NewsWire: April 19, 2017

04/19/17 09:31AM EDT


  • A growing share of retirees are “aging together” with their elderly parents. Thanks to longer life expectancies and a growing population of aging adults, Boomers are increasingly living with the same Silent and G.I. parents who they rebelled from in their youth. (The Detroit News)
    • NH: Seniors caring for senior parents: Yes, this trend will grow—slowly over of the next 15 years as the small Silent Generation reaches its 90s and then much faster (from 2030 on) as the much larger Boom Generation takes its place. While Boomers are likely to remain personally closer to their aging Millennial children, they gave birth to fewer Millennial children per parent and a much larger share of Boomers ended up childless. Caring for the "oldest old" (a gerontology term of art) will be a challenge.
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has rolled back an Obama administration memorandum requiring the Federal Student Aid office to do more to help borrowers manage their debt. The move comes at an inopportune time of soaring college tuition costs and rising levels of student borrower defaults. (Bloomberg Business)
  • Homeowners are tapping into equity at the fastest rate in eight years, and Millennials are leading the pack. Rather than simply keeping up with the Joneses, today's young homeowners are thinking about the long term and are using this money to remodel their homes. (CNBC)
    • NH: Debt consolidation and increasing property value (home improvements) ranked highest for Millennials. Simply adding amenities ranked highest for Boomers.
  • Xer Contributor David Marcus lauds Dave Chappelle's return to television by way of a two-part Netflix special, “The Age of Spin.” Marcus maintains that Chappelle represents the best of Gen X as a limelight-avoiding critical thinker who doesn’t have time for “the newfangled religion of oppression.” (The Federalist)
  • Historian James Wright addresses—and confirms—the trope that the Vietnam War was “the Baby Boomer War.” He makes a solid point: While Vietnam is often remembered as the war Boomers famously protested against, it’s also the war in which many Boomers lost their lives. (The New York Times)
    • NH: Actually, the effort to avoid service in Vietnam was a more pervasive generational bond than service in the war itself. Only one Boomer man in sixteen ever saw combat. Among all the rest, two-thirds attributed their avoidance to some deliberate dodge (accelerating marriage or fatherhood, juggling jobs, or finding ways to fail the physical). One percent of Boomer men committed draft-law felonies—ten times the number killed in combat. Less than one of every hundred offenders was ever jailed. The 1 cohorts provided most of the draft avoiders; the 1 cohorts most of the combat troops. The median soldier age during the Vietnam War (19) was the lowest in American history. Most ominously, it was over Vietnam that Boomers first manifested their extreme ideological polarization. Young Boomers were both most likely to believe the war was morally wrong and most likely to insist it was a noble cause we should have fought to win. The first groupmore college educated, higher income, in better health, located on the coaststoday tends to be politically blue zone; the latter group politically red. (See my 1991 book with Bill Strauss: Generations.)
  • Two Big Pharma firms are taking a novel approach with their upcoming blockbuster drugs: pricing them below the competition. Drugmakers have taken heat recently for setting exorbitant sticker prices—and while these latest efforts are a step in the right direction, there’s still a long way to go to curb health care overspending. (Bloomberg Business)
  • Just 17.6% of Millennials say that having a mean boss is the top reason they would leave their job—compared to 19.3% of people age 35+. While Millennials are often pegged as “snowflakes” who can’t handle the smallest bit of criticism, it turns out that they are on par with their elders on this particular workplace issue. (Fit Small Business)
    • NH: The survey also skewers the "young invincibles" stereotype of edgy Gen Yers who thirst after risk and couldn't care less about health insurance: A full 34% of Millennials selected health care as the "top" benefit an employer can offer; only 5% cared about an equity stake in the business.
  • Xer Harris Walkerton tells society to stop ignoring his “ambidextrous” generation. He makes a unique (and valid) point: Unlike Boomers and Millennials, Xers are fluent in both old-school skills and new-school technology. (Entrepreneur)
