Self-driving vehicles and Baby Boomers: A budding relationship … – ZDNet

baby-boomer-autonomous-car-senior-driving.jpg

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Automakers and regulators have proclaimed that self-driving vehicles could revolutionize mobility for the elderly. President Obama wrote in a September Op-Ed, “Right now, for too many senior citizens and Americans with disabilities, driving isn’t an option. Automated vehicles could change their lives.” Older folks aren’t exactly known for embracing new technology, but self-driving vehicles just might be an exception to the rule.

There is a clear need for making transportation more accessible for seniors. As we age, many older people have to transition from drivers to passengers because health issues make it unsafe or physically impossible to drive. Whether the reason is cognitive (such as memory loss) or physical (poor vision), the end result is the same: giving up driving takes away a person’s independence.

Driverless cars could solve this problem, but the very same people who could benefit the most from this new technology are the least comfortable with it. Today, Baby Boomers are approximately 50 to 69 years old, but by the time that self-driving cars are on the market, many of them will be faced with normal signs of aging — changes in visibility, flexibility, and range of motion – that make driving difficult or even impossible.

A new survey by Kelley Blue Book found that only one percent of Baby Boomers reported that they “know a lot about autonomous vehicles.” In comparison, younger generations were much more confident about self-driving cars, with most Millenials and pre-driving Gen Z respondents saying they felt safe with Level 5 full vehicle autonomy.

However, aging expert Jodi Olshevski says, “It’s important for us to realize that just because a person is older doesn’t mean that they’re not interested and willing to adopt technology. They might be at a little different rate than some of the younger generations, but I think that’s just a result of exposure and awareness, and comfortability with the technology.”

We spoke with Olshevski to get her take on autonomous vehicle technology. As Gerontologist and Executive Director of the Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence (“The Hartford”), she has led several studies on vehicle technology among drivers over the age of 50.

In 2015, Olshevski and her colleagues showed a group of Baby Boomers videos of a self-driving car to gauge their level of interest in adopting the technology. Surprisingly, a whole 70 percent of people said they would be willing to test drive an autonomous vehicle. Only 31 percent said they would purchase a self-driving car, but nearly half (38 percent) of Boomers said that if their health prevented them from driving they would consider purchasing one. Olshevski says:

The interest in the technology is increasing almost exponentially among this segment. Of course when you compare them to other generations I think what you find is very similar to tech in general, and that is that people who are older have just had less exposure to the technology so it might take them a little longer to adopt.

Educating drivers about autonomous vehicles will be essential as the technology is rolled out to the public. The Hartford is partnering with AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) to develop a driver safety program that will focus on teaching seniors about the newest vehicle technology.

The AARPs driver safety program is shifting the technology portion of the course from safety features such as antilock brakes to the newest technologies, such as partially automated vehicles (e.g. lane assistance, smart headlights). They are also starting to look at how the program could start getting older adults acquainted with the autonomous vehicles that are likely to be available in the near future.

Jana Lynott, a transportation policy advisor with AARP, says that even though older generations are less familiar and less comfortable with autonomous vehicle technology, Boomers are also the most mobile generation that we’ve ever seen. She published a paper describing how the Baby Boom Generation fueled a historic growth in travel, and she tells us, “They’ve really been transformational across their lifespan of becoming the generation that has increased the number of miles driven, increased the number of trips taken.” She continued:

So, given how important mobility has been to this generation of Boomers, I think that as they begin to outlive their safe driving years, they may be open to looking at other ways of getting around the community in order to keep a high level of mobility. I just think they’re used to being on the go, and they’re not going change that just because they’re getting older and may not drive.

State and federal regulators are starting to put together policies for autonomous vehicles that could lead a transportation revolution. As this happens, Lynott cautions that policy makers should think about how to solve some of the problems with our current transportation system, such as equity and accessibility. She says, “I think there are opportunities to correct some of the deficiencies of the past.”

Millennials vs. Baby Boomers: How Attitudes and Behaviors Differ [Infographic] – MarketingProfs.com (subscription)

Millennials are more likely than Baby Boomers to do multiple things while consuming media, to pay for socially responsible products, and to be willing to try new digital platforms, according to recent research from Nielsen.

The report was based on data from the Nielsen Global Survey, which has been polling the attitudes of more than 30,000 online consumers in more than 60 countries since 2013.

A larger share of Millennial respondents (age 21-34) than Baby Boomer respondents (age 50-64) say they multitask while watching video.

That’s also true regarding paying a premium for sustainable brands, being open to ordering online for food delivery/using a virtual supermarket, and wanting to be connected anytime, anywhere to access digital content.

Check out the infographic below for more findings from the research:


About the research: The report was based on data from the Nielsen Global Survey, which has been polling the attitudes of more than 30,000 online consumers in more than 60 countries since 2013.

Join over 600,000 marketing professionals, and gain access to thousands of marketing resources! Don’t worry … it’s FREE!

Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

More baby boomers may face treatment-resistant depression – CNN … – CNN

The 73-year-old musician rattles off the list: Prozac, Cymbalta, Lexapro.

“I’ve been on a bunch,” she said. “I still cry all the time.”

She has what’s known as “treatment-resistant depression.” It’s commonly defined as depression that doesn’t respond to two different medications when taken one after the other, at the right dose and for the right amount of time.

Mental health experts expect treatment-resistant depression to become more widespread as baby boomers age. Boomers already have been identified as having higher rates of depression than previous generations, and over time their depression may no longer respond to medication.

“We are seeing treatment-resistant depression more, and we are recognizing it more,” said Helen Lavretsky, a geriatric psychiatrist at UCLA. “And in older adults, the answer to understanding what it is and what to do about it is more complicated than in younger adults.”

The consequences among older adults can be devastating. Persistent depression can raise the risk of early death and suicide, expedite memory decline and lead to a loss of independence.

The phenomenon isn’t well studied, but psychiatrists believe there are several reasons why depression in older adults may not respond to treatment. For one thing, if a person has been depressed and taken different medications for a long time, it can diminish their effectiveness. Patients also may neglect to take their medication as prescribed, because they have memory problems or they believe they no longer need it.

Party drug ketamine closer to approval for depression

“Sometimes people say, ‘I’m better. I don’t need this,’ and stop the medicine,” said Anthony P. Weiner, who directs outpatient geriatric psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Then the symptoms recur … and if the person goes back on the medicine, it may not be fully effective.”

Seniors are also more likely to have chronic medical illnesses, which raises the risk of depression. Their illnesses may make it more difficult for them to recover from depression. And it can mask whether antidepressants are working, because symptoms of chronic illness can be mistaken for depression — and vice versa.

Poverty, isolation, pain, grief over the loss of a spouse, or being a caregiver can also lead to or intensify a senior’s depression. And no matter what medication the patients take, Lavretsky noted, those external factors don’t go away.

“Either they change their perspective or they change their circumstances, or the depression just persists,” she said.

Antidepressants can help seniors gain some perspective. But Lavretsky and others agree that even if the medications are effective, they shouldn’t be used in isolation. “It’s an emotional experience,” Weiner said. “The whole answer isn’t just, ‘Oh, here take a pill.’ There is such a central role for psychotherapy.”

Kramer-Carter, who speaks slowly and hugs everyone she meets, has felt depressed for as long as she can remember. As a young adult, she worked as a secretary and a proofreader but got fired more than once because she had trouble getting out of bed and making it to work on time. She went to the emergency room many times and in her 30s, she was diagnosed with depression.

Now, she spends a few days each week driving her husband, Eugene Carter, to medical appointments. When she feels up to it, she volunteers delivering food to poor families.

Better depression treatment could be found in blood test

Kramer-Carter checks all the boxes for being at high-risk of treatment-resistant depression. She is a long-time caregiver, first for her parents and now for her husband, a stroke survivor with short-term memory problems. Her own list of health problems is long: diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, fibromyalgia and gout.

“Who wants to be aching all the time?” she said.

Money problems don’t help either. The couple depends financially on Social Security. If she had more money, she said she would go to the theater or see live concerts. She misses both.

“We wouldn’t be so stuck,” she said. As it is, they spend everything on food, rent and other bills.

“It’s a constant struggle,” she said. “You have to borrow from Peter to pay Paul.”

Despite the prevalence of treatment-resistant depression, few resources exist to help psychiatrists make treatment decisions. Clinical trials have been scant, and there are no universally accepted protocols for the condition. The risks and benefits of different medications for older adults are largely unknown.

Given a shortage of geriatric psychiatrists, decisions on treatment are often left to primary care providers, who may not have relevant training or might be reluctant to take on such complicated care.

Treating anxiety, depression can help global economy, study says

Doctors with patients who don’t respond to traditional therapies frequently make ad hoc decisions about whether to change the dose, add a medication or switch to a new one.

“The clinicians use their best experience and trial and error,” said Evelyn Whitlock, chief science officer at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. “They try something, and if it doesn’t work, they try something else.”

Trial and error is not ideal, she said. Many of these people have been living with depression for so many years, and providers need to be able to provide them with effective treatment.

In an effort to produce better medical outcomes for people with treatment-resistant depression, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute announced in July that it was funding three major studies that will test different approaches to the illness. The goal of the research is to produce tangible evidence that can be used immediately to help patients and their doctors make more informed treatment decisions.

The Washington, D.C. nonprofit, which finances health research, earmarked $40 million for the five-year studies, which it expects to begin this fall. They will include more than 2,500 patients at sites in California, Ohio, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Survey: Mental health stigmas are shifting

One of the studies will examine electroconvulsive therapy — its impact on quality of life and its potential for relieving the symptoms. Another will compare the effectiveness and safety of three strategies — using magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain, adding an antipsychotic medication or switching to a specific antidepressant. The research will assess how these approaches affect the patients’ ability to function at home and work.

