In March 2010, the MetLife Mature Market Institute took an in-depth look at "Boomers in the Middle" -- those born between 1952 and 1958, a group that they say differs from the youngest and oldest boomers (or the "bookends"). According to MetLife, boomers can be divided into three distinct groups: the Middle Boomers (born 1952-1958), the Young Boomers (born 1959-1964) and the Older Boomers (born 1946-1951). MetLife looked at both the Young Boomers and Older Boomers in prior studies.
The three distinct grew up in different areas and therefore have different characteristics, according to MetLife. As the boomers grow older and reach important stages in their lives, it's vital for us to gain an in-depth understanding of their socio-economic characteristics and demographics so that society can adequately meet their needs as they age.
The29 million Middle Boomers comprise 38% of all Baby Boomers and make up 10% of the U.S. population, making them the largest of the three boomer segments. The Middle Boomers have some characteristics that resemble either their older or younger counterparts, but in many ways have an identity all their own.
Here are a few key findings from MetLife's study:
- Middle Boomers are a true representation of the "Sanwich Generation". More than half have children living at home, more than half have grandchildren, and two-thirds have at least one living parent.
- Most Middle Boomers consider themselves in good health, but many are concerned about being able to afford the costs of care as they age, with costs for assisted living, nursing homes, and senior home health care rising each year.
- Only 8% of Middle Boomers are fully retired; 60% work full-time.
- Most Middle Boomers would like to retire at age 65, but don't think they will be able to do so until at least age 66. Over half feel that they're behind in retirement savings.
- 86% are homeowners, and 15% would consider a reverse mortgage to finance their retirement.
- 72% have provided financial assistance to children or grandchildren.
- Two-thirds enjoy being called "Baby Boomers".
- They won't consider themselves old until age 75.
- They feel that changing and declining health is the major downside of growing older.
- Their priorities have shifted within the past few years. Most now focus on family, financial security, personal well-being and wellness.