Baby Boomer Retirement Crisis?
Are baby boomers facing a retirement crisis? Even among boomers, the answer varies widely based on the personal circumstances of the person answering the question. One thing is certain, baby boomers facing retirement also face a series of challenges with which previous generations did not have to contend.
Baby boomers, those aged 48 to 66, are the first generation not to have the benefit of defined-benefit retirement programs funded by employers with whom they may have spent their entire career. Instead, they became responsible for their own retirement savings and, frankly, some did better than others.
At a time when the Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates that the average retiree will need $900,000 in personal savings to fund their retirement, they also note that boomers within a decade of retirement have, on average, savings of $78,000.
Social Security has been running a deficit since 2010 and is expected to eliminate their surplus by 2033. Not only has the wave of retiring boomers left fewer people in the workforce to fund the program, real unemployment and under-employment have also slowed the flow of cash into the program. And, once the revenue and surplus are inadequate to fund the program, there are built in mandatory cuts.
Retirees could traditionally count on the equity they had built up in their homes as a source of retirement income. Today, many boomers have mortgages on homes that are “under water” (i.e., worth less than the remaining mortgage). That means no equity.
In addition to funding their own retirement, many baby boomers are faced with having to care for aging parents while, at the same time, helping their children with college expenses or even helping to support recent graduates who can’t find employment. This double whammy further stresses retirement incomes.
What’s the Answer?
Increasingly, boomers with any entrepreneurial bent are starting home businesses to try to bridge the gap. At a time when network marketing is gaining in popularity, partly because of the solution the profession offers and partly due to endorsements from people like Robert Kiyosaki and Donald Trump, the influx of boomers into the profession should have a positive effect. After all, it’s true that a rising tide raises all boats. (Assuming, of course, that your boat is in the water!)
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