I have no idea!”
he answered with a cunning grin.
He does still have a kid at home and more in college—plus cars and yards and chores. So with or without plans of grandeur, he’ll be busy. But for his sake, I hope not too!
My friend will be fine, congratulations. But for millions of other boomers, the golden handcuffs that have kept them working appear to be turning to copper. Research and surveys with tainted news fall upon us like pennies from purgatory.
In a nationwide survey of workers age 60 and over,
11% of respondents said they don’t think they’ll ever be able to retire*
45% of baby boomers are at risk of running short in retirement**
20% have already received an inheritance*** (median value: $64,000***)
15% still expect to receive one***
Baby boomers—that loud, proud crowd born between 1946 and 1964—have lived through an unprecedented standard of living boom. They’ve helped swell American values like individuality, innovation, and entitlement.
But will the boomers be able to take care of themselves as the years go by? (There are still 77 million to worry about.) Inheritance doesn’t look like the golden ticket. And of course, Social Security and pensions ain’t what they used to be. And let’s not even talk about healthcare costs.
For me, my friend’s stepping away from the paycheck is simultaneously celebratory and sobering. What will our society look like in 2030 when 20% are senior-citizen boomers? How many will be feeble and flat broke? Is anyone earnestly addressing this stuff?
Nobody knows the solutions. But one thing’s for sure: Many folks will be working later in life, and many may enjoy a shorter (or perhaps no) retirement. As the old Hoyt Axton song goes,
Work your fingers to the bone, what’ya get? Bony fingers!”
Moral of the story: If you can, when you can, take your time—off. The case for retiring now and then throughout your career keeps growing stronger. Even if the justification includes potential boomer doom and gloom.
***USA Today, 5-25-11