The baby boomers are BOOMing. With a generation of 80 million seniors and soon-to-be seniors who together hold 77% of all personal assets, it only makes sense to target this generation as a valuable source of consumers and innovators. In fact, it would be economically inefficient, if not destructive, not to.
Always the leader in forward-thinking, the Silicon Valley is making moves to tap what they are calling the $750 billion “Silver Senior” market as companies explore the economic opportunities of tapping into the growing senior population.
We are used to seeing startups focus exclusively on the ambitious, 20-somethings of our nation’s top college campuses -millennials who are willing to accept long hours for small paychecks. However, this trend has become a recurring cycle with young founders seeking out young employees who understand a market targeted at young consumers, ultimately shutting out the senior population.
So what is a 20 year-old University of Michigan student doing interning for a reverse mortgage company?
It’s about to be all about the seniors.
Startup companies are re-thinking their old critiques that senior generations are difficult customers who may be stuck in their ways as we see older generations now dominating social networking sites like Facebook and becoming increasingly more knowledgeable with technology and active on the internet.
This target shift has emerged as a result of the decline in younger populations on popular social networking sites. However, rather than seeing this as a decline, there is a growing use of the site by older generations.
This is further supported by evidence in online health startups whose funding was up 39% in 2013 with over $1.9 billion in funding. Health-related technology companies are excelling alongside healthcare, home and garden, nutrition, and vacation rental companies. This boom has the opportunity for startups to expand their consumer base and company to include both young entrepreneurs and experienced seniors.
As an industry, elderly care has been valued at $4.5 million, 18% more than games, 15% above the fashion industry and $12.5% above consumer goods –all of which should appeal to all generations.
Not only could this benefit companies, but there are a multitude of benefits for seniors who plan to work later into retirement.
Seniors bring a sense of maturity, perspective, and experience that could greatly benefit young start-up companies. Hiring seniors who have already made their mark in the working world is going to attract people genuinely interested in your company. They are no longer looking for the experience that will offer a big-brand to show off on their resume, nor are they the competitors who are climbing the rungs after your position. These are individuals looking to engage their creative side which could only benefit your company with this fresh perspective. This creative type of work –working minus the stress- could greatly benefit your health by engaging cognitive thinking on a daily basis.
From a financial perspective, even a part-time position could greatly alleviate financial stress in retirement. Working later will preserve your social security funds making for a smoother transition into retirement. Not only that, but you will avoid the abrupt loneliness or boredom sometimes associated with retirees who areused to the competitive, fast-paced nature of their former work life.
In order to take advantage of the prosperous senior market we need to be able to anticipate the needs of retirees -something that is difficult for young entrepreneurs. Millennials can only benefit from working alongside seniors. Slate put it best saying, “if young founders are closer to young markets, then the logic should work in reverse.”
We want to know! What advice can you share with millennials based off of your work experience?