Reshaping Retirement with the Baby Boomers

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: June 2, 2010

Do you remember peter pan collars, Buster Browns, bell bottoms, big wad bubble gum, horizontal/vertical hold TV adjustments, Lawrence Welk, Roy Rogers, drive-ins, the original platform shoe, peace, love and Bobby Sherman? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these, you are without a doubt part of the booming baby generation.

The oldest of the baby boomers are now reaching 60 years old and quickly approaching the golden age of retirement. Americans are not only living longer, they are working longer. This generation is more active than ever! Boomers do not appear to be tapping into their 401K pension plans quite yet. Most continue to work and earn money for a later retirement and take advantage of their ‘longevity bonus’.

Here are a few facts concerning the baby boom generation:

In 2000, 37 percent of the adult US population was 50 or older, and by 2010 that percentage will rise to 43 % (source: NY Times, July 25, 2001).

There are about 78 million baby boomers. In 1995, they began to turn 50. In 2011, these baby boomers will hit the traditional retirement age of 65.

For boomers, retirement means something different than what it did for their parents of the “silent generation”. Aging is a privilege and some consider their 60’s , the best years of their lives. This is the time in their lives they can finally transition into another work life they’ve always dreamed about. They are not slowing down for retirement, they’re changing it by being more active and living longer. Many are in robust health and are working hard to reverse the aging process.

A survey conducted by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) in 2003 revealed many shifting attitudes for Boomers. Seventy six percent of the 1,000 people surveyed intend to keep working and earning in retirement. On average, they expect to retire from their current job/career at around age 64 and then launch into an entirely new job or career.

Baby boomer women are six times more likely to share responsibility for savings and investments compared to their mothers’ generation (33% now vs. 5% then). Women boomers generally maintain positive attitudes as they view retirement as an opportunity for career development, personal growth and community involvement.

Only 21% of the boomers surveyed expect to relocate to a new geographic area when they retire. According to the US Census, people are now “aging in place” as the younger populations relocate leaving behind a relatively large percentage of people 65 and older. The US Census predicts over the next 25 years, the older population is projected to double in several states in the Mountain West, Pacific Coast and the South.

What would the Golden Girls think about all of this? Retirement no longer means long walks on the beach and golf. Boomers are reshaping retirement by living longer, being healthier and becoming more educated, and I predict many baby boomers will be sitting in classrooms at age 80 learning new skills. You are not at the end of the road – you are now free to work forever if you choose to do so. This is not your mother’s retirement and not her menopause. This is the beginning of the rest of your life!

Some well-known women boomers who turned 60 just last year:

  • Cher
  • Sally Field
  • Candice Bergen
  • Laura Bush
  • Connie Chung
  • Goldie Hawn
  • Diane Sawyer
  • Susan Sarandon
  • Diane Keaton
  • Suzanne Somers
  • Linda Ronstadt
  • Bette Midler
  • Dolly Parton
  • Liza Minnelli