The third and largest study, with about 1,500 patients, will focus specifically on older adults, testing different drugs and studying how aging affects the risk and benefits of antidepressants. UCLA, where Kramer-Carter is being treated, is part of the third study, which will weigh life circumstances and disabilities in addition to depression.

The grants represent an “unprecedented opportunity to look at this population,” Lavretsky said.

“It will be a comprehensive look at the condition, why it happens and what are the ways of alleviating suffering,” she said. “Are there some similarities among all people with treatment-resistant depression? I suspect we will find some.”

On a recent afternoon, Rini Kramer-Carter visited Lavretsky at UCLA. She said the only time she truly escapes her sadness is when she plays percussion along with other musicians. But she hasn’t been playing lately, and she has been sleeping up to 20 hours a day.

“If I can stay in bed all day, that’s what I do,” she said.

Sometimes she watches TV comedies to try to dissipate her black moods.

Kramer-Carter said she learned about Lavretsky after seeing a newspaper ad for another research study, of a drug typically used to treat early-stage dementia. During their appointment, Lavretsky went over a list of questions included in the study. “On a scale of zero to 10, where do you place yourself in terms of depression?” the doctor asked her. Nine, she responded.

She told Lavretsky she sometimes felt restless and anxious, but not suicidal.

“Do you feel full of energy?” Lavretsky asked.

“Do I look like I am full of energy?” she responded with a sigh.

Lavretsky told her that no pill will completely fix her problems, but medication might give her more energy and the ability to cope. Kramer-Carter said she knows a drug won’t produce any miracles. She just wants some relief.

“I just want to be able to live my life,” she said.

Don’t Blame Baby Boomers for Not Retiring – They Can’t Afford It – Newsmax

 

In business, the 80/20 rule states that 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers. In an economy where more than 2/3rds of the growth rate is driven by consumption, an even bigger imbalance of the “have” and “have not’s” presents a major headwind.

I have often written about the disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street. While asset prices were inflated by continued interventions of monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, it only benefited the small portion of the population with assets invested in the market. Cheap debt, excess liquidity and a buyback spree, led to soaring Wall Street and corporate profits, surging executive compensation and rising incomes for those in the top 10%. Unfortunately, the other 90% known as “Main Street” did not receive many benefits.

This divide is clearly seen in various data and survey statistics such as the recent survey from National Institute On Retirement Security which showed the typical working-age household has only $2500 in retirement account assets. Importantly, “baby boomers” who are nearing retirement had an average of just $14,500 saved for their “golden years.”

Further evidence of the failure of ongoing Central Bank interventions to spark a broad economic recovery that lifted “all boats.” 4-0ut-of-5 working-age households have retirement savings of less than one times their annual income. This does not bode well for the sustainability of living standards in the “golden years.”

Here is the problem that is unfolding for investors going forward. While the mainstream financial press continues to extol the virtues of investing in the financial markets for the “long-term”, the assumptions are based on historical data that is not likely to repeat itself in the future.

Jeff Saut, Liz Ann Sonders, and others have continued to prognosticate the financial markets have entered into the next great “secular” bull market. As I have discussed previously, this is not likely to the be case based upon valuations, debt and demographic headwinds that are currently facing the economy.

Let’s set aside valuations and look strictly at the main driver of economic growth – the consumer.

Demographics Don’t Add Up

 

One of the big problems for the “secular bull market” story is the transition of a large mass of individuals heading into retirement years from accumulation to spending mode.

The gap between the young and elderly population has shrunk dramatically in recent years as the demographic trends have shifted. Old people are living longer and young people are delaying marriage and children. This means fewer people paying into a social welfare system, while more or taking out. Of course, the burden on the social safety net remains the 800-lb gorilla in the room no one wants to talk about. But with the insolvency of the welfare system looming in less than a decade, I am sure it will become a priority soon enough.

Of course, as we will discuss in a moment, the problem is that while the “baby boom” generation may be heading towards retirement years, there is little indication a large majority of them will be actually retiring. With a large majority of individuals being dependent on the welfare system in retirement, the burden will fall on those next in line.

Welcome to the “sandwich generation” when more individuals will be “sandwiched” between supporting both parents and children in the same household. It should be no surprise multi-generational households in the U.S. are at their highest levels since the “Great Depression.”

Given the sharp declines in fertility rates over the last 30-years, it is not surprising those over the age of 54 is now at its highest level, as a percentage of those between 25 and 54, in history.

This demographic problem is not going to be fixed anytime soon and has manifested itself in lower rates of household formations.More importantly, the drag from the elderly on the financial system is going to be a much bigger problem than most currently expect.

