This is an ongoing series of posts on assisting seniors and their families during transition. Read Ann’s other posts here.
When working with seniors, it is critical to identify the characteristics of this growing segment of the population. While everyone over 55 can be categorized as a senior, AARP uses the guidelines of over 50, senior admission at the movies is 62 and Medicare eligibility is 65 years of age. Many REALTORS® can relate to these distinctions among groups. The average age of a REALTOR® nationally is 56 years old.
In actuality, there are three generations of seniors, each group with different challenges and goals. As defined by William Straus and Neil Howard in “Generations, The History of America’s Futures “ in 1992. By understanding the uniqueness of these age categories real estate professionals will increase their ability to relate to their clients and assist them with their concerns and requests.
Silent Generation (born before 1925.) This population is described as elders. These demographics include septuagenarians, octogenarians, nonagenarians and a growing population of centenarians who are over 100. There is no question that the silent generation has experienced an enormous amount of change during their lives from the advance of technology, a shift in social values and a financial conservatism based on their experiences. The Silent Generation should not be underestimated, they want to be independent and deserve the respect of the younger generations.
The GI Generation (born from 1926-1943.) This particular group can identify with the elders yet shares many characteristics of the older Baby Boomers. They have lived through a World War, a depression and understand the value of a dollar. This group is concerned about retirement, health, and finances. While they value being able to spend time with their families, they also do not want to be dependent on them. This group embraces their independence and their own social life.
Baby Boomers (born from 1943-1960.) This group usually does not consider themselves seniors. They are often described as the generation that has decided “to stay young.” While this segment might be increasing in age, most are extremely active, are entrepreneurs and do not intend to drop out of the action anytime soon. Often this group is also considered the ‘sandwich generation’. They are still raising children, paying for college, working and assisting elder parents. The Boomers are financially savvy, ambitious and have been labeled as materialistic. Retirement may be postponed or replaced by partial employment opportunities.
When working with the over 50 population, a Realtor should assist these buyers and sellers explore their unique real estate needs. By understanding the mind set and the strengths and weaknesses of each age segment, the professional can provide an invaluable service. Further exploration of the housing market and options for the over 50 group will also be important in assisting seniors and their families to make appropriate and successful transitions.
Dr. Ann Meyerson is an agent at William Raveis in Westport, Conn. and specializes in helping seniors and their families during real estate transitions. She has been featured as an industry expert on Channel 12 News and has hosted the Real Estate Forum on Channel 88. Ann shares her professional time between Connecticut and Florida where she is actively involved in Senior Transitions and is affiliated with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®. You can learn more from Dr. Ann Meyerson on Facebook, Twitter,LinkedIn, YouTube, FourSquare and her blog.