Last Monday, Kathleen Casey-Kirschling applied for her Social Security benefits. According to the Reuters, Casey-Kirschling is the first Boomer to apply for Social Security.

Why does this matter?

The “silver tsunami” has started. Casey-Kirschling may be the first, but she’s the first…of many.

This will totally transform life as we know it. I’m not just being sensational.

Think about the impact Boomers (many of you) have had on life as we know it in the US. Boomers have defined the term “boomer” and celebrated the generation gap. Thanks to that disctinction, we’re now all talking about generations as “Boomers,” “X’ers,” and “Millenials.”

Here a couple random outcomes that we’ll see over the coming years:

  • Boomer are known as being more interested in “self” than previous generations. They were the original “me” generation. That’s why “self help” is a multi-billion dollar industry. And why Oprah has such a successful empire. This selfishness can be bad–broken families, awful drug addictions. But it can be incredilby good too–just look at the millions of people Oprah has helped.

    This is the generation moving into volunteer positions. More than previous generations, they’ll want “fulfillment” in their work. And they’ll define what “fulfillment” means for each of them.

  • Boomers are a huge cohort. According to the article, for the next two decades an estimated 10,000 people per day will be eligible for Social Security. Per day! These are your current and future donors. But people on limited incomes like Social Security seem to get scared that there won’t be enough income to go around. Maximizing income and maintaining assetts will be even more important for them than ever.

  • So it’ll be more important than ever for us to get conversant with charitable tools like gift annuities. CGA’s are contractual agreements that guarantee a specific rate of return, regardless of what the stock market does. That kind of guarantee may be very appealing to people that saw their retirement plans decimated by 9/11.

This silver tsunami isn’t just a “blip” on the screen. This will define our life and work for the coming decades. Those of us that can be ahead of the curve in shaping our missions to absorbing these incredibly committed and passionate volunteers will benefit immensely. And we’ll help people thrive in the “second half” of their lives!

Let’s have fun riding the wave!

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