Employment Is A Problem

 

But let’s get back to that “secular bull market” theory for a moment. The consumer currently makes up almost 70% of economic growth. More importantly, that consumption is what drives changes in private and fixed investment, imports, and exports all of which feed into the economic growth story. However, in order for the consumer to do their part, they need a “job.” Consumption can not occur without production coming first. In other words, if you don’t have a J.O.B. – you don’t have a P.A.Y.C.H.E.C.K. with which to spend.

Recent employment increases, while encouraging, have been little more than a function of population growth. As the population grows, incremental demand increases caused by that increase in population will create employment needs in areas most impacted by that population growth. This is why job formation has been primarily focused in retail, service and hospitality areas.

The Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics provide some fairly comprehensive data about employment that can help us understand the current state of labor force participation. Is it really just an issue of masses of “baby boomers” retiring? Or is it something potentially more structural in nature.

Let’s start with the retirement of the boomer generation.

Recent statistics show the average American is woefully unprepared for retirement. On average, 40% of American families are NOT saving for retirement, and of those who are, it is primarily about one year’s worth of income. Furthermore, important to this particular conversation, one-fourth of those at retirement age postponed retirement with only 18% being confident of having enough saved for retirement.

For the purposes of this analysis, I am going to exclude all of the “seasonal adjustments” that tend to be a focal point of many of the arguments and utilize a simple 12-month average to smooth the non-adjusted data.

With 24% of “baby boomers” postponing retirement, due to an inability to retire, it is not surprising the employment level of individuals OVER the age of 65, as a percent of the working-age population 16 and over, has risen sharply in recent years.

This should really come as no surprise as decreases in economic and personal income growth was offset by surges in household debt to sustain the standard of living.

During the last “secular bull market,” the “consumption function” was not driven by rising wages, higher interest rates, or strong economic growth. In reality, the economy has been in a weakening trend since 1980. The “illusion” of the last great secular bull market was driven almost entirely by the expansion of credit and financial engineering. In other words, people used credit to make up the difference between their standard of living and weakening levels of wage growth. We have now come to the end of that game.

The problem with the “secular bull market” thesis currently is solely the inability of the consumer to re-leverage another $11 Trillion to support economic growth. With corporations having levered back up to historic peaks to fund share buybacks, dividend payouts, and acquisitions, there is likely little fuel in the tank to support another massive leg higher in the equity markets.

What seems to be missed by the majority of analysis, in my opinion, is whether the economic viability for the average American has improved? The fact social benefits as a percentage of real disposable incomes has risen to an all-time record certainly suggests that it has not.

It would seem to me this would be a much more salient question considering the importance of the consumer on the economic equation and, ultimately, corporate profits and asset prices.

While the Fed has inflated asset prices to the satisfaction of Wall Street, it has done little to improve real employment or consumption for the vast majority of Americans.

However, my concern is that despite much hope the current breakout of the markets is the beginning of a new secular “bull” market – the economic and fundamental variables suggest that this may not yet be the case. Valuations and sentiment are elevated and interest rates, inflation, wages and savings rates are all at historically low levels. These are the variables which are normally seen at the end of secular bull market periods rather than the beginning.

As stated above, the consumer, the main driver of the economy, will not be able to once again become a significantly larger chunk of the economy than today as the fundamental capacity to re-leverage to similar extremes is no longer available.

There is a huge difference between an organically driven secular bull market in stocks supported by underlying economic strength as opposed to an asset price inflation derived from direct liquidity injections. The former is sustainable, the latter is only sustainable as long as the ability to continue to “juice” the markets remain.

The last point is key. Central Bank interventions are finite. There is a limit to the number of bonds that can be swapped for cash before the credit market seizes entirely. There is also a limit to the ability of the world to operate within the context of a negative interest rate environment.

While stock prices can certainly be driven higher through more global Central Bank interventions, the inability for the economic variables to “replay the tape” of the 80’s and 90’s increases the potential of a rather nasty mean reversion in the future. However, it is precisely such a reversion that will create the “set up” necessary to start the next great secular bull market.

But as was seen at the bottom of the markets in 1942 and 1974, there were few individual investors left to enjoy the beginning of that ride. In the meantime, stop blaming “baby boomers” for not retiring – they simply can’t afford to.
 

 

 

Lance Roberts is a chief portfolio strategist and economist for Clarity Financial. To read more of his commentary, CLICK HERE NOW.

 

 

© 2016 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

Baby boomers turn to upscale rental properties over hassle of owning homes – KSHB

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Renting is not only for millennials. More and more baby boomers are choosing to forgo home ownership for apartment leases.

Take for example Lawana Kelly, who traded in her four-bedroom house in Lenexa for a one-bedroom apartment at the new Centropolis in downtown Kansas City.

Her home sold in a matter of days, but even before putting it on the market, Kelly knew her next move was going to the city. She admitted to missing her garden but is not looking back.

