California Seniors Live in the Happiest State in the Union


Happiness and consumption – a powerful combination in crafting a senior strategy.

I grew up in Orange County in the shadows of Disneyland. Our parents took us to the Magic Kingdom the first week it opened. That was 1955.  Even at age 5, I was impressed. Today at 68, I ‘m as excited to walk down Main St. as I was back then.

California may very well have influenced Walt himself in positioning his dream as ‘the happiest place on earth”.

Wallet Hub, the credit card financial site conducted a “happiness” survey to rank the happiest state in the country. In a survey of the 150 top U.S. cities, 2/3’s of the top 20 cities are in California. They include:

  1. Fremont
  2. San Jose
  3. Irvine
  4. San Francisco
  5. Huntington Beach
  6. San Diego
  7. Oakland
  8. Santa Rosa
  9. Chula Vista
  10. Santa Clarita
  11. Garden Grove
  12. Anaheim
  13. Glendale

Today, our nation’s number one economic power, California, can add “happiest state” to its list of firsts. And California Seniors are basking in its attributes from weather, unmatched geographic variety, travel destinations, senior community options, healthcare facilities and rising income and job opportunities.

U.S. News and World Report conducted their own similar study and it found that 4 of the top “happiest” U.S. cities are in California.

California has long drawn people West seeking a better life. Whether it was to strike it rich prospecting or launching a tech start-up. Optimism and a positive outlook, like its great weather, seem synonymous. Weather is one of the many reasons so many people stay or move to California despite some of its faults (pun intended). The sunshine provides a continual dose of serotonin that’s almost DNA like. For California seniors, it seems to add to an energy and eagerness to live life to the fullest.

Related to happiness, a study reported by the Harvard Medical School found that people who show gratitude for what they have, from health to family to successful careers display the following characteristics:

  • feel more positive emotions
  • relish good experiences
  • improve their health
  • deal with adversity
  • build strong relationships.

The WalletHub study built its findings around three key categories essentially matching the Harvard Medical School study – emotional and physical wellbeing, income & employment and community/environment are true keys to happiness.

Each of these qualities define the aspirations of most seniors as they continue to doing meaningful work or start a post-65 new career. For CMOs, they are the perfect consumer. And California, the perfect state to target them. The fact is, a senior strategy’s success rests on the facts that healthy living, relishing great experiences, and continuing to spend time with friends and family, and yes, being happy,  all include spending and consuming.

Consumption is the ultimate purpose of all economic activity; production and distribution exist solely to increase the well-being of consumers.” – Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

A CMO looking to craft a true senior-targeted strategy will recognize the importance of California seniors as consumers who feel good about their lives. These are consumers who will reward the brands that reach out to them with genuine solutions and meaningful products for years to come.

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Author Profile

Brad Ball
Brian Morris and I have been good friends and industry competitors for years. We both have run major advertising agencies and both have held top level client-side positions. I am a former partner at ad agency Davis, Ball and Colombatto, and the former Chief Marketing Officer at McDonalds and President, Theatrical Marketing for Warner Brothers. Brian and I are now in our 60’s and came together in 2017 to form a company that understands the Senior market better than traditional ad agencies, Silver Advertising. We are now poised to be passionate advocates for these consumers as they enter their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond.

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