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Date: May 09, 2007
Surprising Findings about the Lives of Baby Boomers and Their Parents
Hofstra professor co-authors book that looks at 20 years of studies of the two generations
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY – Contrary to commonly held beliefs, baby boomers are not necessarily better off financially or health-wise compared with their elders, a new book co-authored by Hofstra Prof. Anil Mathur has found.
In fact, the average baby boomer is likely to be in debt, has saved very little for retirement, and has major physical and emotional heath problems. And stress is taking its toll on the health of baby boomers due to their lifestyles, care-giving responsibilities, and unreasonable expectations that fail to become reality, according to Baby Boomers and Their Parents: Surprising Findings on Their Lifestyles, Mindsets, and Well-Being, a new book by Dr. Mathur and Prof. George Moschis of Georgia State University.
The book, which documents 20 years of studies about baby boomers and their parents, highlights similarities and differences between the two generations and helps answer questions about their physical, emotional, and financial well-being. On issues of personal security, appearance, coping with the loss of a loved one, and the desire to leave an inheritance to their children, there is little significant difference in the attitudes of baby boomers and their parents. However, when it comes to issues of money, leisure time, health, aging, and activities of daily living, there are striking differences in their concerns and desires.
Surprisingly, baby boomers are less concerned than their parents about most health issues, despite the finding that overall baby boomers are in worse health than their parents were at the same age. The average person in the middle-aged generation carries more extra pounds than any other age group, and efforts to exercise and diet are usually short-lived.
Baby boomers would rather indulge themselves today than worry about what the future might bring. Baby boomers are more concerned about their ability to maintain their current standard of living as they age (boomers, 92%; parents, 82%), and they admit to having a harder time than their parents keeping up with their weekly bills (boomers, 83%; parents, 61%), paying off credit cards (boomers, 30%; parents, 17%), and sticking to a savings plan (boomers, 37%, parents, 24%).
Other findings of the book:
• Baby boomers are more concerned than their parents about many activities of daily living such as getting good financial or legal advice, being able to fix their meals, and being able to do shopping and run errands.
• Baby boomers also show a great deal of concern that they will not be able to keep their jobs as long as they want or go back to work after “retirement,” in part because they know that they can not afford to retire at age 60 or 65, and in part because they think they are not that old. And they are more concerned than their parents about being able to choose a satisfying retirement lifestyle.
• Despite being called the “me” generation, baby boomers seem to have a more difficult time than their parents finding ways to enjoy themselves. Although baby boomers are more interested in, for example, traveling (79 %) than their parents (60%) and in attending special events and activities (boomers, 59%; parents 43%), time and money are in short supply in the lives of most baby boomers.
• 67 percent of baby boomers are worried about having to take care of their aging parents, compared with only 27 percent of their elders who have living parents. Those in the younger generation are becoming caregivers to their aging parents and relatives at alarming rates, and the added responsibility is a major source of on-going stress that affects their quality of life.
The book reports on a wide variety of topics dealing with day-to-day living, ranging from buying habits to leisure activities and volunteering. The authors use the findings to help people of any generation take steps to plan for, or enhance, their well-being at later stages in life, and to tell marketers and advertisers how to develop products and services that will appeal to the two generations because they could improve their quality of life.
Anil Mathur, PhD., is Vice Dean and Professor of Marketing and International Business at the Frank G. Zarb School of Business at Hofstra University. He has been a consultant to numerous companies and has published extensively in the areas of research methodology and cross-cultural consumer behavior of different generations. Prof. Mathur can be reached at (516) 463-5346 or by email at Anil.Mathur@hofstra.edu.
George Moschis, PhD., is Professor of Marketing, Alfred Bernhardt Research Professor, and the founding director of the Center for Mature Consumer Studies at Georgia State University, where he is also a member of the Gerontology Program Faculty. He has been studying the lifestyles and habits of different generations in the United States and other countries for more than 30 years. Prof. Moschis can be reached at (404) 651-1981 or by email at email@example.com
For an advance review galley of Baby Boomers and Their Parents or help setting up interviews, contact Stu Vincent at (516) 463-6493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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