  • Goldman Sachs analyst Drew Borst believes that shifting consumer preferences make Live Nation Entertainment a good stock to buy. At the heart of his argument is the fact that Millennials prefer to spend on experiences over goods—a trend that will undoubtedly benefit Live Nation and other event companies. (Barron's)
  • Author and speaker Meagan Johnson notes that Homelanders will not have memories of life before the Internet, social media, and cell phones. Digital-native Homelanders will undoubtedly create a tough task for Xer and Millennial parents who want to raise emotionally adjusted and socially capable children. (
  • Just 4.3% of Prudential’s operating income came from life and group insurance in 2016, down from 26.7 percent in 2001. Like many other traditional life insurers, Prudential has turned to alternative revenue streams (like annuities) in response to declining consumer demand for life insurance. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Lecturer John Whitman wonders whether the United States will soon face a nursing home shortage thanks to Boomers. While the aging of this enormous generation will undoubtedly put a strain on many industries, most Boomers would rather age in place close to family than be put up in a nursing home. (University of Pennsylvania)
    • NH: Long-term care, once thought to have a glorious future in a graying America, is an industry in trouble. The elderly themselves prefer almost any alternative (assisted living and home care are both burgeoning industries). The diseconomies of scale are prohibitive to Boomers who detest the industrial nursing home model (see "The Green House Project" for a more popular Aquarian option). And the high cost is a turn-off both to families and to state and federal authorities.
  • Millennial contributor Erik Huberman asks the world to stop targeting Millennials and focus on individuals instead. What Huberman fails to acknowledge is that Millennials are more than just a “20-year age bucket”—there are measurable differences between previous and subsequent generations that marketers can’t afford to ignore. (Entrepreneur)
    • NH: Sadly, most marketers have no idea what a generation is, other than a seemingly random jumble of technology and pop culture associations. They subscribe to "cool watcher" newsletters and puzzle over Buzzfeed trivia. They apply no social or historical method. No wonder they give up on it.
  • Walmart is bringing touchscreen monitors to the toy aisles in some Texas locations that will enable consumers to search the company’s online inventory. The company’s numerous efforts to provide a cohesive, tech-enabled experience is one reason why Walmart is staying afloat in an online-first retail space. (TheStreet)
  • Columnist Rianne Coale notes how working Millennials prioritize value and experiences when taking paid time off. In the words of one 25-year-old, the Millennial strategy is simple: “The question I usually ask myself is, ‘Where is the coolest place can I go for the cheapest?’ and I work my way down from there.” (Chicago Tribune)
    • NH: These findings come from a Harris Group survey on the experience economy. More stunning, perhaps, is the fact that Millennials forfeit the most paid vacation days even though they receive the fewest such days per year. Why? According to Project: Time Off, Millennials are more likely than Xers or Boomers to want to be seen as "work martyrs" by their bosses and feel "vacation shame" for taking too much time off. Not surprisingly, many surveys show Millennials experiencing the highest rates of work-related stress. (See: "The Young and the Anxious.")


Just What the Influencer Ordered. We’ve written before about how companies are hiring social media influencers to boost their brand’s popularity. (See: “Under the (Social) Influence.”) The trend is now showing up in an unexpected market: health care. Last month, Boston-based Wego Health launched a Web-based platform connecting medical providers with influencers, who are hired to relay their own health care experiences to their social media followers. These influencers provide valuable firsthand experience on everything from dealing with lofty medical bills to living with chronic conditions. Of course, influencers are also hired to promote certain products and treatments—which raises morality concerns. After all, the stakes are much higher in health care than they are elsewhere. For its part, Wego uses an AI program to monitor and flag influencer content that may be inauthentic. But as health policy expert Jeff Belkora says, “In some sense, influencers in health care aren’t any different from those in fashion or food blogging; they all have conflicts of interest.”

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