is no secret that the "Great Recession" has had a
devastating impact on Baby Boomers, especially those among
the leading edge of that generation coming up on retirement.
Lifetime savings were impacted as the stock market crash
drove down 401k’s. Home equities vanished and many Boomers
suddenly found themselves upside-down on their mortgages
rather than having an anticipated nest egg for retirement.
So where does the Boomer generation go from here?
A lot depends on their age. The 78 million strong Boomer
generation covers a large age span, comprised of births
from1946-1964. So while the leading edge is turning
sixty-five and may already be retired, the other end of the
spectrum has 10-15 years of employment left. Younger Boomers
have the time to recover a good portion of their lost
assets. Older Boomers, on the other hand, face a darker
Boomers in their sixties who have suffered financial
setbacks have pretty well reconciled themselves that they
are never going to fully recover their assets. By some
estimates, the housing market will take ten years to fully
recover, and even then it is unlikely to return to
pre-implosion levels. The stock market has enjoyed a bumpy
recover, but Boomers in their sixties are reluctant to put
the remainder of their lifetime savings into jeopardy again.
At most, a conservative blend of bonds and mutual funds will
define their diminished portfolios.
For those Baby Boomers who do not have the time to recoup
their losses, this is a time of soul searching:
Some are attempting to delay retirement if they already
have a job. Putting off retirement does add more bucks
to the retirement cookie jar, and delaying tapping into
Social Security means a bigger allotment down the road.
But hanging in there at an existing job is not as easy
as it sounds. In many instances, older workers are being
pressured to retire or are laid off to make way for
less-expensive junior workers coming up through the
Boomers who had already retired or lost their jobs are
in dire straits. Many operate home businesses, but the
down economy has impacted that as well. And landing a
job when you are in your late fifties or early sixties
is almost impossible. These are the Boomers who are
really hurting, many losing their homes and trying to
figure out how to just survive. This is a shell-shocked
segment that is suddenly faced with tough decisions
after the financial rug has been pulled out from under
Older Boomers are going through the process of accepting
their fate and making adjustments. Never a generation to
wallow in self-pity, these Boomers who raised families,
built our economy and fought in the jungles of Vietnam are
catching their second breath and developing “what now”
Most eventually realize that retirement is still possible if
they downsize or modify their expectations. That does not
mean that they must forego a comfortable retirement. It is
simply a matter of surveying what assets are left and
determining how those can be optimized to achieve the best
possible retirement. For many, this means re-locating to
less expensive areas or moving to a foreign country where
retirement dollars go further. Some will start businesses or
work part-time, never fully retiring. Others will discover
that the pleasure of controlling their own time overrides
disappointments and pre-conceived retirement notions,
engaging in new activities and volunteerism during their
One thing is certain, Baby Boomers will enjoy active
lifestyles during retirement regardless of their financial
circumstances. Despite popular misconceptions, this is not a
generation that gives up or focuses on hedonistic pursuits.
We are a tough bunch who have overcome life’s adversities
time and again. And we are not through yet. Just wait - Baby
Boomers are picking themselves up and healing their wounds.
No matter the state of our retirement, we are going to make
more contributions to our country and younger generations
than any previous group of senior citizens!
About The Author
Al Kernek is a Internet marketing consultant, author
and Baby Boomer. Learn more about resources available to Baby Boomers seeking to retire on a
limited income at www.BabyBoomerLifeboat.com
and discuss Boomer issues at our blog,
Baby Boomer Muse.