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Baby boomers and retirement: The stark reality

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  1. Introduction
  2. The baby boomers: Painting a disturbing picture
  3. Consequences of the demographic-governments funding dynamics
  4. The public-governmental employee picture at the State and Municipal level
  5. Conclusion
  6. References

We are constantly inundated with news about Baby Boomers and retirement, especially as it relates to concerns that baby boomers are not adequately prepared for retirement, and also worry separately about the state of Social Security in America. Many of the concerns that baby boomers have about retirement relate to three fronts: will their own retirement funding be sufficient in their ?golden years?; will the federal government's Social Security (SS) fund even have enough money to pay SS benefits to future claimants; and will company-matched plans like 401k's be adequately funded by the time baby boomer employees elect to retire? These matters, in turn, then raise a whole new host of issues, including concerns by many baby boomers that they will have to work past 65 years of age (the customary age of retirement) just to make ends meet; that many companies have seriously under-funded pension plans, thereby threatening the future retirement payments to former and current employees; and the concern that only personally-funded retirement plans will work for younger Americans. In this last regard especially, this subject matter is of critical importance to my personal and future professional role as the choices I make with regards to funding my eventual retirement. Clearly, baby boomers' retirement plans are in jeopardy on a number of fronts, including governmental funding issues, underfunded company plans, and the lack of planning on the part of boomers. The message for the younger generations is one of self-reliance in the form of self-funded retirement and health care plans.

[...] If I haven't saved or invested for future health benefits, that's almost worse then not having secure pension benefits down the road. Many baby boomers have undeniably failed to adequately plan for their futures and cover their retirement plans adequately. Much of this seems to have come down to denial, being overly optimistic, as well as mismanagement of their finances, preferring to blow money on personal indulgences like clothes, trips, cars, etc. Many Boomers have misplaced confidence in their finances, and ?seem to rely on some mystical alchemy of strong stock gains, housing value increases, and government largesse? (Mcardle p. [...]

[...] This brings up a related point which baby boomers have been alarmed about for years: many company pension plans are underfunded to begin with, and the recent market malaise and horrific drop in share prices has only exacerbated the situation. For example, many 401k's are at a fraction of their worth as compared to even a year or two ago. The public-governmental employee picture at the State and Municipal level is not much better, so it's a myth to think that all Boomer government employees are somehow better protected. [...]

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