Ad-libbing Retirement, Rinsing With Wine, Etc.

Say what you will about baby boomers’ self-absorption, you can’t accuse them of obsessing about their own retirement finances. A poll by Phoenix Affluent Marketing Service found nearly half of well-to-do boomers have never discussed their retirement needs with a financial planner. Though 28 percent of older affluent boomers (age 50-59) intend to retire within five years and another 36 percent in six to 10 years, 62 percent of these wanna-be-retirees don’t have a written financial plan for retirement; 27 percent have never discussed the matter with a financial advisor. Similar numbers of younger affluent boomers (age 41-49) have taken these steps, even though their retirements are farther away, which may mean the younger group is less feckless on average than the older cohort.

Sounds like ads for luxury cars should go easy on the technical details. In a poll of luxury-vehicle owners commissioned by Ford Motors’ Lincoln brand, 57 percent said they “like to know ‘just enough’ about specific technologies to make them work.” Eight percent “don’t care how things work, as long as they work.” Just 35 percent said they “like to know everything there is to know about a feature.”

Despite Paris Hilton’s systematic effort to corner the market on hotness, others insist on asserting their own hot credentials. Among them is Just Born Inc.’s Hot Tamales candy brand, which commissioned a survey to gauge the hot-related opinions of consumers age 18-29. As you can see from the chart, stupid people are more likely than stupid machines to get this cohort hot under the collar. While computers have become more user-friendly, stupid people have not, evidently. Votes were widely scattered when respondents were asked to pick the hottest male celebrity. Brad Pitt got the most (15 percent), with Jamie Foxx and Matthew McConaughey close behind (12 percent apiece). Angelina Jolie won a clear plurality (33 percent) of the vote for hottest female celeb, trailed by Halle Berry (14 percent) and Jennifer Aniston (11 percent).

Who knew Canadians went in for that sort of thing? A recent survey by Ipsos Reid quizzed Canadian baby boomers about sex, of all things. (The polling was conducted on behalf of Pfizer Canada and its Viagra brand.) Among the findings: Boomers said they peaked sexually in their 30s, but recall sex in their 20s most fondly—”describing it as exciting (57 percent), fun (56 percent), adventurous (49 percent) and wild (28 percent).” Still, just 28 percent said their sex life is less enjoyable now than it was in their 20s. Given a menu of imaginary “gift certificates” and asked to say which they’d choose, 25 percent said they’d opt for “a night of passion and great sex in a hotel with your current partner or spouse.” That nearly matches the number who’d pick “a gourmet meal for two in a four-star restaurant” (28 percent) and exceeds the number who’d choose “a day at a spa” (16 percent). We’ll take it as a sign of good Canadian character that “tickets to an NHL hockey final” had more takers than a passionate tryst “with someone other than your current spouse or partner” (9 percent vs. 6 percent).

You’d think a task as challenging as parenthood would bring out people’s latent humility. Instead, it often seems to bring out their inner braggart. In Yankelovich polling excerpted in the firm’s latest Monitor Minute bulletin, 71 percent of parents with a child under age 18 at home agreed with the statement, “I’m closer to my kids than most people are.” And today’s parents aren’t bashful about comparing themselves favorably to their own parents. Thus, 63 percent said they and their kids “have a lot more in common than I did with my parents when I was a child.”

There’s an odd racial gap in Americans’ attitudes about the threat posed to humans by avian flu. In Fox News/Opinion Dynamics polling, non-whites were far more likely than whites (35 percent vs. 21 percent) to say they’re “very concerned” about the disease spreading in the U.S. There was a similar disparity in the number who said they’ve taken steps to protect themselves against avian flu, with 20 percent of non-whites and 13 percent of whites saying they’ve done so. The gap was even wider when people were asked whether they’ve decreased the amount of chicken and turkey they consume due to concern about avian flu: 20 percent of non-whites reported taking this step, vs. 8 percent of whites.

Honors this week for Largest Mosquito in a Pharmaceutical Ad go to Malarone, a malarial preventative from GlaxoSmithKline. We’re guessing that the star of this photo (the bug, that is, not the woman) was recruited in New Jersey, long famous for the size of its mosquitoes. BBDO New York created the ad.

Partisans of red wine say it loosens the arteries. Research by The NPD Group suggests it loosens up the wallet as well. The study tracked the amount of money people spend at casual and fine-dining restaurants, then correlated it with the sort of alcohol they drink. “People tend to have a higher check when they order red wine, a moderate check with white wine, and a lower check with blush wine.” The study also found that people who had wine with their meal are more likely to order dessert than are wineless restaurant-goers. So much for the notion that alcohol satisfies one’s sweet tooth. Elsewhere on the wine front, a study by Canadian researchers (summarized on the HealthScout Web site) finds red wine may fight periodontal disease. The antioxidants in the wine appear to have anti-inflammatory properties that help keep gums healthy. Given the worldwide glut of wine these days, we look forward to seeing a cheap red marketed as mouthwash.

Whether for good or ill, Americans are taking more homeopathic remedies. Just 4 percent of respondents to a WSL Strategic Retail poll said they use homeopathics exclusively, but 25 percent reported taking them in tandem with mainstream over-the-counter medicines. Women are more likely than men to use homeopathics (34 percent vs. 24 percent). One reason for this gap: Menstrual symptoms top the list of conditions for which people use homeopathics, with anxiety/stress relief close behind. Old consumers (who use more medicines in general) were a bit more likely than young ones to report using homeopathics: 31 percent of those 55 and older use them, vs. 26 percent of those age 18-34.