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Old 11-08-2011, 10:38 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,747,361 times
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First, a trivia question. How many Boomers are turning 65 daily? Answer: 8,000. (Source: AARP website)

Many of us who post in the Retirement Forum regularly are too old to be Boomers, but others are indeed Boomers. According to most definitions I've seen, the oldest Boomers were born in 1946, making them about 65 now and thus starting to flood into Medicare.

My thesis is that Boomers are a very mixed bag, depending on their age and how they handled their finances leading up to the economic meltdown of 2007/2008.

The oldest Boomers were 61 in 2007 when the U.S. economy imploded. If those people already had their retirement ducks in a row, they were negatively affected by the loss of value of their nest eggs as the stock market slumped. However, the ones who had planned conservatively at least had a paid-off house. Even though the house lost value, at least it was a place to live that was not in most cases a big money sink. And these older Boomers, for the most part, had been able to keep working up until that age (61) which for many was all they needed or planned for.

The younger Boomers, however, were more likely to suffer job losses well before they had planned to quit working, and finding a job at age 50 or 55 has become a very grim prospect.

Back to home ownership, which is huge for everyone, whether Boomers or not. Those who had used their homes as ATM's or had traded up near the top of the bubble now find themselves underwater. Even the ones with paid-off houses who now want to sell are often reluctant to do so because they cannot realize the value out of their homes that they had been counting on.

Boomers, especially the younger ones, are part of the age demographic that has seen a dramatic reduction in private sector pensions, thus exacerbating their retirement financial problems as a group.

My conclusion is that it is difficult if not impossible to make generalizations about Boomers because they are too varied.

The cross-generational resentment which I find on CD has usually surprised me by its vehemence. Boomers are this, that, and the other. Self-absorbed and materialistic according to many younger folks. Or, conversely, they are guilty of raising a younger generation which is spoiled and which feels entitled. I am of two minds about those sorts of things, unable to generalize. As for the question in my thead title, there are obviously Boomers in both groups, some sitting pretty and some out on a limb, but I don't know the relative size of each group. I'll bet someone will post some article with data on this very question. What is your perception of the Boomers?
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Old 11-08-2011, 10:48 PM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
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Like you wrote, it is a very wide age band 1946 to 1964 (I think). I was born in 1961.

I can see the year 1946 as the start but why is 1964 the last baby boomer year?
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Old 11-09-2011, 06:18 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,985,208 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
My conclusion is that it is difficult if not impossible to make generalizations about Boomers because they are too varied.
And this says it all. There were kids in my high school class (1966) who were destined for success--the class president and math club types, and the pretty cheerleaders who would marry them. They generally came from upper middle to upper class families and had great role models, and generally (note I said generally) had their college educations paid for by mom and dad. They sailed right into the success world. These are the boomers who came out, financially, on top, and they are well prepared for retirement, with many covered from head to toe including LTC insurance from the age of 25.

Then there were other boomers in my h.s. class, kids from lower class (though smart, as it was a college prep h.s.) or troubled families. These had to struggle to afford college, and sometimes didn't make the best of choices. Or maybe there were no real choices, perhaps they had no aptitude in economics or math or science and because of the big pressure to "go to college" they went onto the college liberal arts track, notably English or history. In the 1970s, to major in English or history still got you a job, though not so lucrative.

Remember too, that many girls who graduated in the mid-late 1960s still had that imperative to get married at all costs--or be a social outcast. So my classmates got married at a very young age, many before the age of 22. They followed in the footsteps of their mothers, having kids, while hubby built up his career and made a success for the whole family.

There are also boomer women who went it alone by choice, often getting into careers in which the glass ceiling existed (and still exists) but who succeeded in spite of the challenges, women who entered previously male dominated careers like law and medicine. My hat is off to them, they do not get the credit they deserve. But because of their route, they are retiring well-set. Other boomer women, who did not get into high-paying careers and who went it alone by circumstance or choice found themselves not so well off for retirement, esp those who had to raise kids on their own with minimal or no support from their ex.

Those (boomer men and women) who did not get into lucrative careers (shame, shame) or who suffered the financial devastations of being married or divorced, are one segment of boomers who get lost in the shuffle. Their situation today cannot be compared with their peers who made it big and did well.

I don't know where investment losses come in for the boomers, but that has to be figured in as well.

So yes, you cannot generalize about boomers or any other sector for that matter. We are a very mixed bag.

Last edited by RiverBird; 11-09-2011 at 06:40 AM..
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Old 11-09-2011, 06:43 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,671,706 times
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You really can't generalize about any group of people, not just we Boomer's. There will always be winners and losers, however you define those words.

