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Life-Stage Transitions

Exogenous shock, or eshock, is a term plucked from economics. It means a disturbance that comes from the outside and throws the status quo into chaos. We experience eshocks throughout our lives, whenever we are forced to evaluate who we are and where we're going. When someone gets an eshock around their 50th birthday, it is usually called a "midlife crisis." These eshocks are related to lifestage transitions such as remarriage and divorce, a death in the family, parents moving into a care facility, adult children moving back home, surviving a major illness, or caring for someone who is ill or dying.

When you understand what people are coping with in their 40s, 50s, and 60s (and beyond), you can plan a wealth of new products and services targeted for this demographic. The big winners in this marketplace will be entrepreneurs who care about the fears around aging—of loneliness, of being marginalized, of not giving enough back, of not having enough money or health, of no longer being attractive or youthful. And best of all, the big winners in the aging boom will also be able to smile when they look in the mirror. Their fortunes will be based on products and services that help improve quality of life for many people.

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