60′’s baby boomers not ”developing new third age lifestyles”

October 10th, 2008 - 12:43 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, October 10 (ANI): Britain’’s post-war baby boomers, who experienced an unusual boost in birth rates, are far from ”developing new third age lifestyles, and want to retire the traditional way.
The first of the baby boomers are often acknowledged for being the primary age group that experienced the social change of becoming a more prosperous consumer society following the effects of Great Depression and World War II.
Yet, according to an academic research supported by the Economic and Social Research Council and Arts and Humanities Research Council, they want to spend their retirement days conventionally either travelling or using second homes or by watching TV, playing records or taking long walks.
Dr Rebecca Leach explained the study’’s revelations that “provide only limited evidence that first wave boomers are developing new third age lifestyles.”
The study further found that most people hoped to maintain their present lifestyles and activities, if their health and finances allowed them to.
Though the range of lifestyles themselves had become greater for the 60′’s generation, only three per cent of the people questioned revealed that they practiced health provision falling under the ”alternative” consumption category.
The research led by Dr Leach at Keele University and King’’s College, London, particularly focused on examining the extent to which the baby boomers saw themselves as a distinct generational group and this might affect their consumption patterns.
It was revealed that only a minority of 41 per cent categorised themselves as boomers, while some members of the group saw themselves in a totally different light-such as the baby bulge group, the burden group, the lucky generation, the political generation, etc.
The research also showed that the familial responsibilities of the baby boomers have increased rather than reduced with 43 per cent, born between 1945-1952, having at least one child living at home while 37 per have financial responsibility for other members of the household - usually children.
Progress in life expectancy meant that 43 per cent of people aged 50-57 still had a mother alive, and 20 per cent a father.
They displayed a shifting change towards inheritance, where according to the study, with more aging groups wanting to enjoy life with their wealth rather than be bothered about leaving their inheritance.
Consequently, this change played a significant role in their lifestyles, with housing taking a priority. 33 per cent of boomers owned their homes outright and 52 per cent had mortgages, while 15 per cent had second homes.
Other lifestyle alternatives that were of particular interest with the boomers was global travel and cosmopolitan food choices, with 81 per cent of the people surveyed went on holiday abroad at least every two years.
Dr Leach said: “Travel was a major consumption item for boomers and loomed large in projects for retirement.
“Less evident was any wholesale transfer of teenage consumption concerns into midlife: boomers might have been the first teenagers, but they have now grown up. Consumer interests have matured, notably around interests linked to homes, gardens and travel.”
The research further unfolded that most boomers - 70 per cent - felt younger than their actual age and identified themselves more with their children than their parents or older generational age bands.
They “see ageing as something that requires managing but is not overly problematic.” Dr Leach showed that while 69 per cent of people interviewed agreed that it was possible to plan for retirement, 71 per cent were themselves making either no plans or only limited ones.
The researchers also took into consideration the fact that boomers were also early exponents of a consumer society
“In the same way that music, fashion and mobility were used to construct a teenage identity, consumption can be seen to play a similar role in mid-life: the notion of the big trip or the retirement project - usually a hobby or home building project - providing a focus for boomers” spending as well as a source of self worth and esteem.”
Dr. Leach substantiated that though the baby boom generation was believed to identify with all that followed in its changing society, the reality of it all was under estimated.
She said: “There are lots of assumptions about baby boomers: that they are wealthy, radical individuals who are spending the kids” inheritance; but this research shows that the reality is much more complex and ordinary - some of what it means to be a ”boomer” is because of shared life experiences but some of it is driven by the same challenges (health, wealth, jobs and family) as those faced by all of us.” (ANI)

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