What’s a “Zoomer”? If you haven’t heard, the term originates from media mogul Moses Znaimer and his “New Vision of Aging for Canada.” Zoomers are the 15 million Canadians aged 45+ who make up 54 per cent of Canada’s adult (18+) population.1 Their power and influence will only grow as this age group expands over the next 20 years.2

You may be surprised at the insights you could learn and opportunities for your business at a Zoomer Trade Show. As a sponsor, Sun Life Financial has gained more awareness of Canadians on the retirement runway. Here are the four top things we learned from Zoomers at a recent trade show:

1. Zoomers are active

Did you know that when it comes to their retirement lifestyle, being active is what’s most important to Zoomers?3 When you talk to retirees, most of the time you’ll find they’re not spending their days in front of a TV. They’re walking, running, travelling, returning to school,4 volunteering and working part time.

Booths at the trade show in Toronto reflect the bustle of their activity (the numbers show how many booths were devoted to a topic):

  • Lifestyle (78)
  • Health (67)
  • Travel (43)
  • Money (15)
  • Pets (6)

When you organize your next retirement planning seminar, keep in mind these areas of interest. Offer an expert from one of the subjects as a hook to get people into the room: a travel agent, a fitness instructor, the owner of a health foods store, or a Humane Society worker with some animals up for adoption. You would follow and demonstrate how you could help the attendees prepare for retirement or, if they’re in retirement, potentially increase their income.

2. Zoomers want sound financial advice

At Sun Life Financial’s Money for Life booth, a man asked an organizer what he could get in return, if he gave him a million dollars. The organizer thought he was talking about a life annuity and suggested he talk to an advisor, which he did. Later, he gave the thumbs up regarding the advice he’s received.

At the same booth, an 83-year-old man said he likes his insurance product, since it will help him avoid probate. Another woman asked the organizer if he can help her get a new advisor, since her current advisor hasn’t contacted her in a long time.

3. Zoomers love to travel

Knowing what your clients want to do in retirement can also generate retirement conversations. Booths at a Zoomer Trade Show cover a wide variety of interests. Gayle D’Costa, a Travel Specialist at the Adventure Centre, books trips for people from ages 30 to 80. The company caters to people who have travelled already and are looking for a trip other than a cruise. She says the most popular destinations are Southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Burma), Africa (Morocco, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Egypt), Iceland, and Eastern Europe.

Some of the Zoomer booths offer prizes, such as a $3,500 cycling trip through Cuba.

For a fun and less expensive travel memento, Zoomers, their children, and their grandchildren line up at the Money for Life booth to have their photo taken with their choice of a theme in the background: surfing big waves, a safari in Africa, and living the rock star dream. The photos—and the accompanying laughter—are free.

As an advisor working with the Boomer market, it’s a great idea to have a conversation with clients about their retirement plans and how they could produce enough retirement income to enjoy the lifestyle they want and can afford.

4. Zoomers like to volunteer

Sixty-nine-year-old John Harper has been retired for seven years. “It’s absolutely wonderful. Every day is a joy. I have time to volunteer and do things I couldn’t do before.” He and his wife, 65-year-old Pat, volunteer for the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog program. Shimmer, a schnoodle—a cross between a schnauzer and a poodle—accompanies them to long-term care homes. John says Shimmer puts smiles on residents, some having Alzheimer’s disease and smiling only when Shimmer visits them.

Tapping into people’s volunteer experience, as well as discovering the charitable and service organizations they wish to support, can start discussions about retirement with clients and prospects, creating connections in the large and ever-expanding Zoomer market.

Learn more about the Zoomer lifestyle. The next Zoomer Trade Shows for 2014 are in:

  • Vancouver – February 22-23
  • Ottawa – April 26-27
  • Edmonton – September 13-14
  • Toronto – October 25-26

If you’d like a free ticket for yourself or for one of your clients to the next Zoomer Trade Show, courtesy of Sun Life Financial, please specify in an email which show you’d like to attend.

1 Zoomermedia.ca, “What is our market?” web page, under the “Advertise” tab.

2 Population Projections for Canada, Provinces and Territories, Table 11-1, by age group and sex – Canada (2010 – 2036), Statistics Canada, 2010.

3 40.4% polled say enjoying an active lifestyle, the number one response, is most important. “The 2013 Picture Perfect Retirement Contest,” commissioned by Sun Life Financial.

4 “The 60-plus retirees are mainly interested in fitness, travel and education.” Quotation from article, “Seniors were always Chris Barker’s first love,” Jackie Hayes, Waterloo Region Record, January 18, 2012.

Originally published on Advisor.ca