Money Market: Baby Boomers

category - millennials
category - age
category - baby boomers
sector - retail
type - market focus
Market Focus
Turning their backs on the term ‘elderly’, Baby Boomers are working until later in life than previous generations and re-inventing retirement on their own terms

Born between 1946 and 1964, Baby Boomers are nearing or have reached the traditional age of retirement.

Yet, for many it is not a route into which they are choosing to venture straightaway. While the rhetoric about Baby Boomers has painted them as enjoying a charmed existence at the expense of Millennials, they are in fact struggling with their own financial issues.

Many have failed to save adequately for their longer life expectancies and are therefore having to work later in life to counteract this shortfall. At the same time they are also rejecting the stereotypes about old age and seeking purpose in work. As a result, one in three Baby Boomers in the US does not expect to retire until at least 70, if at all (source: Insured Retirement Institute).

Retirement relinquishers

Nearly one in 10 Baby Boomers in the UK is now labelled as a ‘retirement returnee’ – those who are continuing to work in some capacity – either through an established business, returning to their job on a consultancy basis or making money from a hobby (source: Brewin Dolphin).

For the majority (56%) of retirement returnees money is the main motivator because, although being a generation that is £78,000 ($96,760, €87,880) wealthier than people the same age a decade ago, they are also expected to live longer (sources: Brewin Dolphin, Financial Conduct Authority). As well as being driven by money, 53% of those surveyed also stated that they wanted to continue working to keep their mind active, while 50% were worried about getting bored (source: Brewin Dolphin). There is an overriding sense among this generation that work is about more than just financial security; it is an opportunity to continue feeling knowledgeable, confident and valued in society (source: Harris Poll).


Published by:

11 August 2020

Author: Rhiannon McGregor

Image: Flipping the Ladder by Gant praises the power of career-switching


Senior Spaces by Studio LONK and Ditt in collaboration with Brightpensioen for TSH Collab. Photography by Michiel Landeweerd

Reaching retirement age is therefore less about complete liberation from the workforce and more about the opportunity to work more flexibly. The idea of the sideline, or side hustle, is also becoming increasingly relevant for Baby Boomers. On-demand staffing platform Wonolo, which offers blue collar and contractor jobs, reported that one in three (31%) of its Baby Boomer workers are taking on three shift jobs a week in 2019, compared to just 22% of Millennials.

As more brands acquire Boomer workers, they will need to consider how they can adapt both their benefits package and their office space to better suit this ageing workforce. Earlier this year, the Amsterdam-based co-working space TSH Collab explored this idea with its project Senior Spaces, in which its headquarters were transformed into an age-friendly working environment. Wheelchair-accessible ramps, chairs with deep lumbar support and a café serving health supplements were just some of the initiatives proposed by the brand to help support older employees.

A flat-age approach

A big part of the emotional shift away from retirement is linked to the fact that Baby Boomers do not subscribe to the term ‘elderly’ and – as the Brewin Dolphin survey quoted above illustrates – work is therefore an opportunity to keep their minds active and continue on their journey of self-improvement.

This year, Saga, the personal finance and travel company renowned for targeting the over-50s, experienced catastrophic losses. Michael Skapinker, associate editor of the Financial Times, attributes this decline to the brand’s inability to understand that Baby Boomers do not define themselves by their age. ‘When I was younger, I chaired a discussion about new opportunities to sell products and services to older consumers,’ writers Skapinker. ‘Now that I have reached the age we were talking about, I am not interested in these carefully directed products.’

‘One in three (31%) of [Wonolo’s] Baby Boomer workers are taking on three shift jobs a week in 2019, compared to just 22% of Millennials.’
Staffing platform, Wonolo

Want to read more?
Become a member today!

Sign up to one of our subscribtion packages and get unlimited access to a hive of insights - from microtrends and macro trends to market reports, daily news, research across eight industry sectors and much more.

Discover our memberships

Already a member? Click here to login

Become a member of LS:N Global

Find out more