Gone are the times when retirees contented themselves with the “sunset years.” Demographic upheaval and accompanying changes in the lifestyles of older people have been in full swing for some time now. Sinking birthrates and increased life expectancy are profoundly altering the age structure of Western societies. We can now predict that by the year 2050, every third German will be over the age of 65. The retiree of today and tomorrow is more active, more health-conscious, more curious and engaged than earlier generations. For him or her, the later years are the best phase of life, one that offers newfound freedom—these are the “Free Agers.”

“Free Agers”—sometimes also called the “silver society”—don’t take old age as an advancing loss of ability, but rather as a new opportunity. If they have children they’re often off on their own, there’s some money in the bank, professional and family responsibilities are on the wane—and now they have the freedom to structure their lives in accordance with their own desires, perhaps how they’ve long imagined. Some also dare to embark on a new professional or personal start in this, the third phase of life.

In-Demand Consultants in Many Areas

Their hair might be thinning or a little grayer than it once was, but Free Agers offer something that the young bucks can’t: life experience, wisdom, knowledge, and a certain self-assurance and reliability in times of crisis, the result of weathering life’s storms. This makes Free Agers coveted advisors in social concerns, in neighborhood networks, in clubs, or just amongst circles of friends. And that’s not all: In these times of intensifying skills shortage, the experience of our elders is more in demand than ever in today’s economy. Company executives now recognize that the mania for youth that used to hold sway has no future and that the professional experience of older employees who have been in the workforce longer is worth its weight in gold. It’s particularly the highly skilled jobs that Free Agers continue on in as consultants after retirement.

Some are even becoming “silverpreneurs”: this term signifies people who, in retirement age, jumpstart a new business. For many, the conditions are right: professional qualifications, seed money, a feeling for new opportunities, good contacts and information, and a sense of what’s most important. They don’t want to fritter away the remainder of their lives parked in an easy chair in front of the TV; it’s only now that they can make their “avocation instead of vocation” a reality.

Informed, Well Networked, and Online

It’s apparent that modern people of a certain age are keeping up with the times because over half of people over 60 use the Internet to find companions for free-time activities or even new life partners. Many digital natives have nothing on seniors, when it comes to comprehending the potential of digital networking. This also makes clear how open to new things the majority of today’s seniors are. They present a counterweight to the reactionary and conservative elements of society.

It’s these traits and capabilities that make Free Agers professionally successful and therefore better off, financially, than the average. According to a study by the German “Future Institute” in Frankfurt, about 70 percent of Germany’s financial assets are in the hands of people over the age of 50. In turn, this means that many Free Agers are affluent and good consumers—and therefore have significant buying power. This makes them an important target group for advertising. That said, many members of this group are outspoken critical consumers due to their extensive life experience. They are a clientele that wants to be convinced of purchasing decisions—and that’s where good visual messages play a pivotal role.