The Neyland Report
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If you were born between the years 1946 and 1964, as many in our JCN community were, you have been dubbed the Baby Boomer generation. Now many of us are either retired or looking forward to retirement, but what does retirement in America mean in the 21st century? It certainly does not look much like the retirement years of our elders. It looks better.

Advances in medical science, a focus on fitness and diet, and a smarter approach to managing our money separates us from previous generations. But for many of us, the real difference is how we view this part of our lives. While in the past many saw retirement as the end of something, the 21st century retiree sees this period as a new beginning. However, that third act of life may have to wait for some boomers. A Gallup poll conducted in 2018 found that 41 percent of boomers expect to work beyond the traditional retirement age of 65. Many will do so by choice, since they enjoy what they are doing and they are in good health. But many will keep working by necessity.

Unfortunately, many Baby Boomers do not have enough saved for retirement. The stock market decline in 2008 hit some Boomers very hard and climbing out of that crisis has been slow and arduous. A 2018 survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that only 16 percent have over $300,000 in retirement savings. As for the rest, seven percent have saved between $10,000 to $49,999; 13 percent have saved between $50,000 and $99,999, 12 percent have saved between $100,000 to $199,999; 10 percent have saved between $200,000 to $299,999.

Previous retirees often had a pension to fall back on. But Boomers are more apt to have self-guided retirement plans and investments. Research indicates many of us took advantage of the option of borrowing from our 401K plans, often to fund our children’s education, or to enhance what might otherwise have been a more moderate lifestyle. However you view it, many do not have adequate resources to fully retire in their sixties. It is a relatively recent phenomenon with trickle down effects on the millennial generation. Many younger people do not find as many available job openings since seniors are still occupying the millenials’ desired positions. It is a culture shift that has not quite worked itself out yet.

Boomers are an industrious group. Perhaps because of some of the figures above, many retirees are entrepreneurial, starting their own small businesses after completing their first career. The U.S. government estimates that Boomers are retiring at a rate of about 10,000 a day. Due to changes in the culture, many are actually supporting their adult children or grandchildren, so generating income is a necessity. A growing trend among recent retirees is working part time. That leaves time for activities that working full time did not allow.

Do not ever underestimate the power of the Baby Boomer generation. Some quick statistics:

  • 50 percent of the U.S. population is now over the age of 50
  • Baby Boomers spend the most across all product categories, according to AARP
  • A Gallup poll shows Boomers are twice as likely as millennials to start a business
  • There are almost 75 million of us.
     Now that is power!

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