Baby boomers are not only getting older – they are getting wealthier. As they reach retirement age, they bring along with them a large amount of wealth that needs to be invested, spent, and finally bequeathed to their heirs or charity.
One interesting aspect of the baby boomer phenomenon is the influence of gender. Not only do women live longer than men but overseas research shows that women are the key decision makers in around 85% of all consumer purchases. They also wield the greatest influence when it comes to charitable giving. As this population bubble reaches the age when they can afford to be generous and when they will have to make decisions about what happens to their money, women will play a key role. It’s what you might call the WOW factor – Wealthy Older Women deciding what to do with their money!
Numerous studies in the UK and the US show that women are more likely to give – and give more – than men. This has been attributed to women’s higher levels of altruism and empathy. Another possible explanation is the different attitudes between men and women towards money. For men, money may represent power, achievement or prestige while women tend to view money in terms of personal security, freedom, and a way to achieve goals.
Smart charities will be actively cultivating relationships with baby boomers to tap into their generosity, and women, particularly women in high income brackets, should be right in their sights. Smart marketers will be doing their research on wealthy older women to find out what they want to spend their money on. After all, baby boomers have only three choices with their wealth – they can spend it themselves, leave it to their family, or give it to charity. They certainly can’t take it with them.
Liz Koh is an Authorised Financial Adviser and author of Your Money Personality; Unlock the Secret to a Rich and Happy Life, Awa Press. The advice given here is general and does not constitute specific advice to any person. A disclosure statement can be obtained free of charge by calling 0800 273 847.