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Why Gen Z will be hit the hardest by the financial fallout from coronavirus

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London (CNN Business)

Will Murrell had hoped to pass his further education exams this summer, at a college in London. He was hunting for a job, in a retail outlet or supermarket, to earn some extra money alongside his studies.

Then Covid-19 struck. Now the 17-year-old is stuck at home with his parents. His exams have been canceled and all his plans are on hold.

“I’ve been looking for jobs and now we’re in lockdown, so I can’t,” Murrell told CNN. “It seems like an unnecessary risk.”

Murrell is part of Generation Z, those born after 1997, as defined by the Pew Research Center. The group’s eldest members are now graduating into a labor market that’s been devastated by the global pandemic.

As a disease, coronavirus disproportionately preys on the elderly. But Generation Z, at least in the short term, is set to bear the brunt of the ensuing financial chaos.

Workers of this cohort are more likely than older generations to work in industries shut down by social distancing restrictions, according to the Pew Research Center and the Resolution Foundation.

Generation Z’s future prospects also look gloomy; the Resolution Foundation’s analysis suggests that layoffs linked to the pandemic could affect young people’s pay and job prospects in the long-term.

The world is still in the early stages of the most severe economic crisis since the 1930s, with lockdown measures, social distancing and lost production triggering a global recession. In the United Kingdom, the economy could shrink by 14% this year and unemployment is expected to hit 9%.

The impact of unemployment in a recession is particularly severe on those who have just left school. Fewer jobs and internships are available to younger people searching for work, especially in sectors such as hospitality, travel and retail, which provide large numbers of entry level roles and have been slammed especially hard by the effects of the pandemic and efforts to contain it.

In the UK, the unemployment rate for 18-24 year-olds is projected to hit a staggering 27% this year, up from 10.5% in 2019, according to analysis from the Resolution Foundation.

This means an extra 640,000 people in the age group are likely to be out of work.

“The unique nature of the current crisis has damaged the first rung on the employment ladder for a substantial proportion of education leavers — and it is so far unclear when, and to what extent, these sectors will recover,” the report notes.

Young bear brunt of crisis
The crisis could leave lasting scars. Thanks to the spike in UK unemployment, today’s graduates are 13% less likely to be employed in three years’ time compared to a scenario without the pandemic.

Those with mid-level qualifications are 27% less likely to be employed in three years, while the figure rises to 37% for “lower-skilled” adults leaving education today, according to the report’s projections.

It’s a similar story in the United States, where workers under 24 were disproportionately affected by initial layoffs related to coronavirus, according to Richard Fry, senior researcher at the Pew Center.

The shutdown triggered a surge in unemployment in the US, with the county’s economy losing 20.5 million jobs in April, the largest decline since the government began tracking the data in 1939.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates in April rose sharply among all major worker groups. The unemployment rate for teenagers aged 16-19 was the highest of all the groups, at 31.9%.

The unemployment rate for adult men in April was 13%, while the same figure for adult women was 15.5%.

“Initially, at least, layoffs were concentrated in a certain set of industries, which hit the 16-24 age group hard,” Fry told CNN. “That initial unemployment was very much concentrated on … Gen Z. [They] got hit badly.”

Those currently most at risk of layoffs work in retail, in restaurants, hotels and child care -— sectors most affected by social-distancing restrictions. Overall, younger workers make up 24% of those employed in industries at high risk of being shut down in the pandemic, according to the Pew Research Center.

Despite the early data, Fry said Generation Z has some reason to be optimistic. He said the younger group has time to recover from the virus’ impact, especially when compared to the Millennial generation.

“When it comes to wealth-building, one is … able to better deal with a crisis if you … have more years to adjust,” Fry said.

While Fry is cautiously optimistic about Generation Z’s prospects, research from the Resolution Foundation suggests that those who leave education during recessions suffer from lower unemployment rates and depressed pay for years after the event.

“For several years after having left education, employment rates across the cohorts that left education during the [2008] financial crisis were lower than for those who left education after it — with non-graduates experiencing the largest and longest scarring effects,” the organization’s report notes.

Fry added that early anecdotal data showed young adults were drawing on family resources to survive the downturn, often by continuing to live with their parents or by moving back to the family home.

“During the [2008] recession, Millennials dealt with [the crash] by moving in with Mom and Dad,” he said. “We may be seeing Gen Z do the same here. And that’s not a path that’s as open to older Millennials now. They may have families of their own and aren’t able to access those resources. But I don’t think we know the long-term impact of this yet. We just don’t know how long and deep this downturn is going to be.”

Second setback for Millennials
While the immediate crisis has disrupted Generation Z’s education and job prospects, it is the latest in a series of blows for Millennials. The group, which consists of people born between 1981 and 1996, has been shaped by the 2008 global financial crisis and the slow economic recovery that followed.

