Boomers Somewhat Net-Shy

Boomers know better than brokers, according to a Knowledge Networks survey of 1,200 39-to-57-year-olds that indicates a reluctance to ask a stock broker for inheritance advice.

With 26 percent of baby boomers expecting an inheritance from their parents, the majority (65 percent) said they would put their money into savings, and 44 percent said they would pay off debt. While 24 percent indicated that they would invest in the stock market, only 6 percent said they would rely on a broker, and 34 percent would turn to a financial planner.

Nearly 8-out-of-10 (79 percent) of the boomers that expected an inheritance believed they would receive up to $100,000, while 16 percent thought their parents would leave them more money than that.

More than one-quarter (27 percent) of boomers turn to the Internet for financial news at least 1 or 2 times per week, with 8 percent checking the Net every day. Comparatively, 40 percent get their financial news from TV at least 1 or 2 times per week, with 16 percent tuning in every day.

Boomers are adapting to electronic methods for managing their money: 22 percent have an online bank account; 6 percent have an online brokerage account; and 17 percent have online access to another type of investment porfolio.

More than one-quarter (26 percent) have checked their bank account balance online; 21 percent have paid a bill online; 16 percent have checked an investment portfolio; 11 percent have conducted money transfers between accounts; and 6 percent have purchased stock or some other kind of investments online.

A May 2003 study conducted by Online Publishers Association (OPA) found that older surfers access different information at other times of day than younger users. For example, older adults (34+ years old) were more likely to check stocks after the market closes, while their 18-to-34-year-old counterparts peeked into their portfolios in the early part of the day.

Knowledge Networks found that 48 percent of the boomers have bought something online, and The Media Audit took a look at the finances of the 50+ group and found that they are likely to have a considerable amount of purchasing strength.

“Retirement,” says Bob Jordan, co-chairman of International Demographics, Inc., which produces The Media Audit, “more often than not, reduces household income, but that may not diminish buying power. If their home is paid for and their kids are gone, they will have significant buying power even though their incomes are less than those of younger adults”

The Financial Picture, 35-to-64-Year-Olds
Age 35-44 54.5% 31.3% 16.7% 19.0% 6.3%
Age 45-54 55.0% 32.5% 18.2% 25.6% 10.3%
Age 55-64 41.2% 23.3% 12.9% 30.3% 14.4%
Source: The Media Audit

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