Baby Boomers now comprise half to three-quarters of the clients of fee-based advisers and independent reps, a new wealth report found. Understanding the changing composition of the American consumer can go a long way toward establishing a healthy business model. However, if that model is focused solely on affluent households, the pickings are growing slimmer.

While there are five million consumer households currently with $1 million to $5 million in investable assets, that's down since 1997, according to the Tiburon Consumer Wealth Research Report.

Consumers age 60 and up now oversee the largest pools of assets, expected to reach $10.1 trillion by 2012, from the estimated $4.6 trillion in 2005, the report found. And the fastest-growing segment of the consumer population will be between the ages of 55 and 64; this population will grow at about 4% per year.

Households led by Generation X consumers aren't too keen on retirement planning. Three-quarters of this demographic said their primary concern was supporting their families.

Some of the most enlightening findings from the report come from the already-retired consumer.

A couple that is set to retire in 2008 at the age of 65 will need $225,000 to cover medical expenses. That's up a whopping 40% since 2002, says Tiburon. Not surprisingly, over three-quarters of affluent consumers in the survey listed retirement as their primary savings goal. Sadly, three-quarters of retirees have less than $25,000 in savings and investments, and three-quarters of Baby Boomers over 55 have less than $100,000 of investable assets. Furthermore, the typical 401(k) or IRA was providing just $300 per month for many in retirement.

(c) 2008 Money Management Executive and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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