“People 50 and older hold the vast majority of wealth in the country, but we’re producing products and services for people who don’t have nearly as much money to spend…”
April 27, 2023: Thanks to advances in medicine and public health, people are living longer, healthier lives. The world’s population of people 60 and older is growing five times faster than the population as a whole. Global life expectancy has doubled since 1900, and experts say that children born in developed countries now have a good chance of living to 100.
A “silver tsunami” is already sweeping the U.S. labor force: the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 36% of people ages 65–69 will remain on the job in 2024 — up significantly from the 22% who were working in 1994.
These longer-lived, longer-working individuals generate an ever-bigger slice of global GDP and control an expanding tranche of global wealth. In her recent book Stage (Not Age), Golden estimates that the “longevity economy” is worth more than $22 trillion — $8.3 trillion in the United States alone.
That may be a conservative figure: AARP (the organization formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons) estimates that people over 50 already account for half of consumer spending worldwide, or $35 trillion. (This range of figures may have to do with how “older adult” is defined: The term is variously used to refer to people over the ages of 65, 60, or — sorry, Gen Xers — 50.)