Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Baby Boomers and Their Effect on how Others Retire

Between 1945 and 1964, there were 76 million children born in the US, a temporary increase which has become known as the Baby Boomer generation. 

Freed from the tight restrictions of World War II that their parents had to endure, Baby Boomers are the first generation who were able to fully embrace the freedom of the modern world. 

However as many reach retirement, once again they are breaking the mold and creating a whole new set of rules and way of life. 

We take a look at the Baby Boomer generation who are nearing the end of their working life and how their choices are influencing others around them. 

An image showing the years covered by the various identified generations

Redefining a lifestyle 

When it comes to retirement, many people may envisage a quieter life but Baby Boomers are not yet ready to eschew their rebellious streak.

Very different to generation who have gone before, these 60-somethings are much fitter, still able to run marathons and enjoy exotic holidays filled with activities. A sedate pace of life filled with a spot of gardening and hours in front of daytime TV simply isn't for them. 

With a different mentality and still brimming over with a zest for life, many are opting to deliberately avoid the traditional retirement complexes which have sprung up. Although moving remains one of the top priorities for Baby Boomers, like many who have retired before them, they are choosing to move to urban areas where there are plenty of cultural and diverse activities to enjoy, where a buzzing social life can still be found. 

Working life

Another aspect which is worth considering is the age of retirement: many Baby Boomers are opting to continue working beyond the basic retirement age. Even those who leave their old employer go on to find an alternative job, either setting up their own business or getting something with fewer hours.

 "Many employees are working well into their 70’s and even 80’s "

This leaves employers with a real dilemma; continuing to pay experienced staff a higher rate of pay may not have been in their business plan but failing to extend their contract could leave them open to either set up in direct competition in their own business or going to a rival firm. 

Although many retirees are choosing to work for themselves, finally having the freedom to set up their own business doing something they are passionate about, many are taking part-time jobs. 

Whether they opt to stay in their previous role or take a part-time job, there is a negative impact on the rest of the labor force. Youngsters have fewer opportunities to find work as companies are not recruiting to fill the vacancy whilst topping up pocket money with part-time work is much harder. For those already on the career ladder, the opportunity to move up takes far longer with senior members of staff remaining in their position for much longer than expected. 

Financial restrictions

However, whilst the Baby Boomer generation may seem to have it all at first glance, in some ways they have it far harder than their parents and grandparents, at least financially.

For many, their planned nest egg has not come to fruition, especially with the crashes in the stock market, leaving them with substantially less than they thought they would have.

A survey recently carried out by TD Ameritrade showed that a typical Baby Boomer will find their nest egg around $500,000 lower than what they need in order to be able to retire without a worry. Out of the participants, 13% said they would like to be able to fully retire but had financial commitments which meant they were forced to continue working at present.

Downsizing in the property market remains a possibility for some to raise cash, and with the price of real estate finally starting to rise again after the sub-prime mortgage crash of 2008, equity in property is once more starting to emerge. However, those who find they can't scrape together enough dollars to lead a comfortable lifestyle are moving in with their families.

The desire to move home once retirement is reached certainly has an impact on the housing market, with a boom created every time there is a surge of retirees.


The Baby Boomer generation is the first of its kind in many ways. Forging new paths after the hardship faced by their parents, they are creating a whole new lifestyle and showing future retirees that stopping work doesn't have to mean knitting and blue rinses.

About the author: Sarah Lynch, Mercer and Hole consultant helping personal finance advisers and accountant in St Albans and Milton Keynes to satisfy their clients needs.

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