WASHINGTON, February 12, 2014 — Ten thousand.
That is a lot of people. Ten thousand people can fill a good sized minor league stadium.
But what is the significance of ten thousand?
Every day, ten thousand baby boomers retire. And that is the leading edge of a tsunami that is going to sweep America.
The baby boomers who retired today are like the ones who retired yesterday and the day before. Figuratively, they are out to pasture. But like the dinosaurs of 60 million years ago, they are staring up into the sky wondering what the hell that bright object heading their way is.
It is reality.
Most baby boomers have something in common: Their parents survived the first great depression. Their parents went on to win the Second World War, destroy Communism and create retirement.
Before the greatest generation, retirement was something only the wealthy enjoyed. Most people worked to their death or close to it. When they became too old or infirm to do the jobs they normally did, they would move in with family and help the family out. Family would care for them until the end.
The parents of baby boomers worked their jobs, retired and spent their golden years traveling, visiting their children and grand children. They enjoyed their hobbies and created the concept of their “golden years.”
Reality is coming to crash down on boomers the way the meteorite crashed down on the earth and ended the era of the dinosaurs.
Statistics show that almost half of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. Today, there are only 2.5 workers for every social security retiree and if you took the government workers out of the equation, it would be only 1.6.
The golden retirement years are going to be a thing only the wealthy enjoy again in the future. For today’s retirees, their last years may well be spent in abject poverty.
Boomers who are at the tail end of the baby boom at least have a chance to prepare and deal with the reality of their days as a senior citizen. That reality is they will most likely be working.
Liberty means that if you want to, you can work for as long as you can. But the reality is that retirement is something many senior citizens will never see.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Scientists who study aging say that one of the biggest factors in longevity is having a purpose that gets you up every day.
The great danger our society is going to face is the specter of the baby boomers as a block voting themselves benefits at the expense of the younger generation. Social Security is almost insolvent and Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of an estimated $38 trillion dollars over the next seventy five years.
For the smart boomer and those in Gen X and Gen Y, forget retirement and forget about the government taking care of you. Your best bet is to create a strong family; that family is what will take care of you when you need it.
And in your last days, you won’t worry whether you got your cost of living increase. You will be surrounded by something of infinitely greater value.