Trump and the Baby Boomers

Trump and the Baby Boomers

The President continues to enjoy enthusiastic support from the over-65 set.



The key ‘graph in a POLITICO piece of the changing demographics of the American electorate:

The Trump supporters who get the most media attention tend to be economically anxious laborers in economically depressed factory towns. But in Florida, economically secure retirement meccas like the Villages are the real reason Trump won in 2016—and why the state’s Republicans, who have controlled Tallahassee for two decades, think they can avoid a blue wave in 2018 and help re-elect Trump in 2020. For all the hype about Puerto Ricans moving to the Sunshine State after Hurricane Maria, or high school students like the Parkland gun control activists turning 18 and registering to vote, any Democratic surge could be offset by the migration of Republican-leaning seniors who like Florida’s balmy weather and lack of income tax. If midterm elections typically play out as judgments on the presidency, then Florida’s upcoming contests will be a race between the usual laws of political gravity and the state’s demographic destiny: Trump remains unpopular with younger voters, and Democrats have already flipped four Florida legislative seats in low-profile special elections this year, but the older voters who are most likely to vote in midterms are increasingly likely to move to Florida and support the president.

Of course, the flip side of that is that this would seem to be a zero-sum game: to the extent retirees are flooding Florida, they’re leaving other states. Certainly, the flow makes it more likely Trump (presuming he’s the GOP nominee in 2020) will carry the state’s 29 Electoral Votes. But it also makes it less likely he’ll win Pennsylvania’s 20 Electoral Votes, Ohio’s 18, Michigan’s 16, and Wisconsin’s 10 again.

There’s a Census in 2020 but it won’t be completed in time to impact the election. So, the math remains what it was the last cycle.  Still, Hillary Clinton received nearly three million more votes than Trump and Democrats will certainly be more energized this time around.

Trump had a decisive edge in 2016 with voters over 50 and a slight edge with those between 39 and 50. The article explains why:

Republicans outnumber Democrats by more than 2:1 here, and in interviews, they generally expressed support for Trump’s tax cuts, as well as his hands-off approach to Medicare and Social Security. That has helped blunt the perennial Democratic pitch to seniors: Choose us, because Republicans are coming for your checks. But what really attracted them to Trump were issues that had little to do with their pocketbooks or their daily lives—like his opposition to sanctuary cities, or his insistent rhetoric about strength, or his attacks on Muslims, MS-13 and defiant black athletes. They feel like Trump is on their side in a cultural war against cop-haters, scheming foreigners, global warming alarmists, and other politically correct avatars of disorder and decline; they thought President Barack Obama was on the other side, standing with transgender activists, welfare freeloaders and Islamic terrorists. And when Trump vows to make America great again, they sense that he means more like The Villages.

“They want an America that’s a little more like it was when they were growing up, and that’s what Trump is offering,” says Daniel Webster, the area’s conservative Republican congressman. Dennis Baxley, the area’s equally conservative Republican state senator, points out that The Villages offers that, too, with safe streets, light traffic, artificial lakes that provide a real sense of serenity, and hundreds of support groups for every imaginable malady or hardship. It’s a throwback to when they were children in 1950s America, without actual children.

I have a lot of people like those who live at The Villages in my social media, particularly Facebook, feed because I know a lot of retired military officers and senior NCOs. They’re disproportionately Trump supporters for those types of reasons. They saw the Obamas as detached and dismissive of “real America” and are willing to give Trump a lot of leeway in restoring an imagined past. Sure, there’s some casual racism in the mix, but it’s of the type typical of that generation. Even the handful of blacks and Hispanics in that cohort support the President, dismissing the notion that he’s racist.

While Trump’s disapproval numbers are better than they were six months ago, he’s still at a 7.9 negative in the RealClearPolitics average. He’s viewed negatively among every age group now except one: the over-65s. In the latest Economist/YouGov poll, for example, “Strongly Disapprove” is the plurality rating for every age category below 65 but it’s reversed for the over-65s, where the plurality (42%) “Strongly Approve” of his performance and another 16% “Somewhat Approve,” for a combined 68% positive. (Even there, 36% “Strongly Disapprove” and 4% “Somewhat Disapprove.)

Aging Baby Boomers with Dementia Challenge California’s Medical Resources

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Sharron Evans and her nephew, Rob Lyman, at the assisted-living facility where she resides. Photo by Robbie Short for CALmatters

By David Gorn | CALmatters

Rob Lyman of Redwood City didn’t know what to do. He was helping his aunt, Sharron Evans, who had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and needed constant supervision. A former teacher, she had run out of money and had no income.

She qualified for government health care assistance, but it appeared she’d have to go to the only setting that would be covered: a nursing home.

“Basically that’s a hospital setting, and that was our only choice,” Lyman said. To him, that didn’t make sense.

“My aunt just needed a safe place to be; there was nothing physically wrong with her,” Lyman said. “She didn’t need that level of care. It’s inappropriate. It costs the state a lot of money. But this is what people do. That’s the default choice.”

CALmatters logoThe Baby Boomers are aging. By the end of the next decade, 11.1 million Californians will be 60 or older, and the number of people 85 and over will jump 37 percent, to the 1 million mark, according to state officials. One in six Americans is expected to develop dementia, and care can be expensive enough to force even middle-class families into poverty and onto the public payroll.

