Being born between 1946 and 1964 automatically includes you as a member of an elite group known as the baby boom generation. Almost 77,000,000 people are included in the baby boom generation comprising roughly 27% of the U.S. population.
According to a 2005 Mature Market Survey of MetLife, 32 million baby boomers are at least 50 years old with the anticipated life expectancy for men of 87.4 years and 90.3 years for women. That puts us almost smack in the middle of our lives – looking toward our next fifty years.
There are several important issues baby boomers will be (or are) facing including:
1) Planning for retirement:
If your wage has been caught up and used up while raising a family and paying the mortgage you had better pay attention. Do you have an investment account or 401(k) through your employer? Are you self employed? Have you contributed to a pension fund and/or social security? Get your financial house in order with particular emphasis on the future. Consider several scenarios such as a) working until age 55, b) working until age 62 (early social security benefits), or c) working longer if physically able. The future of social security is constantly scrutinized and the baby boomer may be affected by any changes brought about through current and future administrations.
As baby boomers many of us have an advantage in that we were raised by parents who either lived through or were exposed to the depression years. They taught us the value of a dollar, working hard, and saving for the future. Hopefully some of us acted on their words of wisdom.
2) Life insurance:
Although we all would hope to achieve at least the statistical average there is no guarantee we will live to enjoy our 80s – or even our 60s. Those of us with children should be even more cognizant of the need to provide life insurance. My husband died of colon cancer at the age of 52 leaving two young children. Without life insurance we would have no home and our children’s future would be quite different than it is today. As I said, there are no guarantees.
3) Empty Nest:
Baby boomers with children might experience the empty nest syndrome on a different level than others. We have been brought up to understand and appreciate the importance of the familial which was instilled in our character from childhood. Family is a high priority to baby boomers as it was to our parents. We may remember the family sitting around the supper table every evening and more often than not that supper table is also an important part of the boomer home. When our children leave home for college, marriage, or the service it will, no doubt, be difficult for a period of time while you adjust to your empty nest.
Now what? The next fifty years is for you. Now is when the coast begins to clear toward the hopes and dreams that were so much a part of your life during the first fifty years. What did you dream about in your 20s? 30s? 40s? Let your dreams take shape and act on them.