Throughout the world the growth of this age group is having a transformative impact, economically and socially. The US alone is home to 111 million in the 50-plus cohort; they represent a powerful force that is driving economic growth and value.
Collectively, they are very active in the workplace— staying employed for longer, earning wages, spending more money, generating tax revenue, and producing economic value for an extended period of time. They are also critical in driving entrepreneurship and investment, and as enthusiastic consumers of leisure activities. Beyond these economic contributions, people over 50 also account for the majority of volunteering, philanthropy, and donation activities in the US.
We are neglecting and sidelining the greatest generation this country has ever produced.
They have life experience, and know what works and what doesn't.
They are motivated to pass along their legacy of work, personal responsiblity, freedom and prosperity.
They want to connect with and help their grandkids be successful.
They control over 75% of the nations wealth and want to "pass it along" to their family and good causes that support their legacy.
Grandparents have become economic anchors for America’s new renaissance in multigenerational family living. Many routinely pay for extended-family vacations, fund 529 plans to cover college costs, or subsidize their grown Boomer or Xer kids. A recent TD Ameritrade survey reported that grandparents spend an average of $2,383 annually on their grandchildren. And according to the Kenan Institute, Americans age 65+ are now more than twice as likely to be caring for non-elderly family members than they are to be receiving care themselves.
It’s a new reality that’s turning seniors into pillars of financial support for their children, grandchildren and their community, as well as changing public perceptions of old age.
They are great Entrepreneurs
A study by the Kauffman Foundation that surveyed more than 650 US-born CEOs and heads of product development found that, even in the tech space, there were twice as many 50-plus tech founders than there were people under 25—debunking a common misperception that tech entrepreneurism is driven by ambitious young folks in the Bay Area. Another analysis using BLS self employment data found a large shift in patterns of entrepreneurship toward older demographics, specifically those 55 and older. In fact those aged 55-64 have had the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity in the US over the last 10 years and one in three businesses in the US in that timeframe was started by an entrepreneur aged 50 or older.
They are great Philanthropists
Baby Boomers and the 50-plus cohort also make a huge philanthropic, charitable and volunteer contribution to US society, an area of spill-over value that is often overlooked. Those over 65, for example, are found to give the largest amount, averaging $1,672 over 12 months.
A study by Merrill Lynch on retirement, in partnership with Age Wave, argued that “as Baby Boomers retire, they will create an $8 trillion surge—[representing] the total value of retirees’ giving and volunteering.” Not only do older people tend to donate at higher rates than younger cohorts, they also tend to give more in monetary terms when they do donate.
They are Controlling the greatest Wealth Transfer in History
The majority (83 percent) of household wealth in the US is held by people over 50. What is not donated during retirement years is generally transferred to descendants when people pass away. The Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College constructed a Wealth Transfer Microsimulation Model based on a number of federal datasets to estimate the wealth transfer to descendants and charity over a 20-year and 55-year timeframe. Overall, researchers forecast $58.1 trillion in transfers between 2007 and 2061, which they term “the largest wealth transfer in American history.”
What this country looks like in 10-20 years will be determined by how that transfer of wealth happens.
Grandparents can Help us on Numerous Fronts
Grandkids - their grandparents want to connect and are anxious to help out with their education and life-skills learning. They see their grandkids as their legacy - those that will carry their torch long after they have passed away.
Universities - grandparent are not only potential students now they are staying longer in the workforce and engaging in entrepreneurial activities, but they are also potential donors - especially if the university is helping their grandkid be successful.
Businesses - grandparents represent a large portion of their GDP in the country and will be particularly loyal to those businesses that are actively supporting their grandchild.
The Country - grandparents have played a significant role in building up this country to lead the world, they know what works and what doesn't. We need them to pass along those time-tested values and experience that have built great civilizations throughout history.
The Family - the family in its many different forms will be much stronger and productive if the grandparents are lending a hand.
Schools - the grandchild's schools will perform better as the grandparents become an active part of the education of their grandchild.