For low-income seniors who can’t afford care at home and don’t want or need the full medical services of a nursing facility, the state’s few options aren’t enough to meet demand. A middle-ground choice—assisted living—requires special permission under government rules and is available to fewer than 4,000 Californians, although state health officials and lawmakers are both proposing increases. Taxpayers currently pick up the more expensive nursing-home tab for more than 20,000 people who may not need it, by one advocate’s estimate.

Evans, now 69, was lucky enough to land a permitted spot in a Sacramento-area assisted-living home after nearly a year’s wait. The cost didn’t matter much to her or Lyman because it was paid by Medi-Cal, the state’s version of the federal Medicaid program for the poor. The lower price tag for assisted living saves the state money, while also providing a more home-like setting and the right level of care.

For more than a decade, the state Department of Health Care Services has been trying to address the need for more appropriate, less costly care. But Medicaid pays only for what is “medically necessary,” such as nursing-home care, unless states ask for waivers. The state budget deal struck last week would provide administrative costs for a waiver to cover an additional 2,000 assisted-living slots.

That’s not enough, said Assemblyman Ash Kalra, a Democrat from San Jose.

Kalra proposes adding nearly 13,000 more, to cover a total of 18,500 people over the next five years. That would basically triple the number of Medi-Cal recipients with access to assisted-living care, assuming waivers, which last five years, can be secured.

“We’re hitting a crisis point with our senior care,” Kalra said. “It costs us twice as much for skilled nursing care.” His bill, which has no opposition, passed the Assembly and is now in the Senate.

The federal and state governments each pay roughly half of Medi-Cal expenses. A legislative staffer pegged savings for the state’s share at slightly more than $23 million over the five years, once all 18,500 patients are placed in assisted living. According to the Department of Health Care Services, which oversees Medi-Cal, the state’s share of the average cost for assisted living is about $22,000 a year per person, roughly half the $42,000 annual cost of a nursing-home.

“I have visited skilled-nursing facilities, and the nurses … told me that many of the patients don’t need that level of care. So we could be saving money for the state dramatically,” Kalra said.

According to the Department of Health Care Services, California has about 53,000 Medi-Cal patients in long-term institutional care, such as skilled-nursing facilities. A legislative analysis shows an estimated 11,000 of them have lower-care needs and could be fine in assisted living.

That figure could actually be twice as high, said Mark Cimino, who runs assisted-living homes in the Bay Area and around Sacramento, including the one where Evans lives. He said assisted-living facilities provide a wide range of care that could serve upwards of 20,000 Medi-Cal patients who are now in nursing homes.

California’s first waivers, approved in 2004, covered about 1,000 people. That figure doubled in 2009 and nearly doubled again to about 3,700 in the most recent period, which runs out in March 2019.

“There’s a huge trajectory here,” Cimino said. “The question is: Is the expansion of the waivers enough?”

And there’s the human side of the equation, he added: “The assisted-living community is more home-like,” he said. “No one wants to spend much time in a [skilled-nursing] unit.”

The state “has specifically worked to expand access to assisted-living services,” said Department of Health Care Services spokeswoman Carol Sloan.

It’s hard to go any faster, she said by email, because the state has to check for “requirements, monitoring and oversight responsibilities, staffing, adequacy of available provider network and other resource limitations” before requesting more waivers.

As for the nursing-home industry: “If a resident can be shifted to a lower level of care, we think that’s a good thing,” said Deborah Pacyna, spokeswoman for the California Association of Health Facilities, a trade group. “We always support people getting the appropriate level of care for their needs.”

That won’t hurt business, she said: “The Boomers are coming.”

For Rob Lyman, a move toward assisted living is a no-brainer.

“If the state, and we as a community, are going to provide assistance, we have to do it in a cost-effective way,” he said. “Putting people in skilled nursing when they don’t need it, that’s not good stewardship of public dollars.” is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.

Aging Baby Boomers with Dementia Challenge California’s Medical Resources was last modified: June 16th, 2018 by Editor

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More than one-in-10 Millennials would consider becoming a ‘sugar baby’ when in need of some cash

In a pinch, 14 percent of Millennials would consider becoming a ‘sugar baby’ for a quick $1,000, according to a new report on how different generations borrow money.

Finding a sugar daddy isn’t the first recourse for people born 1981-1997, but Millennials are more likely to consider that option than Generation Xers or Baby Boomers, of whom 7 percent and 3 percent (respectively) would be willing to become a sugar baby.

‘Perhaps it has to do with increased financial pressure that they’re feeling,’ said Tom Dehnel, a creative researcher behind the survey of more than 1,200 Americans by CreditLoan. ‘Perhaps people of the millennial generation are more relaxed when it comes to traditional morals than those of older generations.’

This chart shows what each gender and generation would be willing to do to make a quick $1,000.  The survey found 14 percent of Millennials would be willing to be a 'sugar baby' 

This chart shows what each gender and generation would be willing to do to make a quick $1,000.  The survey found 14 percent of Millennials would be willing to be a 'sugar baby' 

This chart shows what each gender and generation would be willing to do to make a quick $1,000.  The survey found 14 percent of Millennials would be willing to be a ‘sugar baby’ 

Men were more likely to be open to becoming a sugar baby, with 11 percent saying they would consider the option, compared to 9 percent of women.

