CLARK, NJ—Financial product developers–and realestate planners–need to stop thinking about designing theirproducts based on a “pyramidal” approach to demographics, economistLarry Cohen told members of the New Jersey BankMarketing Association last week.

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Cohen, vice president and director, consumerfinancial decisions, for Princeton-based Strategic BusinessInsights, spoke at the bank marketing group's annualEconomic Outlook conference here.

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In an exclusive interview with GlobeSt.com,Cohen highlighted what he called “the urbanicitytrend,” where Millennials are looking for a certain level ofamenities in their environs.

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“That pyramid that used to be narrow at the top is now going tobe wide at the top,” Cohen says, referring to astacked chart depicting populations in various age cohorts, withthe oldest on the top. “Think of all those products and servicesyou can sell them for the next 20, 30, 40 years.”

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Medical advances will not only extend lifespans but also improvethe quality of life. Not all seniors will suffer from Alzheimer'sDisease or dementia, Cohen says.

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“I'm 62 years old, my father died when he was 62 years old,”Cohen says. “I'm not planning on dying any timesoon. I think that's more the norm than the exception.”

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“Being able to create the type of critical mass in a communitythat would make it vibrant requires not just having all the storesand restaurants in one location, but having arts and entertainmentand things of that nature,” he says. “So in developing an area,instead of just thinking in terms of what the project might be,taking into account the dynamic of the entire area and trying tohelp promote other types of businesses.”

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Cohen says the aging population presents special opportunitiesfor this kind of living environment. “When you have that type ofcommunity that is not homogeneous in terms of ages, you have aready available work force to take on different roles,” he says.“More and more we need people to be able to provide some part timeassistance, to provide mentoring. To make a community vibrant youneed to have things where people can take care of each other.”

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Hear the complete interview with Cohen in theplayer below.

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Steve Lubetkin

Steve Lubetkin is the New Jersey and Philadelphia editor for GlobeSt.com. He is currently filling in covering Chicago and Midwest markets until a new permanent editor is named. He previously filled in covering Atlanta. Steve’s journalism background includes print and broadcast reporting for NJ news organizations. His audio and video work for GlobeSt.com has been honored by the Garden State Journalists Association, and he has also been recognized for video by the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has produced audio podcasts on CRE topics for the NAR Commercial Division and the CCIM Institute. Steve has also served (from August 2017 to March 2018) as national broadcast news correspondent for CEOReport.com, a news website focused on practical advice for senior executives in small- and medium-sized companies. Steve also reports on-camera and covers conferences for NJSpotlight.com, a public policy news coverage website focused on New Jersey government and industry; and for clients of StateBroadcastNews.com, a division of The Lubetkin Media Companies LLC. Steve has been the computer columnist for the Jewish Community Voice of Southern New Jersey, since 1996. Steve is co-author, with Toronto-based podcasting pioneer Donna Papacosta, of the book, The Business of Podcasting: How to Take Your Podcasting Passion from the Personal to the Professional. You can email Steve at [email protected].