by: Dick Stroud
I spent the last couple of days chairing a conference about the Finance Industry and the 50-plus. I thoroughly enjoyed myself – just hope the conference attendees did as well.
The dire circumstances of the Finance Industry made the event something of a surreal experience since most of the speakers began their presentations with the words: “this presentation was created before the meltdown in the banking sector”.
Some of the speakers were now working for partly nationalised banks, some for totally different institutions and some not too sure who employed them.
I gave a pitch about the Finance Industry and the 50-plus – it is a big file (10 Mb) but is on my site for download.
When I summed up the event at the end of the final day there were 5 ‘takeaways’ that I had from the event.
1. We spend lots of time talking about the 50+ market but most of the time we are really talking about the 60+ - probably the 65+ and in many instance the 70+ market. Certainly in the Finance Industry.
2. The consumer’s property is critical to so much of their future livelihood. I know that is an obvious thing to say but it really, really, really is.
3. How little we understand about the real reasons why older people behave the way they do. So much of the time we view the older market through the corporate window of generalisations and how we would like older consumers to behave
4. There are large country differences, especially with regard to the post work finance available to people. But, there is a hell of lot in common between countries, certainly within Europe.
5. The impact of the credit crunch on consumer’s choice of channels to funnel their hard earned cash has probably changed forever. I don’t think the Financial Services industry has started to come to terms with that fact.
Another, unrelated observation. The conference was held near to Marble Arch. For non Brits, this is at the end of the busiest shopping street in the country.
The amount of shoppers around was amazing. It was horrible. People seemed to be spending money like there as no tomorrow.
Maybe this is the reaction: “Sod the future lets spend today”. I don’t know.
I had a frightening feeling that I was witnessing an unreal world that was about to get a terrible shock as it is enveloped in the looming recession.