Market Beat: Our aging population

Ken Roberts

One really interesting fact about demographics today is the aging of our population. People are living longer than ever and are living healthier.

The US department of Health and Human Services tells us that persons aged 65 or over totaled 39.6 million in 2009, which accounted for 12.9 percent of the American population. That number is forecast to grow to 72.1 million by 2030 which should be about 19 percent of the population.

The number of people worldwide over the age of 80 is projected to quadruple from the year 2000 to the year 2050 hitting 395 million.

This aging of the population has some important implications for investors. One is that planning for retirement is more important than ever.

By 2040, the average life expectancy for men will be 86, and for women it will go up to 91.5 years of age. People today need to plan for a much longer time in retirement than individuals just a few years ago.

When the average life expectancy was 72 for men and most of them retired at 65 they only needed to plan for seven years or so of retirement. By 2040, a male retiring at age 65 will need funds for about 31 years of retirement. A 30-year-plus retirement is much more difficult to plan for than a seven-year retirement.

Another interesting aspect is to look at some areas where baby boomers will be spending their money. The market research firm Global Industry Analysts projects that a boomer-fueled consumer base, “seeking to keep the dreaded signs of aging at bay,” will push the U.S. market for anti-aging products from about $80 billion now to more than $114 billion by 2015. Globally, anti-aging products are projected to become a $400 billion per year marketplace.

One way to play the spending trend by baby boomers on anti-aging is by investing in big name pharmaceutical companies. While these companies don’t focus on anti-aging, the amount of money spent on pharmaceutical drugs should increase also.

The mega cap stocks like Merck and Pfizer are well established companies with attractive dividends yields in today’s low interest rate environment. Merck’s current dividend yield is more than 3.5 percent and Pfizer’s is over 3.25 percent. Companies like Nu Skin Enterprises have performed very well and have grown their sales revenue year after year.

One thing for sure is that the aging population will continue to grow and the boomers will keep spending money on health, fitness, and anti-aging products.

Kenneth Roberts is a Truckee-based Registered Investment Advisor. Information on his money management service can be found at his blog at or by calling 775-657-8065. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Consult your financial adviser before purchasing any security.

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