Are Baby Boomers Still Retiring?
Last week I read an article on WSJ about baby boomers ripping up their retirement plan.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans between the ages of 45 and 60 say they plan to delay retirement, according to a report to be released Friday by the Conference Board. That was a steep jump from just two years earlier, when the group found that 42% of respondents expected to put off retirement.
The increase was driven by the financial losses, layoffs and income stagnation sustained during the last few years of recession and recovery, said Gad Levanon, director of macroeconomic research at the organization and a co-author of the report, which is based on a 2012 survey of 15,000 individuals.
Pretty scary, no? It’s very depressing, especially when you have been told all your life, retirement is the dream! The ability to check out from the 9 to 5, and not have to worry about anything.
In my team, I am currently working with 4 colleagues who are 50+. Thus, in my mind they should be planning for retirement since it’s only ten years away. When I asked them what their plan for retirement is, every single one of them said they can’t retire in the next ten years. They are probably looking at retiring in 15-20 years maybe!!!
These are category managers and directors who make more than $150K a year minimum, saying they can’t retire. What did they do wrong?
Oftentimes, I find most people can’t retire because they have an extensive lifestyle: driving around in Land Rovers, living in 5,000 square feet when there’s only two people, supporting kids in adult years, not saving enough, or making poor investment choices. One of the category managers lost most of her nest egg when her company went bankrupt. She had heavily invested most of her retirement in company stock (warning!).
Should we feel sorry for the baby boomers that can’t retire? It’s hard for me to say since I see most of them living in riches. At least where I live at, which is a upper middle class suburban area.
I did have a chance to meet a older man the other day on my way to the parking garage who said he will be retiring in 622 days! He and his wife will split their time between their homes in Hawaii and Canada. He worked for 29 years at one company, and then worked the next ten years at our company. His joy over retirement gave me hope! I’m glad one baby boomer is retiring. I have met other baby boomers that retired: a couple of my university professors retired and then taught for fun, one of my mentors retired at 55, and is now a consultant when he wants to be.
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to retire young. I will bear the responsibility of taking care of my parents in their elder years since they have no retirement plan, which means I will have to work. Until LBJ signed the social security act, extending benefits past FDR’s timeline, kids took care of their parents. Now, we have become so individualistic, we expect our parents to take care of themselves and sometimes us too!
Our generation will see a different retirement landscape: no pension plans and no social security. If you ever want to retire, make sure you are preparing for it financially every year, or have kids that will take care of you when you are old. Don’t expect society to take care of your retirement needs.