Grand Enterprise Initiative: Okay Boomer, it’s your fault again!
Grand Enterprise Initiative
My children love to rib me by derisively muttering ‘Okay Boomer’ whenever I crack a bad Dad joke, rave about some great ‘70s band or gripe about the nefarious influence of Tik-Tok and social media.
And yet, it looks as if Boomers like me (I am right in the middle of that demographic) will continue to wield a seemingly disproportionate influence over business trends and government policy based on the population numbers and trends in Grand County and Colorado.
That became clear after Colorado State Demographer Elizabeth Garner spoke at the recent Grand County Economic Forum sponsored by the Grand County Department of Economic Development.
A critical trend she pointed out at the event was about aging and how it impacts most everything in the economy of Colorado and Grand County.
Consider these numbers. In 2020, there were fewer people ages 0-17 in Grand County (2,944) than in the 65-plus age group (3,029). And certainly fewer aged 18-24 (only 1,152). This is a trend that the demographer’s office forecasts to continue so that by 2030, there will be 3,078 17-year-olds compared to 3,775 in the 65-plus age group, a difference of 746 and a percentage difference of nearly 25%.
This trend has big implications for large and small businesses, and government, for the next 10 years. I should point out that currently the largest age group in the county is the 45-65 cohort, with 4,692. But that demographic’s share of the total population is forecast to slip in the next 10 years as they age-up into the 65-plus category.
Clearly, the Baby Boomers like me are once again playing a large role, much to the chagrin of my children and my younger friends. But how?
It comes down to three areas: Services for older adults, labor force implications as people retire with different job requirements and real estate.
The point on services is this: If these Boomers can’t age in place the way they want to, then they may take their resources, investments and spending and leave. Which means a big challenge for business and government will increasingly be handling the demands of people like, well, me.
Good and expanded local health care will become even more important, improving on what we have. Ease of mobility for us old folks will be important (transportation, too), as will be accessibility. This means the old folks will be demanding more in-home services and more particular attention at businesses such as retailers and restaurants. Think about that.
More jobs will become open as Boomers continue to retire. Get ready for the tight labor market to continue for a long time yet. Sorry. And yet there will be jobs they (we) will want to fill. Some will be volunteer and others will be part-time, not-too-physically demanding and flexible. Get ready for that.
And some of these Boomers will be newcomers, buying second homes that may soon become primary residences. This will cut into real estate inventory, keeping prices high but also allowing for an attractive real estate investment scenario. Builders will remain busy.
And here’s the Catch-22. The very services these older folks will want will be the very services that will be harder to provide because these older folks won’t be providing them anymore as they retire or move on.
So when I complain out loud to my kids about standing in line to get a seat at a restaurant or about traffic on the roads or about how hard it is to get good help, I know what they will mutter back at me: ‘Okay, Boomer.’
Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He offers free and confidential business management coaching to anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He is also the author of the book “KILLDOZER: The True Story of the Colorado Bulldozer Rampage.” He can be reached by calling 970-531-0632 or at email@example.com.
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