Overall, Millennials are most likely to borrow money from their mother (70 percent) or father (58 percent), according to the survey.

However, Generation X – people born 1965 – 1980 – tended to borrow the most money from their parents compared to Millennials and Baby Boomers.

For example, Generation Xers borrowed more than $11,000, on average, from their mothers compared to Millennials who would ask for less than $4,500, or Baby Boomers who would take on a maximum average loan of about $5,400.

Millennials were more likely to borrow money for basic necessities, education or rent than Generation X or Baby Boomers – and they tend to ask for more when they take a loan for those reasons. 

Millennials were also more than twice as likely to ask for money for a vacation as Baby Boomers.

‘Millennials say they tend to value experiences more than material goods, and our thoughts are that can just be a reflection of the spending priorities of that generation,’ Dehnel said.

Millennials are most likely to ask for money from their parents, with 70 percent reporting they would borrow from their mother. But Millennials are also the generation that would, on average, seek the least amount of money when hitting Mom up for cash

Millennials are most likely to ask for money from their parents, with 70 percent reporting they would borrow from their mother. But Millennials are also the generation that would, on average, seek the least amount of money when hitting Mom up for cash

Millennials are most likely to ask for money from their parents, with 70 percent reporting they would borrow from their mother. But Millennials are also the generation that would, on average, seek the least amount of money when hitting Mom up for cash

Experts at CreditLoan suggested this could also be because Millennials earn significantly less than their parents did when they were their age – a 2017 report by Young Invincibles found the younger generation made an average of $10,000 less than their parents did when they first started out.

‘It definitely seems like some millennials are having a harder time than their parents did financially,’ Dehnel said. 

Millennials are also more likely to live in cities with a higher cost of living, making rent and home ownership more challenging. Millennials who borrow money from their parents to buy a home typically ask for more than $50,000.

Differences are also noticeable by gender. While men and women are both most likely to borrow from their parents, more men are willing to ask mom and dad for cash, while women tend to ask for more money than men. On average, 53 percent of men are willing to ask for a maximum of $5,400 from their father, while 40 percent of women will ask their father for a maximum of about $8,700.

Women are also 7 percent more likely to seek financial help from a romantic partner, compared to men.

Women would also ask their mother-in-law or child for money at about twice the rate of men. They are also more likely to request a loan money for basic necessities, while men are most likely to borrow for their education.

A new survey finds 14 percent of Millennials would consider becoming a 'sugar baby' for a quick $1,000 (Models pose in stock photo)

A new survey finds 14 percent of Millennials would consider becoming a 'sugar baby' for a quick $1,000 (Models pose in stock photo)

A new survey finds 14 percent of Millennials would consider becoming a ‘sugar baby’ for a quick $1,000 (Models pose in stock photo)

Central California newspaper | Madera Tribune

In the United States, we seem to be fond of attaching catchy names to everything from commercial products to dating sites on the Internet, including ourselves. Beginning in the early part of the last century, we started putting names to various generations of Americans. This was probably initiated by Gertrude Stein, who wrote an epigram to Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises,” which included, “You are all a lost generation.”

Although various authors and organizations have contrived labels for generations of Americans, the “Lost Generation” is generally accepted as the sobriquet for those who were born around the beginning of the 20th Century and came of age in time to fight in World War I. “The Greatest Generation” was made up of those people who grew up during the Great Depression and served both abroad and at home in World War II. The label for that generation came from the best-selling book by journalist Tom Brokaw.

During the years of the Great Depression (which started in the 1930’s after the crash of the stock market in 1929 and the bank closure in 1932) and the end of the Second World War (1939-1945), the U.S. birth rate declined dramatically. The Population Reference Bureau has dubbed those born during this “stagnant” period “The Lucky Few.”

At the end of the war, the U.S. birth rate spiked, creating the Baby Boom generation, born between 1946 and 1964. Then, as Americans enjoyed an expanding economy and the blossoming of a new middle class, the nation experienced the Baby Bust.

Baby Bust

The Baby Bust is a phenomenon that was caused by falling birth rates and a consequent decline in the total fertility rate (TFR). It is the latter that is central to today’s column. The TFR is a reference to the total number of children that each adult woman in the population will produce during her lifetime, on average. A TFR of 2.1 is required to replace the current generation.

Maintaining that 2.1 has been a problem for the Baby Bust generation, which has been identified according to three sub-generations. Those born between 1965 and 1976 are known as Generation X; those born between 1977 and 1995, Millennials or Generation Y; and those born after 1996, Centennials or Gen Z. (Various sources may use slightly different dates.)

The Lucky Few

I am one of the Lucky Few (born between 1930 and 1945), and we are dying out, but not as quickly as expected. Collectively, we are the longest living generation in recorded history, and because there were relatively few of us (counted in millions, of course), we enjoyed the best that any society has had to offer.

Most of us who continue to survive understand this, and we are saddened that future generations will have to suffer social conditions that we managed to avoid. The tail end of our generation came of age about the same time as the advent of the Baby Boom. Former President Bill Cllnton, who was born on the cusp of two categories (1946) was among the first of the Baby Boomers to reach retirement age.