In 2014, male millennial household heads in the US were found to be earning 10% less than their equivalents in the baby boomer generation in 1978, according to a study by the US Federal Reserve Board. Millennial women were slightly better off than their boomer counterparts, but still earning 3% less than their Generation X equivalents in 1998.

The Pew Research Center defines members of Generation X as those currently aged between 39 and 54, while the baby boomers are aged 55 to 73

“[The Millennial generation] is a particularly aggrieved cohort of young adults,” Reid Cramer, non-resident fellow at the New America Foundation, told CNN. “Already their prime work and family forming years were significantly undermined by coming of age in the great recession.”

“They have lower savings. They have a lower trajectory for [building] long-term wealth. And many are not living in individual households — instead they’re in communal arrangements or still with their parents.”

Millennials also have less of a savings buffer to see them through the coming disruption. Between 2014 and 2016, 52% of British people aged 22-29 had no money set aside in a saving accounts, according to the Office for National Statistics.

In the US, 27% of the age group have no savings, according to a Bank of America report released in January. Despite this, nearly a quarter of those aged 24-41 who did save had more than $100,000 in savings.

Unlike Generation Z, Millennials did not graduate amid what may be the worst global recession since the 1930s. But that’s all likely to be cold comfort for a group that, in the United States, is on track to be the first generation not to accumulate more wealth than their parents.

Searching for solutions
Cramer believes that young people need greater help from government to recover from the financial impact of Covid-19. He argues that public policy should be used to address “the overhang of student debt” hindering millennials in the US.

A similar sentiment is growing in the UK, with regards to housing policy. Home ownership rates among the young have dropped, with Britons in their 30s and 40s three times more likely to be renting today than 20 years ago.

“Millennials are enormously, enormously disadvantaged when it comes to housing,” said Jim O’Neill, chair of the Chatham House think tank and a member of Britain’s House of Lords. “I hope there’s more [government] focus in the future on providing social […] and affordable housing.”

Cramer told CNN the recession following 2008 had affected Millennials in another way — the group is reaching the traditional markers of adulthood at later dates, or not at all.

“In America Millennials have a significantly lower home ownership rate but that only captures some of the challenges,” he said. “Fewer are of them are getting married [and] having children. These were traditional elements of the aspirational American Dream.”

That dream was perhaps best captured by the baby boomers, who remain the richest generation in both the US and UK. This doesn’t look likely to change soon, with Millennials enduring reduced social and economic progress and Generation Z now facing a similar fate.

Lenders’ NPL ratio rises to 8.1%

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NCB: Lenders’ NPL ratio rises to 8.1%

Gen X took on largest proportion of debt

The National Credit Bureau’s 104 members saw an upsurge in non-performing loan (NPL) ratio to 8.1% at the end of March from 6.8% a year earlier as headwinds such as the coronavirus outbreak took hold, says the NCB.

Bad loans for mortgages, auto and personal loans and credit cards in the bureau’s database amounted to 636 billion baht at the end of March, of which Gen X had the biggest slice at 280 billion baht, followed by Gen Y at 270 billion baht, baby boomers at 84 billion baht, and Gen Z and the silent generation at 1.2 billion each, according to NCB data.

Loans outstanding for home, auto and personal loans and credit cards at the end of March amounted to 8.96 trillion baht, of which 4 trillion baht was taken out by Gen Y, 3.7 trillion baht by Gen X, 1.2 trillion baht by baby boomers, 31 billion baht by the silent generation and 25 billion baht by Gen Z.

The silent generation is the oldest cohort at 73 years and up, followed by baby boomers (54-72), Gen X (38-53), Gen Y (21-37) and Gen Z (8-20).

In a broader view, consumer loans extended by NCB members rose 3.5% from the previous year to 11.7 trillion baht at the end of March. Housing loans made up 4.02 trillion baht, auto loans 2.43 trillion baht, personal loans 2.13 trillion baht, others 2.08 trillion baht, overdraft loans 598 billion baht and credit cards the rest.

Overdraft loans fell 1.4% year-on-year, while others rose 6.2%, credit card debt increased 4.5%, housing loans added 3.7%, and auto and personal loan were up 2.8 and 2.6%, respectively.

The 104 NCB members consist of banks, non-bank financial companies, picofinance and nanofinance operators and cooperatives, among others.

NCB chief executive Surapol Opasatien said Gen Xers, particularly those aged 38-40, were the major contributor to household debt and NPLs as of the end of March.

According to the age breakdown, individuals aged 38 borrowed personal loans the most for the January-to-March quarter, age 30 had the highest auto loans and age 40 had the biggest housing and credit card debt.

“The largest debt burden was concentrated in borrowers aged 38-40, reflecting a midlife financial crisis,” Mr Surapol said. “Some of them must be indebted until 60 or above. This raises concern about their savings and living quality after retirement.”

