What is a Baby Boomer?
According to Merriam Webster - Baby Boomer is a person born during a period in which there is a marked rise in a population's birthrate. This term is used primarily for a person born in the United States following the end of the Second World War and in the years from 1946 to 1964. Though this is the literal meaning, in general terms, this word is used to describe the older section of our society.
What is the story behind the baby boomer term?
Most nations' economies and industries were destroyed after the World War 2, and only the US was thriving. The country turned its war production into consumer products to meet the world demand, and it had no such competition from other countries. It led to the fastest growing economic prosperity for the nation and created the highest standard of living in any country ever witnessed in such a short span of time. From the automobile to telecommunication to atomic energy, most of the industries in the US were booming along with its population. Hence the children born during this time are called boomers.
Generational cohorts are defined mainly by birth year, not current age, there are other cohorts such as Generation X, Generation Y or Millennials, and Generation Z. The term "Millennial" has become popular, and Generation Z is the youngest people on the planet right now.
The baby boomer generation is the progeny of the Silent Generations and precede Generation X. They are also known as parent of the Millennials. The silent generations grew up with the hardship of the Great Depression and won World War 2. On the other hand, baby boomers had everything handed to them in the era of newfound prosperity.
The first use of the word baby boomer is from January 1963. The Daily Press newspaper article described an increase of college enrollments as the oldest boomers coming of age. In the Oxford English Dictionary, the term dates to a January 23, 1970 article published in the newspaper The Washington Post.
This new generation of the Post War era were the inhabitants of the modern world, which concluded the war following it countries around the world came together to lay the foundation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its purpose is to provide equal human rights and also value and protect all lives regardless of faith, colour, and gender.
When were the baby boomers born?
In most of the Western countries, the baby boomers are referred to those born immediately after the end of World War II with the rise of the birth rate that came with it. Interestingly in Australia, the birth rate was on the rise, even during WWII. In Europe, birth rates started rising from the mid-1930s, and it saw a post-war baby boom which lasted till the late 1960s. In China, the baby boom cohort is the largest in the world. For Korea, the baby boom happened after the Korean War. Its government then encouraged people to have two children.
In the US, baby boomers are as much as 20% of the entire American population. The population played a substantial role in shaping American culture at large. Currently, most boomers are at retirement age, a matter of great concern as to how the country will deal with the ageing population.
Why is the baby boomer’s generation so significant?
The generation before baby boomers faced a lot of difficulty in the US. They saw the Great Depression; during the war, they endured food shortages etc. When it was all over this generation could finally afford to have a lot of children. The post-war era also saw a wave of unprecedented economic prosperity. With it came the optimism for a better life. The spike in birth rate elevated American fertility rate hike, and it continued for another 18 years.
With the growth of these boomers from babies to children to adults to now seniors, the US reshaped itself. Different industries saw unprecedented growth, manufactures and advertisers targeted this new generation in the new prosperous world. Baby boomers dominated the popular culture in the 1950s and 1960s. They led the social change, which changed the basic fabric of the country. Be it the Civil Rights Movements or protest against the Vietnam War, the boomers were the forefront of it. They also gave a platform to the feminist movement. Their concerns and life experiences show a significant influence on American culture.
How do baby boomers want to plan their life ahead of retirement?
We need to understand the baby boomers are the generation of first men to walk on the moon, and they are the generation which promoted civil rights and encouraged an end to the Vietnam War. They also were high spirited and wanted to change the world to be a better place, but they also witnessed assassinations of iconic figures like Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King. Depression-era parents raised them. Most importantly, they saw the rise of technology.
Children of Baby boomers have seen a massive change in technology across. A quick read through How has Trading Changed for Millennials? Technology Taking Charge in Shaping Trading Habits, will help to update on how stock trading changed for them.
Now that the baby boomers are at the retirement age or already retired, study suggests most of them plan on fulfilling their bucket list items like travelling or living in the countryside on a farm. The Greatest or the Silent Generation had very few investment options, typically in bonds or certificates of deposit. But baby boomers have a varied range of options to grow their hard-earned money and also enjoy its rewards. Industry experts suggest that the baby boomers may choose not to retire early. It could mean postponing retirement, or consulting or getting a part time job. Another important aspect is healthcare. Many baby boomers are in their last 60s and early 70s, it's never too late to work on the healthcare plan.
Also read: Five Smart Investment Tips for Millennials