To give you an idea about those who benefited from the glitch in demographic history, here is a brief list of some of the people who were born in 1930: Clint Eastwood, Warren Buffett, Sandra Day O’Connor, George Soros, Stephen Sondheim, and Joanne Woodward.  And, among those born in 1945 are journalist Diane Sawyer, actresses Goldie Hawn and Helen Mirren, astronauts Roberta Bondar and Bjarni Tryggvason, economist and best-selling author Jeremy Rifkin, Olympian John Carlos, and General Tommy Franks.

Along with them, I and millions of others enjoyed the fruits of a growing economy that was brought on by an enlarging population which fueled an expanding economy due to the Baby Boom. As the Boomers entered the workforce, they fed the social programs, like Social Security and Medicare, that now support the Lucky Few.

The Birth Dearth

As the Baby Boom came to an end, the United States entered a period which could be called the Birth Dearth. The total number of children born each year, as well as the TFR, began to fall. The trend was gradual, and — with few exceptions — it was continuous from 1964 when the TFR was above 3.0 to 1974 when it dropped below replacement level. For the next several decades, the U.S. TFR flirted with the replacement level of 2.1. Then, the country experienced the Great Recession, beginning with the burst of the housing bubble in 2006.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Terence P. Jeffrey states, “The total fertility rate of the United States fell below the replacement level for the ninth straight year in 2016, according to the final birth data report … published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” That trend continues.

The 2017 World Population Data Sheet, published by the Population Reference Bureau, shows that the U.S. had a TFR of 1.8 last year. Those tiny changes in percentages take on real meaning when they are multiplied by the tens of millions of women who are between 15 and 45 (generally used to indicate “child-bearing age,” although we realize that there are exceptions at both ends of the continuum).

WSJ’s Jonathan V. Last writes, “The nation’s falling fertility rate underlies many of our most difficult problems.” Further in his article, he explains, “Once a country’s fertility rate falls consistently below replacement, its age profile begins to shift. You get more old people than young people. And eventually, as the bloated cohort of old people dies off, population begins to contract.”

His comment about a country having more old people than young people has measurable consequences. For example, Japan experienced the Birth Dearth long before the United States. In 2012, Japan sold more adult diapers than baby diapers.

This dual problem — a population that is disproportionately old and shrinking — has enormous economic, political, and cultural consequences. We’re already experiencing some of these outcomes: young people who are not in school and have no jobs, pension plans that have a difficult time trying to support a growing number of retirees, a concentration of wealth among those over 65 and a devastating accumulation of debt among young college graduates.

It’s difficult to reverse this trend. One of the reasons, of course, is that it’s fun making babies; it’s not nearly as much fun raising them.

• • •

Jim Glynn may be contacted [email protected]

Millennials skip breakfast, Baby Boomers read the paper, and other ways generations differ in their morning routines, Business Insider

There are clearly lots of ways to start your day.
There are clearly lots of ways to start your day.
Robert Galbraith/Reuters
  • Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers begin their days in different ways.
  • Some of the differences in their morning routines can be attributed to age. Baby Boomers are increasingly retiring, so they tend to wake up later than working folks.
  • But some of it can be attributed to generational differences. Millennials, for instance, are the most likely to get their news from online.

Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers are very different – and their differences are apparent from the moment they wake up.

A poll from MSN surveyed Americans on their morning routines. It then used machine learning and big data, such as the census, to model how a representative sample of the US would have responded. It’s as accurate as a traditional scientific survey, MSN said.

Some of the differences in their morning routines can be attributed to age.

Baby Boomers are increasingly retiring, so they tend to wake up later than the working population. Nearly a third of them wake up after 7 a.m., compared to 15% of those aged below 65.

Older age also correlates with healthier mornings. Those aged 65 and up tend to exercise and eat breakfast – two recommended components of any morning routine.

Some discrepancies are also unsurprising, considering generational trends. Millennials, for instance, are the most likely to get their news online, while 13% of Baby Boomers read the paper every morning. (Just 1% of 20-somethings say they read the morning paper.)

Here’s how the generations differ in their sunrise habits.

Adults aged 64 and under are more likely to lay out their outfits the night before.

Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

Of those younger than 65, 85% wake up before 7 a.m. That drops to 68% once folks reach retirement age.

Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

The older you are, the more likely you prioritize breakfast. Two-thirds of young adults never or seldom eat breakfast.

Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

Adults across age groups tend not to plan their days. And, at 68%, young adults are particularly unlikely to map out a schedule.

Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

Almost a third of older adults exercise in the morning, compared to 18% of twenty-somethings and 25% of middle-aged folks.

Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

Retirees are the most likely to begin their days with the news — often via television.

Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

Baby Food for Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers come by the “Me Generation” moniker honestly—they were the center of the mass market’s attention as soon as they were born. In fact, consumer culture was literally spoon-fed to them in the form of baby food. Food studies scholar Amy Bentley has the scoop on what Baby Boomers ate when they were tiny tots and how it reflects the rise of consumer culture.

In 1928, Daniel Gerber launched his first line of mass-produced canned strained peas for babies—essentially inventing modern baby food. The product became popular after World War II, when, writes Bentley, Americans went on a nationwide spending spree. This embrace of consumerism included a new love of industrially-produced products like baby food.

The baby food revolution had been brewing for a while. At the turn of the twentieth century, women started having their babies in hospitals and turning to doctors instead of midwives. They also began to trust in science as “the ultimate authority,” writes Bentley, and modern mothers increasingly turned to child-care experts who, spurred on by the discovery of vitamins, encouraged them to feed vitamin-rich babies solid foods.