The question isn't whether or not we're different from everyone else, but how our society reacts to those differences. DO we owe anything to those who either didn't, or couldn't, prepare for their old age? What about those who did but were torpedoed by events beyond their control? It ultimately boils down the philosophical question of just how much we owe our fellow man, doesn't it?

Right now, when times are lean, the general feeling seems to be that we don't owe them a damn thing. While that might feel good to those who don't want to share what they have with others, the day will come when the shoe is on the other foot and they'll sing a different song then. Moreover, when the economy improves (and it will), we'll all stop talking about it.

The point is that if we as a people make substantive, long-term changes now in response to a temporary problem, the real losers will be those who promote such changes because it will be THEY who have to live with their own, selfish ideas down the road, not we Boomer's. We'll all soon die off.

Young people beware: If you radically refocus government assistance away from helping those in need, you'll be shooting yourself in the azz later on.
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,356,004 times
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You're talking about Americans, of course. Canadian boomers have a slightly different demographic due to the timing of the troop returns (can't remember the dates.) I believe I'm near the front of our wave (born in 1948). I in fact lost my job during the great recession; although that was a coincidence it meant I did not find another job, so was forced into retirement. And yes, our portfolios lost some value, gained it back, and are now losing a bit again (although they are very conservative, so we didn't do badly.)

But being a Canadian, we didn't suffer a housing bust. There may be one coming in the future, but for now people here have property mobility, and value accruing, which means they have good lumps of equity in their property that they can cash in at some point.
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:23 AM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,497,588 times
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Dodged the "Boomer Bullet." Born in 1946 and am now 65. Married 25 years, had five children, divorced in 1994 and spent a dozen years paying child support and a few years of spousal support. Lost everything in the divorce which would have been cheap at twice the cost.

Remarried in 1996 and started to rebuild retirement funds then for both of us. My wife also started from ground-zero financially at the time. During the first economic downturn, shifted most of our self-directed 401k funds from stocks to bonds and didn't lose a penny. During the next, big one, saw the handwriting on the wall and parked funds in safe savings plans still under the 401k. Again, didn't lose a cent. Both time we actually made a little money.

Wife and I both had defined benefit pensions from our work for our former state. Lost half of what had accrued during the divorce while my wife had to stop work and retire early after 15 years due to medical considerations so neither pension is effusive but adequate when we add in Social Security which we each started to draw at age 62, respectively. I retired two years earlier than planned because it was no longer "fun" or satisfying.

We had been renting so we had no equity in anything. A year after retiring we moved to another state, bought a home - yes, we have a mortgage - but shopped carefully and well so our mortgage payment is actually a bit less than we'd been paying in rent and we have about two times the space.

We don't have a lot of money left in our accounts after the move, purchase and furnishing/appointing the house. What we do have is guaranteed income for life and no-premium, full medical benefits and prescription coverage along with very low-premium but comprehensive dental and vision care insurance. Our pensions reimburse us for Medicare Part B premiums when we hit 65 and the major medical becomes a really great supplement, still fully paid for.

So, being in the vanguard of the Boomers (my wife was born in 1948), do we fit any particular pattern? I don't think so and don't believe there is one. There are as many stories as there are Boomers. As for us, we're comfortable, quite secure, love where we are, enjoy our home and for us, those factors and periodic visits to our children and grandchildren in other states make for a very pleasant and secure retirement.
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:37 AM
 
29,782 posts, read 34,880,403 times
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Also part of the early boomer and those who are just a little older is the role of transplanting and retiring elsewhere. Those who retired and transplanted in the 2004-2007 range probably did better selling their homes and transplanting than those who sold before the boom and those who tried/sold during the bust. Timing is so much of everything and age plays a role in timing.
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Arizona
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Default Article

Certainly no scientific data but an interesting read:

retirement-crisis-closes-baby-boomers-reuters: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance
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Old 11-09-2011, 10:31 AM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,497,588 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TuborgP View Post
Also part of the early boomer and those who are just a little older is the role of transplanting and retiring elsewhere. Those who retired and transplanted in the 2004-2007 range probably did better selling their homes and transplanting than those who sold before the boom and those who tried/sold during the bust. Timing is so much of everything and age plays a role in timing.
It certainly does. The more you age the less time youi have left so you'd better get it right the first time!
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Old 11-09-2011, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
3,745 posts, read 4,220,203 times
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The Pew Center conducted a survey that described the differences between the generations and their impact on the 2012 election. Social and economical differences were noted between younger and older boomers. Interesting stuff. (I'm ignoring the potential political impact because there is another forum for that topic.)

The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election | Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
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