“My day off was spent mowing the lawn, weeding the garden, and the rest of the week was spent worrying about the garden and the house,” said Kelly. 

Local realtor Christina Boveri estimates seeing noticeable growth in the last five years in the 55 and over demographic for the rental market.

“Probably eight to 10 years ago, mostly the biggest demographic was the young professional,” said Boveri. 

The search engine Apartment List said the rate of baby boomers renting property is up by 34 percent over the last seven years. 

Credit: Apartment List

Marnie Sauls at One Light listed a few reasons for the uptick.

“They’re looking for a carefree lifestyle,” said Sauls. “They don’t want to worry about anything. They want to make sure maintenance is doing everything for them. They want to have planned activities.”

One of those tenants is Debi George, who after owning a home with her husband for 25 years, decided to live the apartment life.

“We feel like we know our neighbors because we meet them down here and socialize,” said George.”We don’t look at it as money thrown away. We don’t pay property taxes. Anything that goes wrong in the apartment, they’re right there to fix it for us so we’re not spending that money so we only see upsides to it, we’re happy.”

——–

 

Jane Monreal can be reached at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter

Connect on Facebook

 

Don’t Blame ‘Baby Boomers’ For Not Retiring | Seeking Alpha – Seeking Alpha

In business, the 80/20 rule states that 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers. In an economy where more than 2/3rds of the growth rate is driven by consumption, an even bigger imbalance of the “have” and “have not’s” presents a major headwind.

I have often written about the disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street. As shown in the chart below, while asset prices were inflated by continued interventions of monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, it only benefited the small portion of the population with assets invested in the market. Cheap debt, excess liquidity and a buyback spree, led to soaring Wall Street and corporate profits, surging executive compensation and rising incomes for those in the top 10%. Unfortunately, the other 90% known as “Main Street” did not receive many benefits.

Click to enlarge

This divide is clearly seen in various data and survey statistics such as the recent survey from National Institute On Retirement Security which showed the typical working-age household has only $2500 in retirement account assets. Importantly, “baby boomers” who are nearing retirement had an average of just $14,500 saved for their “golden years.”

Click to enlarge

Further evidence of the failure of ongoing Central Bank interventions to spark a broad economic recovery that lifted “all boats” is shown in the chart below. 4-0ut-of-5 working-age households have retirement savings of less than one times their annual income. This does not bode well for the sustainability of living standards in the “golden years.”

Click to enlarge

Here is the problem that is unfolding for investors going forward. While the mainstream financial press continues to extol the virtues of investing in the financial markets for the “long-term”, the assumptions are based on historical data that is not likely to repeat itself in the future.

Jeff Saut, Liz Ann Sonders, and others have continued to prognosticate the financial markets have entered into the next great “secular” bull market. As I have discussed previously, this is not likely to the be case based upon valuations, debt and demographic headwinds that are currently facing the economy.

Let’s set aside valuations and look strictly at the main driver of economic growth — the consumer.

Demographics Don’t Add Up

One of the big problems for the “secular bull market” story is the transition of a large mass of individuals heading into retirement years from accumulation to spending mode. The chart below shows the number of elderly versus young in millions in the U.S. through the last OECD survey ending in 2014.

Click to enlarge

The gap between the young and elderly population has shrunk dramatically in recent years as the demographic trends have shifted. Old people are living longer and young people are delaying marriage and children. This means fewer people paying into a social welfare system, while more or taking out. Of course, the burden on the social safety net remains the 800-lb gorilla in the room no one wants to talk about. But with the insolvency of the welfare system looming in less than a decade, I am sure it will become a priority soon enough.

Of course, as we will discuss in a moment, the problem is that while the “baby boom” generation may be heading towards retirement years, there is little indication a large majority of them will be actually retiring. With a large majority of individuals being dependent on the welfare system in retirement, the burden will fall on those next in line.

Welcome to the “sandwich generation” when more individuals will be “sandwiched” between supporting both parents and children in the same household. It should be no surprise multi-generational households in the U.S. are at their highest levels since the “Great Depression.”

Click to enlarge

Given the sharp declines in fertility rates over the last 30-years, it is not surprising those over the age of 54 is now at its highest level, as a percentage of those between 25 and 54, in history.

Click to enlarge

This demographic problem is not going to be fixed anytime soon and has manifested itself in lower rates of household formations.More importantly, the drag from the elderly on the financial system is going to be a much bigger problem than most currently expect.

Employment Is A Problem

But let’s get back to that “secular bull market” theory for a moment. The consumer currently makes up almost 70% of economic growth. More importantly, that consumption is what drives changes in private and fixed investment, imports, and exports all of which feed into the economic growth story. However, in order for the consumer to do their part, they need a “job.” Consumption can not occur without production coming first. In other words, if you don’t have a J.O.B. — you don’t have a P.A.Y.C.H.E.C.K. with which to spend.