This went against longstanding baby feeding wisdom, which held that mothers should take their time introducing solids. But as America industrialized, that wisdom started to change thanks to the growing canned goods industry and a rising advertising industry that excelled at selling it.

Gerber was at the forefront of that movement, says Bentley. The new, processed baby foods hit grocery store shelves right as women’s child-rearing practices were becoming more industrialized, thanks to modern advances like electricity, washing machines, and other mom-friendly tech.

During the 1950s, “the age at which infants were commonly first fed solid foods plummeted.” Suddenly, thanks to a combination of industry and advertising, convenience foods for babies were all the rage. Baby food sales tripled between 1949 and 1951, notes Bentley, and women were barraged with messages—many from doctors—that they should feed their babies convenient, nutritious baby food. By 1958, she writes, 90 percent of mothers reported feeding their babies commercial baby food.

This didn’t sit well with old-school doctors, who still stuck to the traditional wisdom about when to start babies on solids. They suggested that mothers were feeding their babies solid food in an attempt to compete with other moms to produce the healthiest, largest offspring. Did solid foods represent the actual needs of babies or the anxieties of adults? Was the convenience of mass-produced baby food trumping the real needs of babies?

These conversations, Bentley writes, reflected larger debates about modernity. The idea of “progress” and an increasingly homogenized America excluded breastfeeding women and spicy “ethnic” food, turning baby spoons into a battlefield on which competing perspectives played out.


JSTOR is a digital library for scholars, researchers, and students. JSTOR Daily readers can access the original research behind our articles for free on JSTOR.

By: Amy Bentley

Michigan Historical Review, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Fall, 2006), pp. 63-87

Central Michigan University

Growing UTV Market Attracts Baby Boomers and Millennials, American LandMaster Says

The growing utility vehicle market is attracting consumers from multiple generations, Trent Marsh, marketing analyst for American LandMaster, told Powersports Finance.

UTVs can be utilized for work and play, which appeals to different groups of people. The Baby Boomer generation, for example, tends to use UTVs for personal use on their property.

“At least for us, we’re a utility-vehicle manufacturer, so you’re seeing a lot of folks that have gotten used to that country lifestyle and maybe they’re getting a little older and it’s a little tougher to maintain property with hand tools and wheelbarrows,” Marsh said. “They’re looking toward UTVs not necessarily from a recreation standpoint, but just to be able to continue to manage a property or get around like they are used to doing.”

While Baby Boomers are the main buyers of UTVs at the consumer level, American LandMaster is seeing an “anomaly” in the millennial generation pursuing the vehicles, Marsh added.

“We’re seeing some of that return to organic living, where people who have lived urban or suburban lives are starting to migrate a little bit to the fringes,” Marsh said. “They get out there and there’s a lot of work that they haven’t done before, and they are leaning on these types of vehicles to help them get into that lifestyle, as well.”

According to a study on the sales process of UTVs at franchise dealerships, UTVs have grown in presence but can still be difficult for some consumers to find. However, American LandMaster is not necessarily “pigeonholed” into one consumer type and has appeal on both ends of the generation spectrum, Marsh added.

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Children of baby boomers ‘set to inherit £100k each’

Children of the “Baby Boomer” generation are set to inherit £100,000 each on average, analysis shows, although they will not receive the money until they are in their 60s.

On average people currently aged 55-64 have built up wealth of a quarter of a million pounds, the vast majority of which they are unlikely to spend, a report published today by the Institute of Fiscal Studies says.

The conclusion, which was reached by analyzing 15 years of pensioners’ saving and spending habits, dispels fears that younger generations’ inheritance is likely to be squandered by their parents or eaten up in care fees. 

The news is likely to come as a relief to younger generations, who are suffering from a cocktail of economic misfortunes including high student loan repayments, low wages, high housing costs and relatively poor pension provision. 

The IFS said that the median non-pension wealth owned by households on the cusp of retirement was £250,000. Most of this was made up of housing wealth, with a small proportion in savings and investments.

It said baby boomers were unlikely to spend the vast majority of this sum, meaning it would be eventually be bequeathed. Based on each household splitting the sum between two children, each child would receive over £100,000 free of inheritance tax. 

Gay boomers look ahead to an old age colored by uncertainty and the help of friends

Paul Glass, who grew up gay in the 1960s, has painful memories of being called a “faggot” in his Roxbury neighborhood and on excursions into downtown Boston. He’d like to think all that’s behind him now. People at the stores where he and his husband shopped for their wedding flowers and centerpieces six years ago “were genuinely happy for us,” said Glass, 68, a retired sales executive who lives in Falmouth and drives for Uber part time.

But old fears rush in when he recalls visiting a gay friend in a senior facility. Feeling shunned by other residents, the man took his meals alone.

“When we get older and we have to depend on others, how will we be treated?” Glass said. “Some people will have to go back in the closet.”

Gay and lesbian baby boomers have seen extraordinary gains in social acceptance during their adult lives — especially in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Yet now, as they look ahead to old age, long-buried fears of isolation and discrimination are resurfacing. Many lack the support of extended families that straight people often can count on. And social service agencies report that harassment of older gays and lesbians is a problem nationwide.

