Americans Are Aging

If recently released U.S. population trends are any indication, credit unions’ member base is likely aging, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


The percentage of households headed by older adults – those over 75 – has increased to 10% in 2012 from 6% in 1960, according to a newly released report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2012 report also concludes that in the past 50 years, American households headed by younger adults 30- to 40-year-olds has declined to 26% from 34%. Adults ages 45 to 64 now comprise the largest percentage of household leaders, making up 39% of the total.

For credit unions, that means offering products geared toward retiring babyboomers or seniors has been increasingly critical and will likely continue to be imperative if these trends continue in the upcoming decades. These members will probably need financial help with healthcare and living expenses and are less likely to pursue mortgages and credit cards.

Products like reverse mortgages and home equity lines of credit can help the older generation meet their financial needs. Afterall, the National Council on Aging says that millions of older Americans are “house rich but cash poor” and refinancing products can meet their cash flow needs. But seniors, especially seniors living alone, also need guidance on how best to manage their invested nest egg, especially in this volatile stock market environment.

Credit unions can also consider that the majority of these older Americans over 75 live alone. In fact, about half of that population lives alone versus only about 25% of households with heads under 30, according to the report. How is your credit union connecting to them? Are you educating them on the latest financial news that would impact their investments, such as how the fiscal cliff risk could affect their savings?


Nov. 19, 2012


  • An important insight that needs to be part of every credit union's strategic planning. This shift may well alter the "prime borrowing year" demographic as the boomers becoming seniors group seeks assistance with both living expenses and things like long term care, estate planning, and caring for aging parents. There is an opportunity here for CUs to offer products and services to meet the specific needs of this group who are often the strongest supporters of the credit union and have solid relationships with their credit unions. How will your credit union respond?
    Dr. Michael Hudson