The Private Equity for Families Blog

A Silver Mine For The Taking

A Silver Mine For The Taking

The Economist” understands something about retiring baby boomers that has eluded the money machine of American business. In a July 8th special report, the editors described the motherlode opportunity:

“With longer lives, more free time and a lot of cash, older people clearly present a “silver dollar” opportunity. In America the over-50s will shortly account for 70% of disposable income, according to a forecast by Nielsen, a market-research organization.   Global spending by households headed by over-60s could amount to $15tn by 2020, twice as much as in 2010, predicts Euromonitor, another market-research outfit. Much of this will go on leisure”.

The only organization that gets it is AARP which has a slick marketing appeal that confuses retirees into thinking they are buying the Platinum Card for retirement lifestyle. In fact, AARP is a sophisticated money maker with a political viewpoint I do not endorse.

With people over 50 controlling 70% of disposable income you would think someone would invent “Abergrammy and B Rich” as a specialty retailer providing trendy leisure wear for Old People (“OP”).  In my early legal career I actually did work for an entrepreneur who wanted to start a specialty retail chain called “Cane and Able”. I loved the business model of a one stop shop for all OP products and I also loved the name because of its biblical antecedents, but I was never sure that fratricide would sell in Brooklyn.

Mastering Subway Surfer

One of my grandkids could be the next Zuckerberg if he or she could invent a paid service that helps seniors master the intricacies of the internet of things and the devices that navigate its networks. All grandparents would certainly pay something for help on how to get under the first hurdle in Subway Surfer and learn to jump for gold coins. You can’t put a price on gaining some credibility with the under 6 years old crowd.

Mother of all APPS

I know we would all pay a small monthly fee to have a seamless and completely dependable password recall service. When they stopped accepting “Hello” I began to struggle. I am sure Amazon has Alexa working on a solution and will offer it for free so they can control access to every one of their competitors. This is the Mother of All Apps.

When someone demystifies the cloud and actually educates OP about it being safer than storing sensitive information on their computer and also closer to heaven so wifi will work in the afterlife, a new business channel will emerge. Someone other than AARP is going to create a data trove on $15 Trillion of spending power.

Fitness and The Zapper

Fitness can flourish if it allows a small group of well toned seniors to join (prepay annually) the 40 year old yoga classes. The only downside is turnover as many seniors will get stuck in the Pidgeon Pose and will require immediate emergency hip surgery. My brother-in-law has been going to Yoga classes for 5 years now and he has never moved past the Child’s Pose. For him it is touch your toes and never close your eyes.

Implants- not the body parts type- are a growth industry as well. You need a zapper mechanism that discourages excessive libation, reminds you to take your statins, gooses you off the couch, encourages you take the first 50 steps in the morning and interprets the importance of all spousal communication. In our house the most important communication always starts when we are 3 rooms apart. The staccato exchanges of “what”, “what”, “what”, “WHAT” “WHAT” ending with a crescendo “I CAN’T HEAR YOU” is the love language of the geriatric set.

Travel As A Substitute

Finally, there is travel. I think retirees are actually more interested in filling the time between meals than they are travelling. I really don’t agree with The Economist about leisure. Leisure time is really a curse and when someone figures out how to package “PURPOSE” for seniors, you will have the true motherlode. For now the “Love Boat” is a poor substitute for a generation with energy, money, intellectual curiosity and experience. If this group ever gets organized politically, it may become yesterday’s America. In any event, if I were a 30 year old with Fifteen Trillion Dollars up for grabs, I would be spending more time with the OP and their friends. The Mother of All Apps will reveal itself if you can become an early riser and a volunteer in a retirement community.


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Rob McCreary

Rob McCreary has more than 40 years of transactional experience as an attorney, investment banker and private equity fund manager, and has spent his career in building entrepreneurial organizations with successful track records Founder and chairman of CapitalWorks, he is responsible for developing and maintaining senior relationships with investors and portfolio governance.

This blog represents the views of Rob McCreary and do not reflect those of CapitalWorks or its employees. This blog is not intended as investment advice. Any discussion of a specific security is for illustrative purposes only and should not be relied upon as indicative of such security’s current or future value. Readers should consult with their own financial advisors before making an investment decision.

Private Equity for Families Blog | CapitalWorks Private Equity Cleveland Ohio

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