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Massachusetts is known as one of the most welcoming states for residents identifying as LGBT, an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. The state has the second highest percentage of LGBT adults in the nation — 5 percent overall, or nearly 395,000 people, according to a report released last month by the Boston Foundation. The state’s LGBT Aging Commission estimates that 65,000 older LGBT adults live in Massachusetts today.

Older gays and lesbians can’t always depend on close relatives as caregivers. The report found that LGBT seniors were three to four times less likely to have children than their heterosexual peers. But many have developed strong “peer-to-peer” networks, sharing holidays and checking on each other, especially those who live far from where they grew up or who are estranged from their relatives.

Roslindale resident Aileen Montour, 70, a retired nurse and acupuncturist, is a community activist and part of a group working to make sure there is senior housing where gays and lesbians can feel comfortable. Montour, who grew up in Worcester and was closeted until age 40, now has a large group of friends. She hopes they can lean on one another as they age.

“The key thing to a happy life is to have a purpose and be able to live your life as you are,” Montour said. “Boston is the best place on earth to be an older lesbian.”

Anxiety about the future looms large for many older people, but older gay men and women have specific concerns. They would like to age in their homes with the help of friends. But they worry about winding up among homophobic residents in a nursing home, or being forced to let disapproving elder care providers into their homes, opening the door to the kind of hostility they thought they’d left behind.

Roslindale resident Aileen Montour, 70, a retired nurse and acupuncturist, is a community activist and part of a group working to make sure there is senior housing where gays and lesbians can feel comfortable.

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Roslindale resident Aileen Montour, 70, a retired nurse and acupuncturist, is a community activist and part of a group working to make sure there is senior housing where gays and lesbians can feel comfortable.

Troubling incidents in senior housing have surfaced in recent years in the Boston area, ranging from a gay man repeatedly bullied on his way to his mailbox in Everett to the ripping down of fliers inviting gay residents to meet in the common area of a Boston facility, said Bob Linscott, assistant director of the LGBT Aging Project at Fenway Health. Cognitive decline can contribute to the problem, causing some seniors with dementia to express hurtful sentiments that they would normally suppress.

Caroline Cutler, 71, who was profiled in a newsletter at the Mount Pleasant Home in Jamaica Plain about attending her first Boston Pride parade, said she was “very upset and frightened” when someone slipped a scolding note under her door.

The note exhorted her to read the Bible, chiding: “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Her story ended happily: After a security camera identified the culprit, a woman who also lived at the residential care home, executive director Kathy Seaman set up a tête-à-tête that culminated with the two women becoming friends.

Bullying or wounding words can cause chronic distress, though, as Glass saw when he visited an older gay friend at a senior residence. The friend ate alone in the dining room, fearing taunting and rejection from fellow residents. He asked Glass and some other visitors to keep their voices down and refrain from making jokes because “the guys gave him a hard time the last time we came,” Glass recalled. “It was humiliating, and it shouldn’t have happened.”

Stories like that circulate in the gay and lesbian community, stoking anxiety. Linscott said a Boston man told him recently: “I’d rather throw myself in front of the Orange Line than be the only gay person in a nursing home.”

Data suggest that many gays and lesbians retain a sense of vulnerability. The Boston Foundation report, compiled by the foundation’s research center, Boston Indicators, and the Fenway Institute, estimated that while 15.5 percent of Massachusetts residents age 18 to 25 identify as LGBT, only 2.7 percent of state residents 65 to 74 years claim that identity.

One reason cited for the generational divide is lingering jitters among older gays and lesbians, who came of age in a less tolerant time and remain reluctant to publicly label themselves. The ranks of the older generation also were thinned by the deaths of many gay men during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, before the emergence of drugs that can treat the disease.

Massachusetts is the only state to designate older LGTB residents as a “population of greatest social need,” making them eligible for targeted social services under the federal Older Americans Act. But those services are most accessible in urban areas, and many gays and lesbians are forced to move to more affordable areas outside the cities when they retire.

And there are other challenges. Older LGBT residents have higher rates of disabilities and depression than the general population, contributing to their isolation, the report said.

That isolation can be crippling, said Sean Cahill of the Fenway Institute, the research arm of Fenway Health, who coauthored the foundation report. He said it can be aggravated when aging gays and lesbians feel uncomfortable with home care aides who may be their most regular company, some of whom are immigrants from countries where homosexuality is frowned upon. They fear being put in a position where “they have to hide pictures or books when the aides come into their homes,” Cahill said.

“These are people who helped to transform Massachusetts into a much more open and supportive society,” he said. “Now they are vulnerable to neglect and abuse.”

A proposal now before the state Legislature, backed by Senator Barbara A. L’Italien, Democrat of Andover, would require special antidiscrimination and “cultural competency” training for elder service providers that receive state funding or are certified by the state.

Senior housing exclusively for LGBT residents would violate federal antidiscrimination laws. But several states have already established housing designated as LGBT-friendly, where there are social events, activities, and discussions geared to the interests of gay and lesbian residents and the staff is trained to be alert to their concerns. Local activists are working on a project to create similar developments in the Boston area, but they face challenges ranging from funding to finding sites.

As daunting as aging issues are for LGBT boomers, they have accumulated a lifetime of experience in handling adversity and adjusting to change.

