Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tales of the recession

One thing you can be certain of in these uncertain times is that the recession – what it means to business – how it affects consumers and all other variants of its implications, will dominate the news for the foreseeable future. And so it should.

Here are a couple of examples.

Bad news for the retirement industry

The housing crisis has kept thousands of older Americans who need support and care from moving into retirement communities or assisted-living centers, effectively stranding them in their own homes.

Without selling their houses or condominiums, many cannot buy into retirement homes that require a payment of $100,000 to $500,000 just to move in. So they are scratching themselves off waiting lists, cancelling plans with packing services and staying put, in houses that fit well 30 years ago, but over the years have become lonely, too large or too treacherous to navigate.

Good news for the older consumer

The cruise industry, reeling from the economic crisis and a sharp drop-off in passengers, is offering some incredible deals.

Carnival, the largest cruise company in the world, is offering four-day cruises out of Miami in mid-December that stop in Key West and Cozumel for just $149 a person. The company is even throwing in $25 in credit to spend on the ship. Since that price includes meals, it's cheaper than staying home and eating out for four days. "There's no question, the consumer is shaken," says Carnival Chairman. You can say that again.

The US cruise industry generates $17.6 billion a year in revenue. More accurately, did generate $17.6 billion a year.

The typical passenger is still older and wealthier than most—49 years old, with a household income of more than $104,000 a year – but now sinking (or should I say reducing).

I think it is important that we all keep current with what is happening as result of the recession so please send me any items you see about its impact on older consumer and their suppliers. Dick Stroud

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