Welcome to the Gray Area

The trick is growing up without growing old.” ~ Casey Stengel

Do we become “old” when we find our first gray hair? Or when we receive our first invitation to become a member of AARP? Maybe we don’t grow old but simply determined to act as young as we feel. Look around. We represent the largest slice of the U.S. population and we continue to grow by leaps and bounds.

In fact, every day for the next 19 years, 10,000 individuals just like us will be turning 65 years of age.

We are not the retirement “snowbirds” like our parents, so we continue to defy traditional expectations. Due to our numbers we have never known an age when we didn’t matter. So why start now? Despite the inevitable aging process, we intend to go the distance, and that is the key to our staying relevant. Remember, we grew up at a time in America when anything was possible. So why should we suddenly believe that we should matter less now and not be able to continue to chart our own course into the future?

We have a great deal of influence on our children and grandchildren as a valued source of advice on all matters, including financial, because we have the power-and economic clout on our side.  We hold 91 percent of America’s net worth and control nearly $80 billion in economic power. That makes us the single greatest economic force in the U.S. population. We spend more on cars, clothes, homes, dining, travel, technology, entertainment, furniture and other personal goods than our younger counterparts.

So what have we been up to in the past year?

  • 40% changed employment
  • 25% experienced the death of a parent
  • 23% became a grandparent
  • 20% survived a serious illness
  • 18% provided care to parents or grandchildren on a regular basis
  • 13% had the last of their children move out of the house
  • 12% had an adult child move back home
  • 8% have gotten divorced
  • 5% remarried

We are continually motivated to learn and grow. Disengaging is not an option. A strong work ethic is etched into our DNA; Most of us intend to work for as long as possible for both emotional fulfillment and mental stimulation. We view happiness and well-being in equal parts: physical, mental and spiritual. We seek out age-extending traditional and non-traditional therapies, so we’re not shy when it comes to extending our wellness arsenal. Eight in 10 of us believe medical breakthroughs will keep us active and vigorous well into our 80s so we have a tendency to describe our health status as “good” to “excellent.” Therefore we base our age on how we think and feel, not on our birth date. From where we’re standing we believe we have a whole lot of life ahead of us.