Recent employment increases, while encouraging, have been little more than a function of population growth. As the population grows, incremental demand increases caused by that increase in population will create employment needs in areas most impacted by that population growth. This is why job formation has been primarily focused in retail, service and hospitality areas.

Click to enlarge

The Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics provide some fairly comprehensive data about employment that can help us understand the current state of labor force participation. Is it really just an issue of masses of “baby boomers” retiring? Or is it something potentially more structural in nature.

Let’s start with the retirement of the boomer generation. In addition to the survey above, recent statistics show the average American is woefully unprepared for retirement. On average, 40% of American families are NOT saving for retirement, and of those who are, it is primarily about one year’s worth of income. Furthermore, important to this particular conversation, one-fourth of those at retirement age postponed retirement with only 18% being confident of having enough saved for retirement.

Click to enlarge

For the purposes of this analysis, I am going to exclude all of the “seasonal adjustments” that tend to be a focal point of many of the arguments and utilize a simple 12-month average to smooth the non-adjusted data.

With 24% of “baby boomers” postponing retirement, due to an inability to retire, it is not surprising the employment level of individuals OVER the age of 65, as a percent of the working-age population 16 and over, has risen sharply in recent years.

Click to enlarge

This should really come as no surprise as decreases in economic and personal income growth was offset by surges in household debt to sustain the standard of living. Notice the surge in 65-year and older employment corresponds with the decline of prosperity in the chart below.

During the last “secular bull market,” the “consumption function” was not driven by rising wages, higher interest rates, or strong economic growth. In reality, the economy has been in a weakening trend since 1980. The “illusion” of the last great secular bull market was driven almost entirely by the expansion of credit and financial engineering. In other words, people used credit to make up the difference between their standard of living and weakening levels of wage growth. We have now come to the end of that game.

Click to enlarge

The problem with the “secular bull market” thesis currently is solely the inability of the consumer to re-leverage another $11 Trillion to support economic growth. With corporations having levered back up to historic peaks to fund share buybacks, dividend payouts, and acquisitions, there is likely little fuel in the tank to support another massive leg higher in the equity markets.

What seems to be missed by the majority of analysis, in my opinion, is whether the economic viability for the average American has improved? The fact social benefits as a percentage of real disposable incomes has risen to an all-time record certainly suggests that it has not.

Click to enlarge

It would seem to me this would be a much more salient question considering the importance of the consumer on the economic equation and, ultimately, corporate profits and asset prices.

While the Fed has inflated asset prices to the satisfaction of Wall Street, as shown in the first chart above, it has done little to improve real employment or consumption for the vast majority of Americans.

However, my concern is that despite much hope the current breakout of the markets is the beginning of a new secular “bull” market – the economic and fundamental variables suggest that this may not yet be the case. Valuations and sentiment are elevated and interest rates, inflation, wages and savings rates are all at historically low levels. These are the variables that are normally seen at the end of secular bull market periods rather than the beginning.

As stated above, the consumer, the main driver of the economy, will not be able to once again become a significantly larger chunk of the economy than today as the fundamental capacity to re-leverage to similar extremes is no longer available.

There is a huge difference between an organically driven secular bull market in stocks supported by underlying economic strength as opposed to an asset price inflation derived from direct liquidity injections. The former is sustainable, the latter is only sustainable as long as the ability to continue to “juice” the markets remain.

The last point is key. Central Bank interventions are finite. There is a limit to the number of bonds that can be swapped for cash before the credit market seizes entirely. There is also a limit to the ability of the world to operate within the context of a negative interest rate environment.

While stock prices can certainly be driven higher through more global Central Bank interventions, the inability for the economic variables to “replay the tape” of the 80’s and 90’s increases the potential of a rather nasty mean reversion in the future. However, it is precisely such a reversion that will create the “set up” necessary to start the next great secular bull market.

But as was seen at the bottom of the markets in 1942 and 1974, there were few individual investors left to enjoy the beginning of that ride. In the meantime, stop blaming “baby boomers” for not retiring — they simply can’t afford to.

New study finds millennials are starting more small businesses than baby boomers – WAAY

Millennials sometimes get a bad rap for being young and lazy, however, a new study says that is far from the truth. 

Researchers for Nationwide show that Millennials are starting up twice as many small businesses than baby boomers. 

“I want it really bad,” Kayla Adams, who’s starting a fashion boutique in Downtown Huntsville tells WAAY 31. “Its my money it’s my investment an I want this to succeed.”

The study finds that the younger generation is more prepared to own their own business, and have more resources available. 

“They know how to work smarter,” Jason Greene, the Dean of the College of Business at UAH said. 

Greene says what this generation really understands is how to connect with people. 

“This generation is savvy about how to use social media,” Greene said. 

A resource Adams is already taking advantage of before her store, Elitaire Boutique, opens this fall. 

“We have access to hundreds of thousands of people on social media and that is instant marketing,” she explained. 

