Thursday, March 09, 2006

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida Investments

The spectacle of financial companies trying to co-opt the “counterculture” is getting cartoonish –literally. Fidelity Investments is currently running a TV ad featuring Iron Butterfly’s classic In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida complete with psychedelic flowering artwork growing on the screen. Give me a personal break.

Fidelity joins Ameriprise which has an ad (that’s on ALL the damn time) featuring a bunch of 50-somethings embarrassing themselves by acting 17 while a Spencer Davis Group tune plays in the background. Oh, sure nothing has changed in 40 years, you’re still able to dance, skateboard and play the electric guitar! All you need now is a financial plan so you have enough money to buy your weed in retirement, man.

I can’t decide if this is pathetic or insulting. I guess it depends on if the target audience, Baby Boomers, is buying. If they are, it’s pathetic. If not, it’s just insulting.

Technically, I’m a Boomer. The so called Baby Boom generation was born between 1946 and 1964. That’s a huge spread and since I come in toward the end of that era, I have little in common with the leading “Woodstock” contingent. Most things attributed to Boomers have nothing to do with my high school class of 1978 much less the class of 1982! Geez, we missed everything by about ten years. I mean, the ‘60s were over before we were even ten. What a rip.

I will say pulling up the rear on this most over-exposed generation has benefited me in as much as I have always been able to see what’s just around the corner for me as I watch my older Boomer peers age. I’m just hoping it doesn’t include being pandered to by financial planning companies and their cheesy commercials. I guess I should be on the look out for Merrill Lynch ads featuring The Clash.

Update: Just as I post this, CNN has this idiotic story up on its web site. The headline reads:
Baby boomers or bums?

Looking to the '60s generation for lessons on how to plan
Then the first paragraph:
(CNN) -- In the 1960s and '70s they burned their bras and draft cards, marched on
Washington, founded Earth Day and vowed never to trust anyone over the age of 30.
It gets worse from there. Sigh

Update II: I just noticed there is a Fedelity ad right next to the above story. In-a-gadda-da-vida honey, don'tcha know that I love you?

1 comment:

JeromeProphet said...

Demographically speaking the period between 1960 to 1964 was considered border period.

1964 was "chosen" as the official end of the Baby Boom Generation due to the influence of the birth control pill.

Those born in this period are neither boomers, or X'ers - and at the same time, they are both.

You describe why those born at the end of one distinct "generation", and at the beginning of the next distinct "generation" feel as if labels don't apply to them.

I have older sisters who rocked to Elvis, who were definately boomers in every way. The gulf that exist between their taste, and experiences, and my own - seem as if it could only be explained as if we were raised in entirely different centuries.

But the Boomers are "Old" now, there's no denying it. Of course even Generation X has yielded to Generation Y in terms of whom advertisers pitch the newest, coolest, trend setting products.

And on it goes.

We do need to keep in mind, that people are living longer than ever. The 2001 Insurance Commissioner's Mortality Table (the newest one now coming to use in the insurance industry) has life insurance policies maturing at age - READY FOR THIS - 120.

The IRS had to change its mortality tables for Required Minimum Distributions from qualified investments by adding another ten years to everyone's life.

Boomers are being reminded that they have underfunded their retirements, and need to do something, and quick - because many of them can't afford to retire. And because they'll live longer they will need more money socked away.