Will Boomers Retire Gracefully?

Mister Boomer has retired from his day gig. Granted, it’s not as mind-blowing a statement as, say, “Elvis has left the building,” but it does bear some exploration. The fact is, as a mid-era boomer, Mister B is among the growing number of Baby Boomer retirees. According to Pew Research, approximately 40 percent of the estimated 73 million boomers were retired as of September 2020.

The oldest of the Baby Boomers reached the retirement age of 65 way back in 2011. Since then approximately 2 million boomers a year have retired. By 2030, all Baby Boomers will have reached the age 65 threshold. However, the number of boomers retiring each year appears to be accelerating for various reasons, including the COVID 19 pandemic that struck the Boomer-American job market hard in 2020. As might be expected, those boomers employed on the lower end of the economic ladder were the most affected by unemployment and illness — both of which are contributing factors to increasing retirement rates in recent years.

Boomers may recall that the promise of retirement for their parents would, more often than not, come with a pension from their employer. That, coupled with Social Security and personal savings, allowed many of the Greatest Generation to enjoy a retirement unheard of in the decades prior. Today, however, Forbes reports 45 percent of retiring boomers have little to no savings. The government records nearly half of married couples on Social Security rely on it for 71 percent of their income. And U.S. News & World Report states that only about a quarter of today’s employers provide a pension.

This is hardly the New World Order many boomers envisioned in their days of protest, and after years of hard labor working for the man.

The news isn’t all bad, though. Boomers have changed the entire notion of what retirement should be, starting with many boomers working past the age of 65. Mister Boomer was among them, until recently. Some embark on a second working career after retirement, sometimes out of economic necessity, others out of personal choice. Medical advances mean boomers may live longer; government actuarial tables suggest a boomer who makes it to age 78 will, in all likelihood, still be around at age 88 (with slight differences between men and women, but the basic data supports the statement). Boomers are perhaps more mobile than any generation that preceded it, choosing where to live and moving at will. Transit options and senior housing opportunities (where available and affordable) hold the promise of a more fulfilling retirement experience for some boomers.

Facts and figures aside, the mental transition boomers need to make from working life to retiree is dauntingly real, as Mister B can now attest. The Hope I die before get old generation has lived well beyond their youthful prognostication. It’s funny that in times like these, Bob Dylan keeps coming back to mind, yet truer words would never be sung; your old world is rapidly aging … for the times they are a-changing’. Will they be filled with Good Vibrations or bring on a 19th Nervous Breakdown? Mister B wishes you the former.

Are you retired, boomers? How does your retirement compare to that of your parents?

2 thoughts on “Will Boomers Retire Gracefully?”

  1. Some boomers BECAME the man…Like in the Sprint phone commercial from about 2005 where the young worker is standing in the executive’s office, notices the executive’s new Sprint phone, and asks him about it. The executive describes the Sprint “Fair & Flexible” plan and what he gets from it, and explains that the plan is his “little way of sticking it to the man.”

    “But you are the man,” says the young worker.

    “I know,” replies the executive.

    “So you’re sticking it to yourself.”

    “Maybe,” admits the executive.

    from Whole Arsed from October 2015.

  2. Reminds me of “School of Rock” and “Stick it to the Man”, in which Jack Black gave an impassioned speech about “the Man” who ruined rock by creating MTV.

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