Americans, and indeed the world, find themselves entering into a new era with entirely new composition in our population. “Why,” you might ask, ‘is it changing?” It is because the Baby Boomer generation is coming of age. The last of the Baby Boomer generation hit 50 in 2014.
Who makes up the Boomer generation? They were born between the years 1946-1964. There are approximately 10,000 turning sixty-five each day! “So what?” you ask. The most interesting part of this statistic is what it means to the makeup of our country; by 2060, almost 25% of the world’s population will be over the age of sixty-five. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce – US Census Bureau, one in five Americans is projected to be 65 and over by 2030, and for the first time, the US population of sixty-five and older will outnumber those who are under 18.
In a study completed May 2015 by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, where they surveyed 4,550 workers by Harris Poll, interesting trends appeared. Across all age groups, when asked by Transamerica Center from Retirement Studies, “How much do you need for retirement?” The workers estimated $1,000,000 in order to feel comfortable. Here is where things get messy – Baby Boomers are not ready! That means that the now sixty somethings and older workers are changing the previous notions on retirement.
- 82% either plan to or are already working past 65
- Half are planning to continue working in retirement – at least part time
- 47% plan to use Social Security as their primary income source, with only 29% knowing much about their benefits.
These statistics, put alongside the belief that the governmental program of Social Security and Medicare would hold the key to safe and gentle aging, show us all a harsh reality — Federal programs were never meant to be the sole source of financial security. The Social Security Administration notes that Social Security income is only designed to replace about 40% of a worker’s salary.
What will be our plan for the future? For starters, the adult children of these Boomers may find themselves stuck in the middle — taking care of aging parents, while also expected to assist their children through the beginnings of young adulthood. The Sandwich Generation refers to those of us who find ourselves dealing with two generations with us in the middle. The potential tragedy? Some of us who are on the tail end of the Boomer group have already been in the middle of this story, and it isn’t easy. In fact, it serves to perpetuate the problem, because we have found funds and energy going out to others and as a result, limited what we have set aside to care for ourselves!
Together, let’s look for solutions to limit the impact of dealing with the two generations who we love. I know we can enhance their lives, without destroying our future and perpetuating the problem!