It's almost 2011 -- the first year that baby boomers will officially become senior boomers.
One baby boomer will reach 65, the traditional retirement age, every eight seconds for the next 18 years, according to the U.S. Census. As a result, the population age 65 and older will increase 79 percent between 2010 and 2030.
We boomers have spent our entire lives in crowds. We were born in hospitals with maternity wings so full that many of us spent our first days in a crib in the hallway. There were routinely 50, or even 60, kids in our elementary school classes -- but we learned to read anyway.
To accommodate us when we got to high school, communities had to build thousands of new buildings. And when I graduated from Ohio State University in 1972, there were more than 60,000 kids on the main campus in Columbus.
When we boomer women opted to stay in the workforce after our children were born, we revolutionized how the world did business. And now we're thinking about leaving that workforce, although a recent survey by Charles Schwab found that 88 percent of boomers -- men and women -- expect to work at least part time, even though they are eligible for full retirement benefits. About 28 percent say they "need more money."
Why is that? Schwab's survey says that 44 percent of Americans on brink of retirement expect to retire with debt. And 30 percent expect to rely on Social Security as their primary source of income in retirement. With the average Social Security payment less than $1,200 per month, living on it is surely a retirement planning challenge.
My husband, who is a leading-edge baby boomer, spent part of his day today figuring out how Medicare will mesh with his company health plan. This was all new territory for the human resources people where he works, so they figured it out together, knowing that my husband is only the first of many to ask these same questions.
Growing old in a crowd should be interesting.