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Intergenerational Cohesion: A Case for an Intergenerational

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Women dominate in terms of purchasing power and spending. They hold 60 percent of all US personal income, and those aged 50 years or older have a combined net worth

Women dominate in terms of purchasing power and spending. They hold 60 percent of all US personal income, and those aged 50 years or older have a combined net worth of approximately $19 trillion. Of this group, women between 50 and 70 years old, in particular, are the biggest spenders (Barmann, 2014). More important than their spending power, however, is how satisfied (or dissatisfied) they are with their current purchases. Though women make 85 percent of all consumer purchases, 91 percent of women say, "...advertisers don't understand them," (Barmann, 2014). This makes sense, considering that 50 percent of the products marketed to men are actually purchased by women (Barmann, 2014). Successfully targeting women, especially Baby Boomers (women between 52 and 70 years old), would be a lucrative endeavor, and to better understand the unmet needs of that demographic, exploratory research was needed. In-depth interviews of Baby Boomer women reveals a problem that \u2014 even on a macro level \u2014 has gone unresolved, and has perhaps worsened, throughout written history: the Generation Gap (Bengtson, 1970). To illustrate the depth of the problem, there exist starkly different impressions of younger generations, namely Millennials (born between 1980 and 1995). According to The New Generation Gap by Neil Howe and William Strauss (1992), Baby Boomers view Millennials as unintelligent, entitled "pleasure beasts." In Millennials Rising, also by Howe and Strauss (2000), Millennials are characterized as a generation that is, "...beginning to manifest a wide array of positive social habits that older Americans no longer associate with youth, including a new focus on teamwork, achievement, modesty, and good conduct." These contradictory opinions further support the substantial misunderstanding between generations that surfaced during in-depth interviews. Using the results of in-depth interviews and follow-up questions for idea validation, this thesis presents a potential method for "closing the gap." The goal of this business offering is not to homogenize older and younger generations of women; the goal is to cultivate empathy and connection \u2014 Intergenerational Cohesion \u2014 between them.

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  • 2016-05