Growing up in an era of widespread prejudice, some stayed in the closet. Others came out and found partners but never told their families. Some discovered their sexual identity in the military. Some lost lovers and friends to AIDS, or contracted HIV themselves but take antiretroviral medicines to treat it. Some married partners from the opposite sex and had children. Some have battled anxiety and depression, drinking or drugs.

What they have in common, though, is growing up and growing older in a time when acceptance was growing and barriers to inclusion gradually crumbling, even though some prejudice remains.

Brad Gregory, 70, a retired nutritionist, grew up on a farm in Indiana, dropped out of college, and joined the Navy. After two tours in Vietnam, he returned to Indiana, came out as gay, and moved to Boston where a shipmate lived. He struggled with alcohol but eventually got sober. He settled down with a partner who died.

Recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, Gregory said he now relies on a large cohort of gay and lesbian friends.

“My family never did come around,” said Gregory, who lives in the South End. “When my partner died, my mother and father didn’t want to hear about it. They changed the subject.”

For some, entering senior housing is one of many transitions in their lives.

Michelle Lord, 63, a transgender woman, grew up in Quincy as Craig Lord. Lord recognized at a young age that she wanted to be a woman. But she hid her feelings and didn’t come out as trans until 13 years ago. “The last people I had to come out to were my parents,” she said. Trying to be someone she wasn’t, Lord said, “I felt dishonest every single second of every day for 50 years. I missed so much of my life.”

After recovering from alcoholism and a heart attack, Lord, a retired furniture upholsterer, today lives openly as a trans woman in senior housing in Braintree. Most residents are accepting, some aren’t, she said.

“I love my life today,” Lord said. “But that old fear is easy to come back.”

Robert Weisman can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.

The 1 Reason Why Baby Boomers Continue To Work (And Which Second Career Jobs Are The Best)

The workforce has more senior workers than it has seen in at least 55 years, Bloomberg reports. Retirement typically occurred around age 65 in the past, but at least 19% of those age 65 and older reported to work last summer.


Older Americans seem to be logging more hours at work too, than their younger counterpart, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates will continue into the future. So why are so many well-seasoned workers staying in the workforce? Beyond some of the obvious reasons, there may be one surprising possibility why many workers haven’t pulled the trigger on retirement (page 9).

1. Your savings took a hit a decade ago

a homeless man in Las Vegas A lot of people still feel the effects of the recession. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Great Recession took an enormous bite out of every American’s savings. However, boomers seemed to take one of the biggest hits. At least two-thirds of older Americans say they haven’t completely recovered from the recession, according to a GOBankingRates survey.

Over half report they aren’t able to save as much as they did before the crisis and only 17% recently started to save a bigger chunk of their paycheck.

Next: This is why boomers aren’t maximizing their savings.

2. You are playing it too safe with your money

Zhenli Ye Gon money Are you hoarding your money instead of growing it? | Drug Enforcement Administration/Wikimedia Commons

Boomers had more confidence in the stock market before the recession, but not as much now. “People who’ve been burned are not going to jump back in the markets head first,” Scott Goldberg, president of Bankers Life told GOBankingRates.

As a result, boomers are playing it safe, which may mean sticking with a savings vehicle that doesn’t provide the best return, according to the New York Post. For the most part, boomers turn to a money manager to handle their portfolio, according to a survey by BMO Harris. However, 16% of boomer survey respondents said they don’t have the money to save or invest.

Next: Why don’t some boomers have enough to save?

3. Your nest egg isn’t growing

Has your nest egg stalled? | iStock

Unfortunately, between rates and the recession, many boomers didn’t grow the nest egg they hoped to have by retirement age. In fact, less than half of those age 55 or older saved at least $50,000, according to a GOBankingRates survey.

The same survey found the main reason older Americans don’t have enough in savings is that they had to dip into it for emergencies. This may include having to cover living expenses during the financial downturn. But also boomers may have taken on more debt than they hoped close to retirement due to the recession or other unexpected life occurrences.

Next: Boomers have more of this than ever.

4. Your debt is way too high

Many people are saddled with debt. | iStock/Getty Images

Boomers hold the second highest amount of debt of all the age groups, according to the GOBankingRates survey. This is only slightly behind the amount of debt Gen Xers carry. And while most boomers never anticipated being totally debt free into retirement, more have debt than in the past. Today only 34% expect to have no debt when they finally stop working, as opposed to 45% of retirees before the recession. There is some good news. Most boomers are doing a good job paying off their mortgage, which appears to be one of the main loan sources, according to USA Today.

Next: Retirement age is now subjective.

5. When should you retire?

Retirement - Next Exit Road People are waiting longer to retire. | Kateywhat/Getty Images

About 20 years ago workers looked forward to getting their gold watch when they turned 57, according to Today. However, the “cut off” age for retirement isn’t as clear-cut as it was in the past. In fact, by 2013 the average retirement age was 66 and most boomers expect to keep working until 66 or longer, according to Fast Company.

Furthermore, one in 10 older workers anticipates they’ll never retire at all. The average retirement age is murky too possibly because people don’t consider themselves to be in old age until they are 72 years old.

Next: This is another consideration.

