from it, you will enjoy good global investing!