Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Boomers Give Florida Cold Shoulder

Here’s a not so far from the truth In-Search-Of ad in a Florida newspaper:

FOXY LADY: Sexy, fashion-conscious blue-haired beauty, 80’s, slim, 5’4” (used to be 5’6”), searching for sharp looking, sharp dressing companion. Matching white shoes and belt a plus.

But the joke may be on Flordia, because boomers are looking elsewhere for retirement havens. For more than 50 years, retiring New Yorkers found Florida was their top destination. Now...not so much. In 2005, Florida accounted for 35 percent of New York’s net migration loss. In 2009, that share dropped to 11 percent, according to the Empire Center for New York State Policy [link here]. Where are New Yorkers heading if it’s not Florida? Try North Carolina.

What’s the story? More competition mostly. Other states are doing a lot more to lure retirees to their locales. But the biggest factor may be that boomers have loss equity and assets due to the meltdown and must now explore less expensive retirement options --- if they can afford to move anywhere.

Even if their stock portfolio has empty recovered somewhat, a lot of boomers may opt to stay put. Part of the equation is shrinking home values. If your house isn’t worth what it used to be and your savings have a dent in them, staying put may be the more attractive option. Add to that the fact that many boomers would like to remain close to family and friends, and you have a compelling case for nixing the whole retirement-in-the-sun scenario.

The new retirement paradigm may be to keep the house you’re in and take vacations or multi-month respites in warm locales. A note of caution though: if you drive in Florida be on the lookout for Herman.

As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang.

Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him,

"Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on 280. Please be careful!"

"Hell," said Herman, "it's not just one car. It's hundreds of them!"

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What? There’s No Forever 61?

In a recent post for Northern Life Canada site, Kate Forgach offers advice to baby boomers on how to dress.

I think we’ve all observed some boomers who must not own a mirror, or if they do own one, they must not walk by it before leaving the house. If they did take a good look at themselves, they might notice that they look ridiculous, or worse, highly unattractive in the clothes they wear.

Age appropriate clothing should be the norm, but as Forgach points out in her post, there is no Forever 61 store at the mall. Still, it amazes me how often you see boomers trying to dress like they did 40 years ago, or trying to wear the same styles as their sons and daughters. Gravity has seen to it that the flat abs are gone, replaced by descending pot bellies, so the tighter the clothing, the more unflattering the net effect is.

Forgach suggests that lady boomers forego the Daisy Dukes cut-offs and concentrate instead on tailored looks that are neither too tight or too frumpy. Her best line about decolletage is “many manufacturers are cutting tops so low you can see the Alps in one quick glance.” She also suggests you avoid the Granny Arms effect by avoiding sleeveless tops unless you have some really buff upper arms.

For men, the advice is to cool it on the stove pipe legs or the high waisted mommy jeans. Forgach thinks some tees are okay, but I’ve seen boomers in all-over graphics tees that look so absurd that you want shake them and explain that that ship/shirt look has sailed.

Finally, in the footwear segment, Forgach scores big points with me by nixing some footwear that I’d like to ban as well. “Two no-nos: Bedazzled Crocs and sandals with socks (unless you work in a food coop).”

Wardrobes are so casual now (think sweatsuits at the mall) that my theory is that it just might be the cool thing to dress up instead of dressing down. Most boomers are going to look a lot better in tailored slacks than they would even in Levis classic jeans. And I’ve also observed that aging bodies look better in button front shirts that hide a multitude of upper torso soft spots. Next time you’re out in a crowd, notice how a man wearing a sportcoat over a tee shirt looks better than the guy in a plain tee and jeans.

Final advice from most experts: Get out of whatever decade you’re stuck in and freshen up your style. It has to be better than what you’ve been wearing up until now.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.