The new year will mark the first month that individuals known as “Baby Boomers” will turn 65 years of age. The Baby Boomer Generation has been defined as those individuals born from 1946 to 1964 (the post World War II generation). More than 10,000 baby boomers per day will turn 65 over the next 19 years, a segment of the population that will grow to more than 72 million people over the next two decades.
It is also a segment of our population that will face a looming crisis due to poor planning, procrastination and bad timing. A recent end of the year article in Time magazine outlines the concerns facing the Baby Boomer generation. Boomers have not planned well for retirement. (See Time’s 10 Smarter Ways to Reach Your Retirement Goals.) They have failed to save adequately and have planned to retire too early. Current economic conditions have also had an impact on this looming crisis. Traditional pension plans are disappearing and Boomers are depending on 401k plans impacted by a lackluster performance in the stock market over the past decade. Also, the real estate market has collapsed, leaving Boomers owing more on their mortgage than their home is worth.
In their segment entitled “The Dawning Age of Boomers”, CNN (video link) outlined the concerns facing the Boomer generation as they near retirement. Often times, Boomers are dealing with family issues. They are the primary caretakers for older parents but are dealing with the return of their children after college to their home because they are unable to find work in today’s job market. They are also faced with questions over the ability of the US economy to recover and to return to the economic powerhouse of the past.
The CNN segment interviewed Jim Bacon, the author of Boomergeddon, and asked him for his recommendations to Boomers on the cusp of retirement. He suggested that Boomers re-engineer their lives by saving more, cutting expenses or downsizing their family budgets and planning to work longer.
Although, those of us in the “Boomer” generation should be alarmed by the reports of a looming crisis and a potentially lower living standard in the future, the good news is that many of us still have time to plan and to re-engineer our lives as suggested by author Bacon. Why not start that planning process today in conjunction with the new year?
Michael P. Dansack, Jr.