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Boomers getting old in a crowd

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Posted: 9 am ET

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.

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Jerel Brickerson
February 14, 2011 at 6:25 pm

This situation with the Boomers and medicare has irked me to the bitter end. the math doesn't compute. I paid diligently into the fund since 1964. The SS records are incomplete as I held jobs, that claimed they were taking SS but my employment tally does not have these jobs. Had they informed the American people about all of the money Congress was borrowing to pay for wars, the tide would have turned long ago. I know that the life expectancy of the boomers is by far the highest of any group but these people paid into the fund because they had no choice. We couldn't protest Vietnam because a lot of us were too busy fighting this undeclared war. The President(Johnson) was lied to and the whole pot reeked of malfeaseance. I planned on retiring at 65 but was forced out through attrition and the recession. My pension fund lost 35% in a nine month period. I am not married and my children are adults struggling on their own.Am I pissed? You bet. Especially when crying politicians tell me they love their country. Yeah, but they don't like the people. I am not asking the Gov't to give me anything but my money I paid into the SS fund. I can starve on my own.

January 19, 2011 at 4:30 am

Karen and her husband are doomed. Not even retired and they already lost their home to the dumbest scam there is, "Reverse Mortgage".

They should get used to eating dry dog food, so they can afford to eat when the bank takes their home and they are living in public housing.

The only other option is for the husband to keep working until he dies or the company boots him. And, the wife Karen needs to get back to work.

I realize that they are the average couple. They never planned on retirement years money. They just thought that the Federal government would support them. Fat chance. The politicians stole the money from SS and now these last two presidents have bankrupted the nation. So, third world country here we come. Except in third world countries, the family takes care of the old people. Not in the U.S.

December 31, 2010 at 9:40 am

My husband is turning 65 2011 and he is going to be making the appt talk with his HR dept regarding meshing Medicare with his company health plan. He plans on retiring @ 66 and then we'll only have to pay for COBRA for me for about 16 months until I turn 65. We plan on living mostly on our SS pmts, his VA disability compensation and a 4% withdrawal from his IRA. We did a reverse mortgage 2010 and we have no credit card debt. We will have a car payment but plan on paying that off in 2012. I quit work in 2005 due to health problems. So I am not working nor do I have my own IRA anymore. I started SS benefits @ 62 this year. That is what we have planned and there is no turning back now. My husband will do some consulting work after retiring however. Paid for travel is a nice thing.

We put our trust in God firstly as we believe He will watch over us as He has promised.