Retirement Isn't What It Used To Be

By: Jody Smith

Baby boomers have started reaching the age of 65, which used to be the age when retirement often began. In some jobs it was even mandatory. Even people who didn't want to retire were pushed into retirement. I remember this time period. I was a teenager, and then in my twenties, at the time. My prejudice was automatically in favor of the young up-and-comers. I  accepted the bias of the time -- that the older workers were somehow not as good as the younger ones pushing them out of the way. Youth, fresh blood, fresh eyes, these were the things that were considered to be of most value. The older workers were seen as somehow worn out, used up, and obsolete.

The experience that had been gained by decades of living and working were discounted by those younger workers, and worker-wannabes. Ironically, the people who were the young cohort, who denigrated the age and wisdom of their elders, are now flipping that perspective on its head. Now that they are the senior in the picture, age and wisdom are in vogue. Many seniors are affronted by the idea that they might not be as good as, or even better than, the younger versions.

One of the fascinating advantages of getting older, is watching world views, or the accepted wisdom of the times, turn upside down as time winds on.

Whatever your take is on these differing views, one thing can't be denied. Whether or not people wanted mandatory retirement back in the day, in general people were better equipped to have a decent quality of life with some security. The scenario was much different from that being faced by seniors of the present day.

The assumption is often made that Baby Boomers are on shaky legs for retirement because they've lived high and have not bothered to plan or save. But this is selling an entire generation short. An article on Yahoo.com reported that defined benefit pension plans are not what they used to be. There is a big difference between real interest rates of a past generation and the real interest rates available now. It takes more money to generate less retirement savings.

People are living longer which in many ways of course is rather a cause of celebration. But it does raise some disconcerting quandaries. More money is going to be needed to support these bonus years. And, a longer life is not necessarily going to be a healthy life. The possibility is very real that someone living more years could live them in poor health, with or without adequate health care, with the specter of funds being eviscerated by high health care costs.

And oh, how those health care costs have risen, and are continuing to rise. Medicare isn't going to cover everything. Social Security is not a guarantee of a healthy standard of living, once poor health becomes part of the equation.

The statistics aren't encouraging. This is not your father's retirement. So Boomers, it's time to do what you have always done -- Look for new and radical solutions to old and traditional challenges.

Jody Smith is a freelance writer for EmpowHER.com.

Sources:

Why Boomers Need Bigger Nest Eggs Than Their Parents

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/4-reasons-boomers-need-bigger-nest-eggs-than-their-parents.html

Boomers worry about finances, health costs

http://fiftyplusadvocate.com/archives/3917

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