Posts Tagged "baby boomers"

Wanna Live Forever, Huh?

Mark Wexler (right), director of the documentary “How to Live Forever,” with fitness celebrity Jack Lalanne.

Immortality hasn’t been this hot since Ponce de Leon searched for the fountain of youth in 16th Century Florida.

The evidence: Captain Jack Sparrow (a.k.a. Johnny Depp) searched high and low for it in “Pirates of the Caribbean” Part IV last summer. Meanwhile, U.S. beaches were littered with the polka dot cover of “Super Sweet Sad Love Story” about a dystopian Manhattan, where longevity had to be earned. Mark Wexler’s documentary, “How to Live Forever,” was a bizarre-funny send up of baby boomers’ search for their fountains of youth. And time – not money – was the currency in the Justin Timberlake vehicle, “In Time.” Another Twilight vampire movie on the way…

This spring, Jane Fonda is promoting her new book, “Prime Time,” about what she calls the “third act” of life as more Americans are increasingly healthy into their 70s, 80s, even 90s. Not to put a damper on things, but can we afford our third act if we’re not Jane Fonda?

Noting the 30-year increase in U.S. longevity over the 20th century, she said it is ushering in a lifestyle “revolution.” But an index produced by the Center for Retirement Research, which funds this blog, indicates that we won’t have enough income to afford it. This regularly updated retirement index shows that nearly half of U.S. households with boomers in their early 50s are “at risk” of not having enough money for retirement.

Are you ready for your glorious third act? Or will it be more like the explorer’s quest? Pure myth.
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New Financial Tools Backed by Research

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has created a prototype personal finance website with tools and information on topics ranging from how to reduce spending or refinance a mortgage to the best way to draw down savings during retirement.

The website offers a comprehensive set of tools backed by impartial academic research – not sales pitches.  Individuals can use each calculator, “Learn More” lesson, or “How To” guide individually or as the building blocks for an overall financial plan, which they can construct in a step-by-step process that begins on the homepage.

The website, also called Squared Away, was created by the Financial Security Project (FSP), a financial education initiative of the Center.  It was funded (also like this blog) by the Social Security Administration.

The Center plans to distribute the site through various organizations, such as credit counselors, financial planners, employers, credit unions, and non-profits involved in helping low-income people build up their savings.

The website is still in the “beta” phase and will be improved over the coming months.  We invite readers to try out the tools and comment on them by clicking “Learn More” below.  All comments – good and bad – are welcome.Learn More

Fewer Claiming Social Security Right at 62

New research shows that the share of Americans who sign up to receive their Social Security pensions at age 62 has declined sharply over the past decade.

This trend is expected to continue despite a temporary spike in applications by 62-year-olds during the Great Recession, said Richard Johnson, a senior fellow who conducted this research at the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank. This is a major shift in retirement behavior, and it reflects sweeping cultural changes that range from more flexible employment options for older workers to the baby boomer health and fitness craze.

“Over the past 10 years, we saw the share of people claiming at 62 fall about 10 percent for men and 8 percent for women,” he said. “That’s a pretty big decline in 10 years’ time.”

Sixty-two year olds still constitute the largest single group of new applicants every year, regardless of age. That’s why the significant decline in their application rate is notable. Those who sign up for their Social Security checks when they first become eligible – within days or weeks of their 62nd birthday – are known as “early claimers.” People with physically demanding jobs are more likely to do so, because of health problems or unpleasant and exhausting work. …Learn More

Fraud Against Elderly Documented

Chilling. That sums up a documentary about financial fraud against elderly people premiering tomorrow at the Quad Cinema on 13th Street in Manhattan.

“Last Will and Embezzlement” is about fraudsters who seek out vulnerable elderly people suffering from cognitive decline for no other purpose than to exploit their trust and steal their money. It’s not uncommon for these con men and women to be family.

By first-time producers Pamela Glasner and Deborah Louise Robinson, the film would’ve benefitted from more reporting and more focus – they try to do too much when they get into court systems and solutions. But the film does what journalism does best: It finds people willing to tell personal gripping stories – not easy to do – and gives them a voice.

  • Mickey Rooney, 91, relived his searing emotional pain on screen, as he recounted how his own nephew “swindled” his money years ago.
  • An elderly woman with Alzheimer’s was persuaded by a mortgage broker to take out a complex reverse mortgage, which resulted in foreclosure on her home and a legal battle waged by her children. “My mother was incapable of understanding any of this,” her daughter said. …
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Why Baby Boomers Can’t Retire

A centuries-old trend of retiring at an earlier and earlier age has completely reversed, concluded a July report by the TIAA-CREF Institute.

In 1910, men didn’t retire until they were about 73 but that dropped to age 63 by the mid-1980s, the golden era for generous union- and employer-sponsored pension plans. Then the retirement age and labor force participation ages started heading back up, according to TIAA-CREF’s report, “Early Retirement: The Dawn of a New Era?” Women experienced a similar though less dramatic trend.

The report provided numerous explanations for this, including the demise of the mandatory retirement age for most American workers; the improved health of older Americans; and technology that has created options about when and where they work. Many retirees go from full-time work to part-time “bridge” jobs.

But what about the economic and cultural forces that have left baby boomers, myself included, financially unprepared for retirement? Delay for us isn’t a choice but a financial imperative. …Learn More

The Big Freeze Immobilizes Boomers

“The Big Chill” was the iconic movie for baby boomers in their prime in 1983.  Perhaps The Big Freeze is the best way to describe where we’ve ended up.

 
Two recent reports based on in-depth interviews with retirees and pre-retirees arrived at the same conclusion about how we are approaching the dreaded retirement: paralysis.

A report commissioned by Boston College’s Financial Security Project, which sponsors the Squared Away blog, found that the baby boomers and pre-retirees felt “immobilized in retirement planning efforts by a combination of practical and emotional factors.”

These emotions include fear and confusion about not having enough money, not knowing how much they’ll need, and not knowing how or where to get information or help.Learn More

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Forced into Retirement? Downsize

Laid off from his job as a software engineer, Ken Wadland did something smart: he downsized.

After losing his job in June 2009, it immediately became obvious to Wadland that he could not afford his large house in the Rhode Island countryside. He sold it and purchased a condominium to reduce his housing costs, which are the largest single expense for most households.

The financial-services industry barrages baby boomers with tips for saving and investing their retirement nest eggs. But little attention is paid to the strategy of downsizing, an effective way for baby boomers to improve their retirement security by cashing in on the large amounts of equity built up in their homes over decades.

“I’d rather not have the expense,” Wadland, who is 60, said in this video.

Ken Wadland from Over Fifty and Out of Work on Vimeo.

Wadland explained how he came around to his decision in the online video series, “Over 50 and Out of Work,” which is featured occasionally in Squared Away.

His most recent job was at a large company, which once awarded him for being an innovator. “My passion is solving puzzles,” said Wadland. …
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