Opinions divide over what the approach of retirement years means for boomer consumption and marketers, but there's reason for optimism. Although retirement typically means a sharp drop in buying, surveys find that boomers in their mid-50s are planning to work well past age 65. "So let's not jump to any conclusions that boomers are leaving their peak earning -- and spending -- years any time soon," advises Matt Thornhill, co-author of "Boomer Consumer" and founder of the Boomer Project.

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