When it comes to ageing, the way over-50s in Australia think, feel and live is light years away from the tired stereotypes perpetuated in the media and the out-of-date assumptions held by the general population.
The reality is, according to research into ageing by WPP AUNZ, Australia’s over-50s are thriving. Instead of winding down, they’re gearing up – enjoying and living the best years of their lives.
Based on interviews of 2500 Australians aged between 50 and 79, the report – Ageless & Booming – examines the “lies” believed about the over-50s demographic and, more importantly, reveals how far from the truth they are.
According to respected futurist and social forecaster Rose Herceg, Chief Strategy Officer at WPP AUNZ, the biggest surprise that came out of the research was the size of the chasm between perceptions and reality of how the over-50s spent their time.
“The average person thinks over-50s are all about slowing down. But in reality, they’re getting married, going to university, getting into fitness, buying a new home, or starting a new business,” she said.
“The over-50s are looking to explore new interests and are motivated by the same things as younger generations”.
The research also found that 69 per cent of respondents said that age has never been less relevant, 78 per cent feel much younger than their age and almost two-thirds said they were living their best years yet.
Retirement, as perceived by the general public and media, doesn’t come close to describing the reality of the over-50s and beyond. They’re active, fitter, healthier and open to new experiences and adventures. Some are working full-time or part-time and they do not consider themselves old.
According to Rose, advertisers and marketers are guilty of misfiring with the over-50s, using lazy clichés that are as insulting as they are inaccurate. In fact, 94 per cent of people over 50 dislike the way brands and marketers communicate with them.
“Marketing by businesses to the over-50s tends to focus around slowing down, disconnecting, and opting out. Banks, for example, focus on retirement and superannuation whereas one in three of those starting new businesses is over-50. So why not talk to them about financing instead?” she said.
“Tech companies ignore this demographic but the over-50s are spending more time online than Millennials and Generation X. The assumptions and limits placed on them by others are annoying to this demographic.”
Booming both in numbers and lifestyle, the reality of how Australia’s over-50s are living their lives is far removed from societal stereotypes and shows a group that’s embracing life with ambition and purpose.
“The last 25 to 30 years of life should be the most exciting. Usually, the third act of a play is when the best stuff happens. In a traditional narrative, that’s when things get interesting and the exciting part of the story happens,” said Rose.
Rose Herceg will be a special guest speaker at GemLife’s Ageless & Booming Downsizing Forum in Melbourne on Tuesday, 31 March. Join us and our panel of experts for a special forum to learn more about over-50s lifestyle resorts – a unique model that lets homebuyers downsize their responsibilities and upsize their lifestyle – and hear the latest insights about how the over-50s are living their lives and how poorly the media and the general public understand this active and vibrant demographic.
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