Researchers also found Millennials are doing better because they are protecting their businesses from natural disasters, and cyber attacks.

Taxes: 5 Facts Every Baby Boomer Should Know – Motley Fool

Getty Tax Folder
Image source: Getty Images

Baby Boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964, currently aged between about 52 and 70. They’re approaching retirement or have already entered it, and there are a bunch of tax-related things they would do well to know, as some could save them a lot of money. Read on, for five tax facts every Baby Boomer should know.

Getty Tax Cut Chopping Block

Image source: Getty Images.

It’s not too late to save big with retirement saving plans

If you’re already in retirement, this tip will help you less than those Boomers still working. Imagine you’re a young 52-year-old, though, still working and saving for retirement. If you’re not saving in a Roth IRA (or a Roth 401(k) at work, if one is available to you), you’re probably paying Uncle Sam more than you need to. Roth accounts accept post-tax money and let you withdraw funds tax-free in retirement. If you’re planning to retire at 62 or 67, then you have 10 or 15 more years of saving and investing ahead of you. If you can make the maximum annual contribution (currently $6,500 for those 50 or older and $5,500 for younger folks) each year and it grows by 8% annually, you’ll end up with $101,700 after 10 years and $190,600 after 15 years. Those are hefty sums, and you may be able to avoid paying any taxes on them!

Getty Baby Boomer

Image source: Getty Images

There are some financial benefits to getting older

For starters, as mentioned above, you can contribute an extra $1,000 per year to your IRA if you’re 50 or older. With 401(k) accounts, you can contribute an extra $6,000! (That’s the catch-up contribution allowed for 2016, on top of the regular maximum of $18,000 for most folks, giving older workers a hefty cap of $24,000.) Meanwhile, those 65 or older get a bigger standard deduction for their taxes. For 2016, a single filer has a $6,300 standard deduction up to age 64 and a $7,850 one beginning at age 65. This can cut your taxes. Medical deductions are also easier to take for those who are 65 or older (and their spouses) — for 2016. Most people can only deduct the value of qualifying medical expenses that exceeds 10% of their adjusted gross income, but in 2016, older taxpayers can deduct whatever exceeds 7.5%.

Prepare for RMDs

You might not realize it, but most tax-advantaged retirement accounts (such as traditional IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, SEP IRAs, and most 401(k)s — including Roth 401(k)s) feature “required

minimum distributions” (RMDs). (Roth IRAs are RMD-free.) You can generally begin tapping any of these retirement accounts beginning at age 59 1/2, but once you turn 70 1/2, you must be making withdrawals of a certain minimum size. There are online calculators that can help you estimate how much you’ll need to withdraw. The one from the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA), for example, spits out an RMD of about $7,800 for a 72-year-old with a balance of $200,000 in the account. It’s not uncommon for your IRA custodian (such as a brokerage), to do the math for you and you can often set things up so that checks of the correct size are automatically sent to you. Still, stay on top of the matter yourself, because the administrator might end up randomly selecting some stocks to sell from your account to generate the needed funds and you might prefer to decide which shares are sold. The amount you must withdraw is tied to an IRS formula based on life expectancy, and the penalties for noncompliance are steep. If you forget to take an RMD, or don’t withdraw the full amount, the IRS will seek 50% of the amount you didn’t withdraw.

Avoid taking retirement-account money too early

In most cases, if you take money out of your IRA or 401(k) before you hit age 59 1/2, you’ll likely regret it. That would be considered an early withdrawal, meaning that you’d be taxed on the withdrawal and you’d also face a 10% penalty charge. Double-check the rules of any account you’re planning on drawing money from and know that there are some exceptions to this rule, such as if you’re disabled and withdrawing early.

Social Security Benefits Money

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Know that your Social Security benefits may be taxed

It’s easy to assume that your Social Security benefits are free from Uncle Sam’s grasp, but that’s not the case. In certain circumstances, they may be taxed. Here are the current rules:

  • If your “combined income” (which includes your adjusted gross income, your tax-exempt interest, and half your Social Security benefits) is less than $25,000 for a single filer or $32,000 for a married-filing-jointly filer, your benefits won’t be taxed.
  • If that income is between $25,000 and $34,000 for single filers or between $32,000 and $44,000 for joint filers, then you may be taxed on up to 50% of your benefits.
  • If your combined income tops $34,000 for single filers or $44,000 for joint filers, then you may be taxed on up to 85% of your benefits.

Getting old isn’t always fun, but there are a few financial upsides to it. The more you learn about taxes and tax strategies, the more you’ll likely save.

Study finds more Baby Boomers supporting their adult children – Starts at 60

After your children left the nest, no denying you missed them.

But if you’re still supporting your adult children, it turns out you’re not alone.

A new report by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services has revealed many Baby Boomers are still providing financial support to their adult children.

