The Gwinnett County Fairgrounds was buzzing once again on Saturday as attendees of the seventh annual Generations Expo: 50+ Boomers and Seniors live event went booth by booth collecting topical information.
All around people smiled at each other as they exclaimed, “It’s nice to see you again!”
The free event was hosted by the Daily Post and presented by Northeast Georgia Health System and Clover Health. It included nearly 50 vendors, free health screenings, and presentations about key topics of interest to those age 50 and over.
The event was canceled last year due to COVID-19, but this yearone of the busiest booths this year was for Expedia Cruises as people showed excitement for the improving conditions of the pandemic.
“People are so excited to be out and about and they’re so ready to travel again,” said Expedia Cruises Travel Consultant Bonnie Johnson. “You know, people haven’t been able to travel over the last year and a half or at least a year now so they’re very anxious to hear about what’s available for travel and when it’s going to start up again. Everybody’s tired of COVID. They’re really anxious to be able to plan trips and have the world open up again.”
Currently, she said, cruises are supposed to start in late summer to early fall, and Expedia Cruises has already started booking trips for the end of the year and early 2022. Additionally, many people have booked land travel trips for summer vacations in a few months.
“It’s really becoming our new normal,” Johnson said. “We’re getting back to normal again.”
She guessed that many of the people who stopped by her booth were in their 60s to late 70s. Genevieve Rupley of Suwanee said she herself was curious about the future of travel. However, that was not the only reason she was there on Saturday.
“I was actually wanting to get information for my significant other who’s turning 65 this year and see if there was anything I could get for him to help him some because it’s a difficult process in my opinion,” she said.
While at the event, she sat in on presentations from speakers Blake Morris with The Lloyd Group and Steve Aleksandrowicz with Medicare and Other Red Tape.
Morris addressed top retirement concerns and how to plan for them in a post-pandemic world. He said there are five areas that advisors at The LLoyd Group look at to help everyday people deal with retirement planning — volatility, inflation, taxes, healthcare and money out of money.
“A common question I get is was the COVID crash normal?” he said. “No, it was highly unusual, but we have to plan for it. Part of what we have to do for retirement planning is we have to make sure that you plan for the market dropping because it is going to happen.”
He added that one of the biggest lessons from the pandemic is that things will change and so he advised people to have a plan that is adaptable.
“Have a written income plan and quit worrying,” Morris said.
Meanwhile, Aleksandrowicz provided a roadmap to Medicare.
According to Aleksandrowicz, the average life expectancy in 1966 when Medicare was first started was about 72.5. Today, over 61 million Americans are on medicare and the life expectancy has risen to 83. That means, he said, that more than three times as many people are on Medicare now and are living twice as long.
“So Medicare has evolved since 1966 and all the options that go with it,” Aleksandrowicz said.
Lance Martin of Sugar Hill said the presentations were helpful to him in particular because although he’s 53 and things like retirement are still a little down the road, he wants to know about the services that are available to him.
“I decided to come just for overall health reasons,” Martin said. “I ended up getting my blood pressure checked, and I was told that it was slightly elevated. So that was good to know because that was a surprise to me because usually I’m in the normal range, so I need to get on top of that and figure out why it was that way today.
“Everybody seems to be so helpful, and I’m just glad that we can have this today and be here because we’ve had to miss things like this in the past. Hopefully, this is the start of good things to come and means that everything is going to open back up again.”
Johnson, who said this was her first live event of the year, said she was glad to be out and about too.
“It’s nice meeting people again,” she said. “We’ve all felt the crunch of COVID and it’s just a nice experience to be out and meeting the public again. We’ve all missed it.”