Investors, Don’t Forget There’s Life After 60

The aging of the global population is having a profound impact on consumers, companies and investors.

There is a massive, irreversible transformation under way in the U.S. and across the globe. It is poorly understood and often overlooked. Halfway through the second decade of our 21st century, we are failing to grasp the implications of population aging.

Life spans that have for the history of humankind been unimaginable are today the norm. Low birth rates that for centuries would have spelled the end of a civilization are now common. By midcentury, there will be more of us over 60 than under 14. A half century ago this demographic state of affairs would have been inconceivable.

The implications are profound. At personal and familial levels, each of us must ask a new set of questions about how to achieve financial security when we may live to celebrate our 100th birthday. At the societal level we confront a retirement crisis prompted by our stubborn refusal to recognize that 20th-century schemes don’t fit 21st-century lives. Retirement at 60 or 65 will make sense for very few among us when we must plan to live past 90.

The questions are equally complex for investors. First, there is the business opportunity. There will soon be 1 billion of us over 60, and we hold the lion’s share of the world’s disposable income. With longer lives – and better health in older age – a new consumer base emerges. These consumers want and need products and services that are different from when they were younger – and different, too, from what their parents wanted at their age.

As hundreds of millions of us live into our 80s and beyond, our tastes literally are changing, along with our body shapes, living conditions and leisure preferences. Which businesses are preparing to capitalize on this seismic opportunity?

Sure, health companies understand the diseases of aging; financial institutions are starting to get it too. But are there food companies creating products specifically for 75-year-old taste buds? Which travel company is accommodating the interests of and marketing to older travelers? Who is creating houses, appliances, furniture and other home goods for octogenarians? Which film companies are making movies that appeal to older viewers? Is there a technology company building the wearables market to assist the deteriorating hearing, vision and skin? What innovator is out there marrying fashion and need – dresses, shoes or bathing suits for the over-70 crowd?

The smart investor will look beyond the “baby boomer bulge” headlines and recognize that aging is not a trend but a revolutionary transformation. All over the world socioeconomic forces – urbanization, education, women’s rights, health care innovation and more – are intersecting to create real, enduring change. The smart investor will understand this is now a part of consumer demand writ large.

For investors the aging megatrend introduces a new set of metrics by which to measure the potential success of a company.

  • Is a culture of “age-friendliness” being cultivated within the organization? Will research, business development, strategy and marketing teams be recognized and rewarded for creative approaches to products and services that will sell to over-60 consumers?
  • Has population aging also shaped hiring and retention strategies? Paying retirement at 65 worked 50 years ago because there were so few who lived much past that age and most people could not or did not want to work as they got older. Now, it is a recipe for failure.
  • Is the company investing in research or marketing that will attend to an older demographic? Does it have a growth strategy based on aging?
  • Which companies are reshaping their benefits packages to attract and retain talent? And does this include benefits a 55-year-old might want as well as those for the 32-year-old who will be around for 60 or more years?
  • Does the organization have a strategic approach to align its future with the social, political and institutional changes that will occur externally as a result of the phenomenon?

In 2010, S&P, now a division of McGraw Hill Financial, broke important ground in its Global Aging report, asserting that “no other force is likely to shape the future of national economic health, public finances and policymaking as the irreversible rate at which the world’s population is aging.” Six years later we now understand that aging is equally a market force.

If a business wishes to be competitive and win in the 21st century, it will build a strategy to capture the opportunities brought by population aging. If an investor wants to succeed, he or she will look to these leaders as among the most prescient and worthy of investment.

Source: Institutional Investor

Latest Developments

We keep our members and partners in touch with the most recent updates and opinions in the worldwide dialogue on population longevity and related issues.

What Old Age Might Be Like for Today’s 30-Year-Olds

Get ready for a new old age. With the U.S. fertility rate in a decadelong slump and the life expectancy of 65-year-old Americans approaching roughly 85, our aging nation is likely to grow older by midcentury, as the ratio of young to old continues to decline. The trend is likely to upend how our society is organized, making life very different for today’s 30-year-olds when they reach their 60s compared with life for 60-year-olds now.

World Population Reaches 8bn As It Grows Older

The world’s population reached 8bn people on Tuesday and will hit 9bn in 15 years as it experiences an unprecedented surge in the number of older people, according to the latest UN data. The global fertility rate has more than halved since the 1950s to 2.3 births per woman. With mortality also falling, the number of people aged 65 and over is expected to rise from 783mn in 2022 to 1bn by 2030 and reach 1.4bn by 2043, the UN population data revealed.

Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) Launches Cross-Sector Alliance Committed to Health Innovation at High-Level Forum on The Silver Economy

Today, the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA), along with cross-sector stakeholders representing patient advocacy, policy, industry, and academic communities, announced the launch of the Alliance for Health Innovation at the High-Level Forum on the Silver Economy in New York. The Alliance is dedicated to establishing the importance of innovation in achieving healthy aging and health equity through investments, policy reforms, and strategic partnerships.

Japan Must Face Up to Growing Danger of Drug-resistant Germs

In the wake of more than 6.4 million COVID-19 deaths worldwide and unprecedented economic destruction, the global community has no excuse to be caught unprepared for the next pandemic. Yet right now, a devastating parallel plague is already underway and worsening. Some years, it is killing well over 1 million people, according to medical journal The Lancet.

A Bipartisan Bill Could Prevent The Next Pandemic

In Washington, Republicans and Democrats are typically at loggerheads when it comes to healthcare policy. Just consider the recent Inflation Reduction Act, which made extensive changes to Medicare and also extended Affordable Care Act subsidies. Every single congressional Democrat voted for the legislation, while every single member of the GOP voted against it. But occasionally, a bill is such an obviously good idea, and so desperately needed, that it commands significant bipartisan support. The PASTEUR Act, co-sponsored by 31 Democrats and 31 Republicans in the House and two members of each party in the Senate, is just such a bill.

Korea Must Act Now to Combat Growing AMR Threat

Public officials are overlooking one of the gravest long-term threats to the Korean people, the health system, and economy: antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Some pathogens ― bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses ― have evolved strains that resist the antimicrobial medications we currently have available to fight them. Health care professionals often must watch helplessly as patients succumb to infections that antibiotics could once have easily beaten. They know that new antimicrobials, including and especially antibiotics, could easily gain the victory ― but they have none at their disposal.

Policy Statement on the Impact of Price Negotiations on Innovation, Healthy Aging and Equity

As the CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) and a newly formed cross-sector Alliance for Health Innovation, we write to express our deep concern with the current legislation that allows for price “negotiations” in Medicare – a thinly veiled signal for America’s plunge into price controls that will have a devastating and adverse impact on biopharmaceutical innovation and our nations’ ability to support healthy aging.