“They acknowledge it is tough for young people to get started these days with a highly competitive job market and unaffordable house prices,” the report said.

“However, the burden of this financial dependence is taking a toll on some young boomers. In a time when they should be winding down their working lives and enjoying their increased disposal income, some feel they are working harder than ever to support children.

“In a time when they should be winding down their working lives and enjoying their increased disposal income, some feel they are working harder than ever to support children.”

One of those Baby Boomers, Angelo Andrew,  shared his story with the Sydney Morning Herald.

Three of his four children aged between 19 and 25 are living at home still.

The 52-year-old said he was preparing himself for their future.

“Although my children are quite independent, they are happy to stay at home because it is a lot cheaper than moving out and finding their own accommodation, whether that’s renting or buying,” he said.

“And we are happy to have them at home. For how long? We’re not sure. They are going ahead in their careers and extending their education.

“If they don’t have some kind of support from their parents, I am afraid they won’t be able to afford for many years to achieve what we’ve achieved in the earlier years of our lives because the housing market and the cost of living is overtaking incomes.”

There’s more to the statistics.

A research report by the NSW Ageing Strategy also found that most workers aged 50 to 60 would need to work well beyond the age of 60 to be financially stable in their retirement.

Do you still support adult children? Why do you think more Baby Boomers are supporting adult children?

Chattanooga church launching class to help Baby Boomers with Medicare, Social Security and handling holiday stress – Chattanooga Times Free Press

If you go

› What: Boomers, Shakers and Beyond

› Where: Christ United Methodist Church, 8645 East Brainerd Road

› When: 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4

› Program: The Rev. Charles W. Maynard, “Appalachian Quilt of Stories – Telling Your Own Story”

› Admission: Free

› To register: Go to www.christchurchchatt.org; click “Get Connected,” then click on “Adult,” then “Small Groups.”

› Information: 423-892-9363 or the “Boomers, Shakers and Beyond” Facebook page.

More Info

Programs

› Tuesday, Oct. 4, 1:30 p.m.: The Rev. Charles W. Maynard, author and storyteller, who has written or co-authored 30 books.

› Monday, Oct. 24, 3 p.m.: Amy Boulware, licensed advanced practice master’s degree in social work on Medicare and Medicare supplemental insurance.

› Thursday, Nov. 17, time to be announced: Arnoldo Moore, Public Affairs Specialist for the Social Security Administration.

› Thursday, Dec. 1, time to be announced: Pam Johnson, licensed clinical social worker, and clinical psychologist Amy Perkins speak on handling holiday stress

 

At a time when many churches are reaching out to millennials and focusing on children’s ministries to keep young families in the fold, one local church is launching a program geared to baby boomers.

Early in October, Christ United Methodist Church is cranking up “Boomers, Shakers and Beyond” with four speakers who will offer information about Medicare, Social Security and handling holiday stress. It’s open to anyone age 50 or older.

“I have listened to my friends in other churches and seen churches putting an emphasis on youth programs and not as much on people my age or people my parents’ ages,” says Carolyn Thompson, a Christ UMC member who is coordinating “Boomers.”

“Chattanooga is advertised as a retirement community, but what is really out there for retirees?” asks Thompson, who retired from TVA two years ago. “I feel like God is saying there is something you can do. I’m not ready to sit down yet. I’m really enjoying life.”

While the church is providing a place for the new group to meet, Thompson has no funding. Yet she and her committee of five have managed to line up volunteer speakers.

“The program is designed for learning new things, enhancing old skills, exchanging thoughts on numerous topics, meeting new people, participating in community service projects and, in general, having a great time,” describes Mary Ann Bryant, a committee member.

Thompson says older seniors “want socialization,” a network of friends they can connect with, while younger boomers are facing decisions about Social Security, when to retire, Medicare, and keeping active in retirement. So she has incorporated both viewpoints into coming months’ programs.

“Boomers, Shakers and Beyond” will kick off with a program by author and storyteller Charles W. Maynard. The Rev. Maynard, a former Chattanoogan and United Methodist minister, has written or co-authored 30 books, with 21 of those children’s books. He received the Reed Environmental Writing Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center for “The Blue Ridge — Ancient and Majestic.”

He was the first executive director of the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and was director of advancement at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tenn.

“Boomers, Shakers and Beyond” is nondenominational, Thompson adds, and she is already partnering with other churches for group activities. Brainerd Baptist Church has invited the new group to join its Nifty Fifty senior adults on three upcoming day trips, she says.

“Our purpose is to serve the community, not to draw new members to Christ United Methodist,” Thompson says. “We want to provide socialization for older seniors, information to younger seniors who haven’t retired yet and, with input from participants, we want to plan community service projects.”

Thompson says there also a survey on the “Boomers, Shakers and Beyond” Facebook page that will provide valuable feedback to organizers for upcoming topics and speakers, she says.

Contact Susan Pierce at [email protected] or 423-757-6284.