6. Healthcare costs are unpredictable

money with stethoscope Healthcare costs remain out of reach for many. |

Healthcare costs can be considerable in post-retirement as people are living longer than ever. The average man over age 65 can expect to spend $189,687 and women of the same age may end up spending  $214,565 on medical expenses, USA Today reports. Women end up spending more because they typically live longer than men. These numbers don’t take into consideration long-term care, which may be needed for approximately 70% of all seniors at some point in their life.

Next: This safety net isn’t so safe anymore.

7. Social Security probably won’t sustain you in retirement

man holding social security card in his hand Social Security doesn’t go as far as it used to. | KenTannenbaum/iStock/Getty Images

Unfortunately, the Social Security benefits that were supposed to support you well into retirement aren’t there anymore, CBS News reports. In the most optimal scenario, Social Security could cover about 40% of pre-retirement income, but most people need two times that amount to live a comfortable life. This means many people will end up working for a longer amount of time. Not only can you save more, working longer deepens your Social Security benefits too. While you still can’t live off of Social Security alone anyway, working longer may help.

Next: This may be important to couples.

8. You don’t want your spouse to retire while you work

man and woman enjoying retirement at a beach It’s tough to be retired while your spouse works. | iStock/Getty Images

Some couples hang onto their jobs because one doesn’t want to retire without the other.  “Either the spouse is still working or really isn’t ready for their loved one to be around 24/7,” Dave Sanford, executive vice president of client relations at recruitment firm WinterWyman told The Street. Possibilities include not wanting to start the next life phase without their spouse. Or some couples don’t want to keep slaving away at work while their spouse putters around at home.

Next: The surprising reason some boomers are putting off retirement

9. You don’t know how to downsize your job

professor, teacher Many people don’t know how to disengage from their jobs. | monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Some people admit they actually don’t know how to retire, according to The Huffington Post. Workers aren’t prepared to go from being completely engaged from morning until night, to spending their days counting flamingos. “What will you do when the alarm clock no longer rings in the morning?” Ann Brenoff blogged in her Huffington Post opinion piece on retirement.

Some companies offer a program that allows you to phase down your job. You could go from working full time to part-time hours. Or a flexible work environment may help you transition from the grind to retirement.

Next: Some just enjoy working.

10. Work provides you with fulfillment

Man and woman look at a computer in cafe. Some people just love what they do. | Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images

In some cases, you just like being engaged in intellectual stimulation. While money is a good reason to stay in the job market, many people just enjoy the feeling of purpose they get from their job. In fact, six in 10 older workers say money is not the reason they still work, according to a study by Banker’s Life Center for a Secure Retirement, The Huffington Post reports.

Approximately 18% of study participants said they keep working to stay mentally alert and 15% to remain physically active. Having purpose is important too as 14% said that was their reason to keep working, whereas 7% like the social aspect of work.

Next: If you aren’t ready to totally retire, what can you do for your ‘second act?’

11. Use your talents to become a consultant

Consultant is explaining solutions Put your experience to work. | BernardaSv/iStock/Getty Images

Perhaps you want to still work, but you are over the daily grind. One way to parlay your years of experience is to transition into a consulting role, according to Monster. “By mid-life you have solved many problems,” Ellen Mastros of New Work New Life told Monster. “Most likely other people have those same problems and you can help them solve them too. One can become a consultant in just about any industry or career field.”

Next: You could also tap into your charitable side.

12. You could work or volunteer for a nonprofit

Happy family volunteer smiling at camera Volunteering is a great way to stay active. | Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images

If you don’t need the money and want to give back to your community, consider volunteering or working for a nonprofit organization. “Many baby boomers want to give back to the community and end up working for nonprofits,” Jim Stedt, president and founder of Hartley and Associates said to Monster. “Some of these positions are for pay and some are only for volunteers.” Consider choosing a cause that is near to your heart or meaningful to your life.

Next: Pass your knowledge along to the next generation.

13. Check out teaching

Senior teacher while teaching Teaching is a great post-retirement career. | IPGGutenbergUKLtd/ Getty Images

One way to stay young is to work with kids. Consider a teaching position not only at a K-12 school but also a community college. Your knowledge could be put to good use if you know a trade too. “Many trade schools are looking for instructors who have real-life work experience in the careers they are teaching,” Stedt said to Monster.

Next: Leverage the Internet.

14. Make money online

Senior working on computer There’s a lot of money to be made in the digital world. | DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images

A second act career could also mean you learn something new such as becoming a blogger. Or you could launch a self-published book online. “Selling on the Internet, self-publishing books on demand, and teaching webinars online are all options,”  Nancy Collamer, author of Second-Act Careers: 50+ Way to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement said to Monster. “Jobs we aspired to when we were younger have become obsolete, and new careers — like virtual assistants, app designers, social media consultants, and bloggers — have filled the void.”

Next: Invest in a new business.

15. You could open a franchise

storefront at a Subway restaurant Purchasing a popular franchise is a great way to make money. | iStock/Getty Images

Plenty of franchises are doing well and could be a great way to transition into a new career. Purchasing a franchise allows you to work for yourself, plus may even provide a work opportunity for family members to help grow the business too.  “For those who always wanted to work for themselves, this is an excellent way to fulfill that entrepreneurial spirit,” Stedt said. You can also decide how involved you’d like to be with your new business. Some franchise owners like to be part of day-to-day operations, whereas others hire managers to handle operations.

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