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Senior or elder? Knowing your audience



Senior Marketing

Knowing Your Reverse Mortgage Audience

While we’ll all become “seniors” if we live long enough, not everyone attains the status of elder. The former term refers to someone who has reached a certain chronological age; the latter to one who has evolved into something of a sage.

In his landmark book, The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife, social entrepreneur Marc Freedman speaks continually of “generativity,” which he labels a cumbersome word for an essential function: guiding and supporting future generations. (see Pressing the Reset Button/Part 1: Encore, Encore!)

Senior MarketingI disagree with Freedman’s distaste for the word generativity (coined by psychoanalyst Erik Erikson in 1950). To me, generativity is a glorious, onomatopoeic expression of the highest calling of our later years: vivifying subsequent generations through creativity, care, and compassion.

Reverse Mortgage Marketing To Seniors

For reverse mortgage professionals, understanding this distinction can help you speak in the language of your audience, because those who are ready to enjoy a well deserved retirement, and those who are reinventing themselves to create a post-midlife career or volunteer position, may perceive their home from very different perspectives — yet both groups can provide valid, viable, and valuable reverse mortgage leads.

Perhaps it’s also a question of reclaiming the word “senior”. In school, this term signifies exalted status: upperclassmen nearing graduation, stepping into the next phase of their personal development. Yet in later life, it’s generally been viewed disparagingly.

Reverse Mortgage Marketing And The Aging Process

As we reimagine the aging process to include a “Third Age” of vibrant, mature, post-midlife adults who are reversing the collective image of aging as surely as a reverse mortgage provides income to those who have earned it through the years, “senior” can evolve to mean one who has earned the right to live their later years in whatever manner best suits who they have become, whether that means mentoring a single grandchild — or, like Gene Jones, deciding at 84 to create Opening Minds Through the Arts, an Arizona program that today serves more than 20,000 school children throughout greater Tucson.

Senior and elder Jones typifies the new mature adult, who, as Freedman describes, now has “the opportunity to live a legacy — not just to leave one.”



Editor in Chief:
As a prominent commentator and Editor in Chief at, Shannon Hicks has played a pivotal role in reshaping the conversation around reverse mortgages. His unique perspectives and deep understanding of the industry have not only educated countless readers but has also contributed to introducing practical strategies utilizing housing wealth with a reverse mortgage.
Shannon’s journey into the world of reverse mortgages began in 2002 as an originator and his prior work in the financial services industry. Shannon has been covering reverse mortgage news stories since 2008 when he launched the podcast HECMWorld Weekly. Later, in 2010 he began producing the weekly video series The Industry Leader Update and Friday’s Food for Thought.
Readers wishing to submit stories or interview requests can reach our team at:

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  1. This has been true for generations. I have known those who are “dying” to retire and those who are embracing retirement as a time to be liberated from the daily grind and blossom out into new and exciting things.

    What is different now is how this small group is so quickly expanding. The influence of my Boomer cohorts will be a huge voice and influence on this time.

    Will the wisdom of our increased numbers be seen or just our numbers?

    What is definite is that we will need reverse mortgages like never before.

  2. Hi The Critic,

    Thanks for your response. Yes, for the first time in history large numbers of people are living long enough to have time to develop generativity in a way that impacts others on a grand scale. You’ve encapsulated it well: “Will the wisdom of our increased numbers be seen or just our numbers?”

    As a member of the emerging Third Age, I feel us as a force for positive change in this amazing time on planet Earth!

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