What About the Baby Boomers?

By Kate Young

It had to happen eventually. The day has arrived when the distinct needs and habits of the baby boomer generation have begun to converge with the issues facing older Americans.

The eldest members of the boomer generation are now in their 70s. And they need productive banking relationships now more than ever. Unfortunately for them, marketers have been largely preoccupied with the task of mapping out the route to the millennials’ wallets. It’s a big mistake to neglect that older market segment.

May is Older Americans Month.

This national observance is a time to shine a spotlight on the concerns of the older generations. One element of that is identifying ways to promote safe banking for seniors. That’s not just a matter of altruism—and it’s about more than just responsible banking. It’s also a solid marketing strategy.

To understand why that is, look at the numbers that show why baby boomers are still important to banks. And why banks are important to baby boomers. Then think about what we, as marketers, could be doing about it.

Who’s driving your most profitable relationships?

ABA recently released an infographic that quantifies the finances and banking behaviors of the baby boomers.

We’ve all read the news bulletins about how millennials now outnumber the members of any other generation. But while you’re working through strategies to capture millennial accounts, you’ll want to keep these essential facts in mind:

  • The baby boomers currently hold two-thirds of all deposits in the U.S., and they will remain the nation’s wealthiest generation until at least 2030.
  • Fifty percent of baby boomers have more than $100,000 in investable assets.
  • They’re a loyal market segment—58% have never switched financial institutions.

What do they need?

The data show that financial security is a top concern for boomers—as it should be. In addition to concerns about retirement savings and healthcare costs, financial abuse against older Americans is rampant.

What can you do about it?

Boomers aren’t exactly technophobes. About 71% of them use online banking services at least once a week—that’s about the same as Generation X and the millennials. But financial abuse against older Americans takes many forms, many in the cyber realm. Banks are uniquely positioned to provide financial services that are safe, secure, and trusted.

For example, only about 18% of consumers over age 61 currently use mobile banking—this is half the rate you’d see among younger generations. By working with boomers to increase mobile use, banks could increase the use of mobile alerts and the overall level of real-time awareness of account activity.

Trust is key concept here. By working with consumers and communities to identify and avoid scams, identity theft, and other abuses, banks can not only protect their customers, but also strengthen relationships.

“Boomers are loyal bank customers, and banks have numerous opportunities to engage them as they move toward retirement, seek new housing needs, and seek to maintain their financial security,” said ABA Foundation executive director Corey Carlisle.

Through its Safe Banking for Seniors program, ABA offers a suite of free tools—including tip sheets, lesson plans, and media tools—to help fight elder financial abuse.

You can also download the ABA infographic Banking the Boomers.

Kate Young is the content editor of ABABankMarketing.com. Email: [email protected].