Today, 10,000 people in the U.S, will turn 65
They’re part of a huge demographic shift that’s changing the culture, as millions of baby boomers born in the middle of the 20th century try to figure out how to live the last third of their lives in the 21st. The only thing different about today is: most of those 10,000 people will be sheltering in place and having their birthday celebrations on Zoom.
Early on in the pandemic, I saw this quote from Scott Galloway, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business: While other crises in the past have reshaped the future, COVID-19 is just making the future happen faster. Things won’t change going forward as much as they will accelerate.
It made a lot of sense to me and I keep coming back to it as I watch the world struggle to adjust and make sense of it all. The scope of the pandemic is profound and just about everyone sheltering in place during this bardo has spent time reevaluating their priorities and revisioning their futures. There’s little doubt that things will be different for lots of different people going forward.
So what does that mean for all those aging baby boomers? How will the experience of COVID-19 accelerate the answers to some of the existential questions they were already wrestling with? Here are some guesses:
More people will retire sooner. Those last few years of work-life and income won’t seem as important as they once did.
Downsizers who have been procrastinating and resisting the inevitability of change will finally be motivated to make the moves they’ve been planning for years. The lasting lesson of Covid? Why wait!
Since the illusion of normalcy has been shattered, downsizers will be more open to adjustments in their own status quos. Since they’ve made recent compromises in almost every aspect of their daily lives, the thought of future compromises won’t seem so difficult.
There will be a large two-way migration of family members moving closer together. More aging baby-boomers will move to states where their grown children reside and increasing numbers of grown kids will return to the communities their parents live in.
More aging-baby boomers will resolve to avoid assisted living situations at all costs. New and expanded multi-generational living options and lifestyles will emerge. Sustainable households that incorporate three generations will become more common.
More people will cancel their plans for extensive travel in the future and opt to purchase 2nd homes and vacation properties instead. The thought of a private mountain cabin or a beach home will be more appealing than the thought of airplanes and hotels.