Are There Financial Benefits for Boomers Having Plastic Surgery?

surgeryWe all want to look fit, firm and youthful, yet our bodies don’t naturally comply with our wishes as we age. Even if we do our best to eat healthy, exercise right and control negative factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol, our bodies will age.

In the past five years, I’ve noticed that my arm and leg skin has gotten saggy and flappy (due probably to the loss of elastin under the outer layer); my eye bags have gotten fuller and my boobs and entire midsection have enlarged (even though I’ve lost weight).

Although I’m retired, now, prior to leaving my career, I always tried to look younger than my years. There IS age discrimination in the work place, no matter that there are laws against it. Looking older and wiser in our society is not an advantage.

I’m not alone in trying to look younger to compete well at work, many boomers have the same issue. We bleach our teeth, color our hair, exercise and, some of us elect to try to reverse the signs of age with surgery.

Flush boomers are fueling a significant rise in cosmetic surgery procedures, including men, according to a 2011 Daily Finance article.


Dr. Haeck reports that he is increasingly seeing men getting nips and tucks with the purpose of specifically boosting economic outcomes. “They are competing for a scarcity of jobs,” he says. “A man might say ‘I am the the oldest guy in my division and the competition is younger.’

What is the cost?

The more popular surgeries to regain youth are eyelid surgery and face or neck lifts.

Eyelid surgery (which my hairdresser has had) can help erase those pesky bags under your eyes, and remove excess droopy skin on your upper eyelid, refreshing the way your face looks (and sometimes improving your visions).

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website, the basic charge (not including anesthesia, operating room facilities or other related expenses) for eyelid surgery was $2874 in 2014

A neck lift can help reduce the appearance of a turkey neck – removing excess skin and firming up the chin line. For a neck lift, also not including the above ‘extra’ expenses, was $4389 – also in 2014.

A face lift can tighten and lift the muscles in your face, reducing wrinkles and getting rid of those deep gullies on the sides of your cheeks – making semi-permanent the effect you get when you stand in front

On average, for a face lift in 2014, you would have paid around $6500 (again not including ‘extras’).

My age related, genetic issue is that my breasts have gotten much larger after menopause and, of course, have drooped with age. So, my surgery of choice at this point in life, a breast reduction AND lift would cost me from $5000 to $15,000!

None of the above costs are typically covered by any kind of insurance.

Is it worth it?

There don’t seem to be many studies on the topic of financial benefits of cosmetic surgery. Most benefits reported are anecdotal and relate mainly to the recipient feeling better about the way the he or she looks.

One economist who has done studies is Daniel Hamemesh. His book, Beauty Pays Why Attractive People Are More Successful suggests that the attractive are more likely to be employed, work more productively and profitably, receive more substantial pay, obtain loan approvals, negotiate loans with better terms, and have more handsome and highly educated spouses. Even so, other of his studies suggest that the payoff to improve ones looks through cosmetic surgery only provides a 15% return on dollars spent on that surgery.

In a separate study “Returns to Plastic Surgery in Marriage and Labor Markets“, researchers Soohyung Lee and Keunkwan Ryu found:

“… that, on average, the benefit of plastic surgery is small compared to the surgery cost, but with an exceptionally large improvement, the cost can be recouped in three years.”

For me, the risks outweigh any of the benefits I might gain (all of which would be non-financial for me). All of my life I have avoided letting anyone cut parts out of me. Why stop now. I might need that $5000 to $15,000 some year to stay mobile (or stay alive!).

How about you? Have you considered cosmetic surgery?