Baby Boomers: A Complex Generation (Pt. 2)

July 27, 2016 | Comments Off on Baby Boomers: A Complex Generation (Pt. 2)

Boomers Biking Together gI_161420_12-14bikingtogether

Boomers: The Fittest Generation to Date

(This is Part 2. See Part 1 here).

What are some characteristics that define Baby Boomers?

They are the fittest generation.

As they’ve passed each decade milestone, they’ve challenged it. Today, as the oldest Boomers reach beyond their mid-60s, many claim that 60 is the new 40. Indeed, because of an immense emphasis on fitness, many Boomers are healthier and younger-looking than their parents were at this age. On the other hand, one third of Boomers are defined as obese, and one third are defined as overweight, leading to an increase in heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Despite this, Boomers have a longer life expectancy than their parents, which leads to complex questions about retirement.

They were changed by the women’s movement.

Boomers have been successful in work, enhanced by the women’s movement that came to prominence as they were entering the workforce. This resulted in many women attaining career goals not even considered by their parents. But it also came at a huge cost to families. Both because of opportunity and increased cost of living (especially the increasing tax burden), two-income families became the norm, leaving children to fend for themselves. Middle class families were often able to patch together a series of after school activities that doubled as childcare. Lower income families often left children unattended, or attended by the TV. Families began to look upon the school system as responsible for their children during the working hours, complaining when the schools were not available.

They are financially powerful, stressed, and stretched.

Boomers have generally enjoyed higher incomes and higher standards of living than their parents. Currently in their peak earning years, American baby Boomers control over 80 percent of all personal financial assets and more than 50 percent of discretionary spending power. They are responsible for more than half of all consumer spending, and 80 percent of all leisure travel. In 2005, Boomers had over $2 trillion in disposable income.

While this has had advantages, it has also led to the lowest level of personal savings and the highest level of consumer debt. While Boomers now have healthy incomes and spend a great deal of money, they’re not saving as much as they should, so their retirement income will be less stable than that of previous generations. Therefore, most were not prepared for the economic decline starting in 2008. Sixty percent of those who had savings and retirement accounts saw a 40 percent loss in their portfolios in 2008, throwing their retirement planning into chaos and causing over 40 percent of Boomers to delay retirement. The concurrent mortgage crisis resulted in many Boomers losing their homes, or at least facing serious financial challenges. Older Boomers are moving into retirement years with great uncertainty.

A 2011 survey found that 25 percent of baby Boomers still working said they’d never be able to retire and 42 percent are delaying retirement plans. Moreover, nearly 60 percent said their workplace retirement plans, personal investments, or real estate lost value during the economic crisis.

Boomers are also facing a health care crisis, a Social Security crisis, and an increased need for long-term care. By the year 2020, the population of Americans over age 65 will increase to 53 million. (In 1997, there were only 34 million.) By 2030, the Boomers will be ages 66–84 and will make up 20 percent of the total population, which will have a huge impact on spending and health care costs. Sixty-nine percent of those over 65 will require some long-term care before they die.

See Part 1 Here:

Photo Credit: PRWeb_12_2011

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