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Recession Destabilizes Boomers’ Finances

The COVID-19 recession has changed everything.

This extreme disruption in our lives is always top of mind, which was reflected in our most widely read articles so far this year, based on the blog’s traffic.

Baby boomers, their retirement plans having been deeply affected by the Great Recession, are once again reassessing their finances. One popular article explained that the boomers who were in their early to late 50s during the previous recession lost about 3 percent of their total wealth at the time. This put their retirement planning at a distinct disadvantage compared with earlier generations in their 50s, whose wealth, rather than shrinking, grew 3 percent to 8 percent. The current recession is the second major setback in just over a decade.

Prior to the pandemic, readers liked articles about making careful retirement plans. Post-pandemic, the most popular article was about laid-off boomers desperate for income who may have to start their Social Security prematurely. The retirement benefits can be claimed as early as age 62, but doing so locks in the smallest possible monthly Social Security check – for life.

Even before Millennials were hit by the recession, they were already farther behind older generational groups when they were the same age. One article explained that the typical Millennial had just $12,000 in wealth. They are “the only generation to have fallen further behind” during the pre-pandemic recovery, the Federal Reserve said.

Here are a dozen of this blog’s most popular articles for the first half of 2020. They are grouped into three topics: COVID-19 and Your Finances, Retirement Planning, and Retirement Uncertainties.

COVID-19 and Your Finances:

Social Security Tapped More in Downturn

Lost Wealth Today vs the Great Recession

Boomers Facing Tough Financial Decisions

Recession Slams Millennials – Again

Retirement Planning:

Most Older Americans Age in their Homes

Retirement is Liberating – and Hard Work

Have You Misplaced a Retirement Plan?

Fewer Choosing Annuities in TIAA Plan

Retirement Uncertainties:

Oddly, the Educated Pay Higher Fees

Can’t Afford to Retire? Not All Your Fault

Unexpected Retirement Costs Can be Big

Pre-retirement Debt is Rising Over Time

Several of the research studies reported herein were derived in whole or in part from research activities performed pursuant to a grant from the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) funded as part of the Retirement and Disability Research Consortium.  The opinions and conclusions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not represent the opinions or policy of SSA, any agency of the federal government, or Boston College.  Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, make any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the contents of this report.  Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof.

2 Responses to Recession Destabilizes Boomers’ Finances

  1. Melinda Hipp says:

    I hate to see pre-retirement Boomers who are thinking about taking social security prematurely. If they are 62 or over, and have a home with more than 50% equity, they and their financial advisors should look to utilizing that equity instead of drawing funds out of SS early or out of their IRA’s. The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage can be a much better alternative if they take the time to do the numbers.

  2. Harsh P says:

    It’s really sad to see how the current situation has hit the baby boomers. They must be definitely hit hard, but there are quite a few resources out there which could be helpful to them during such a scenario, especially in re-planning their financial strategy and refinancing.