In Thailand, most Gen Z borrowers are around 20 years old and are online vendors, he said. They managed to tap into data-analytics-based digital loans, given their cash flows in deposit accounts. Their credit line averages 30,000-50,000 baht.

During January to April, the NCB’s members had loan applications totalling 5.8 million, averaging 1.45 million applications per month, down from the monthly average of 1.5 million in 2019.

The lower number of loan applications could be attributed to an adjusted loan application process of creditors, Mr Surapol said, adding that most lenders are requiring NCB credit records from applicants before allowing them to apply for loans.

On This Day: Woodstock’s Soundtrack Was the Festival’s Elegy

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It seems impossible now to look at Woodstock as anything other than a potential COVID-19 hotspot.

The legendary festival–which housed over 400,000 attendees and offered some of the most legendary performances by the world’s most iconic musicians– was honored with the release of its companion album on this day in 1970. The album quickly became a coveted piece of pop culture memorabilia and was certified gold in its first two weeks. While the collection was re-released in 1994 without stage announcements and crowd noises, the original in all its uncut glory offered a nostalgic thrill ride for thousands of Americans for years to come, but it was ultimately the last good event to emerge from the mindset of Baby Boomers.

The festival was far from perfect. Technically, it was a disaster. Woodstock perpetuated an entitled baby boomer narrative that would inevitably lead to the barbarous failure of Woodstock ’99 and the embarrassing, long-winded cancellation of last year’s Woodstock 50. What with the disgusting weather, mass food shortages, the self-proclaimed “Peace Fence” that was torn down by a mass riot, the fact nothing went wrong was merely an act of God. “We swarmed a previously unspoiled dairy farm and its surroundings,” wrote The New York Times. “We absolutely thought we were the center of the universe. And afterward, someone else had to clean up the giant mess we left behind.”

But that one-sided mentality is precisely why the festival could never exist ever again. The mentality of Baby Boomers has forever demonized them and associated them with greed and selfishness. In hindsight, Woodstock remains such a vivid analogy for global warming. The barren wasteland of kicked up mud and filth that surrounded everyone, the lack of proper food and water–to recreate a moment where those two things translate into a good time is all but impossible now in a post-COVID society.



Crosby, Stills & Nash (Live) – Suite: Judy Blue Eyes

www.youtube.com

But the soundtrack offered a snippet of something secular. Yes, personal hygiene was neglected to a shocking extent, but it was all about the music. You hear Steven Stills of the newly formed Crosby, Stills & Nash tell the crowd that this was only the second time they’ve performed in front of people and that they’re “scared sh*tless,” to which the crowd offered a roaring bout of reassurance. Sleepless, dirty, and hungry people remained in a meditative trance for Woodstock’s entirety, the experience had moments of unbelievable magic.

But in an era of fatal diseases and mass shootings–all thanks to the same generation that huddled in filth to watch Jimi Hendrix revamp “The Star-Spangled Banner–” that level of freedom remains elusive now. Woodstock’s unrealistic expectations are precisely why the ideals behind the festival remain forever dated, pretentious, and escapist.

“In the expansionary 1960s, it felt as if there could be enough for everyone,” wrote The New York Times. “Woodstock festivalgoers weren’t reflexively selfish; there was goofy solidarity.” But the 1960s also thrived on naivete. The patriotic idea that anything was attainable with enough hard work and perseverance sounds satirical now. At least the soundtrack can remind those who were there of a time where people sat in the mud, enjoyed the company of strangers, and remained unaware of the growing dangers that lurked around every corner. That level of ignorance sounds ideal right about now.


Want to READ MORE?

Why Woodstock Couldn’t Work Today

Woodstock 50 Has (Thankfully) Been Canceled

Woodstock Returns–Hopefully Safer Than Last Time

How Will Baby Boomers Headstones and Obituaries Read?

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I believe that the two most over looked Natural Resources within the U.S. are the groups just coming into the world and the ones about to leave. Now, I know that most Baby Boomers do not want to hear that they will soon be leaving, but it is true. Have you ever calculated how much more time you have between now and the time of your death? (DOD)

Not a question that a lot of people want answers too! Just for fun make a guess… Need help?

For your gender I believe that standard for women is 87 and for men it is 74. So if you are 61years of age now, add in the remaining years and that will give you a ballpark figure as to your DOD. It could be better if you draw a Timeline. Take a sheet of paper and draw a horizontal line across the page, from end to end. On the right side write your Date of Birth (DOB), and on your left side write your Date of Death (DOD). About three quarters across, on the right side make a vertical line and write in today date. Now this should help clarify your thinking about the how much time you have left. Is that 20, 30, 40 years that you have left?? 13 – 26 years respectively

You can cheer-up, because you knew that your name would come up in the Obituaries anyways.

Have you given any thought to what will be placed on your Headstone.

I am sure Glad that this Is Over!I Hope that this was Only A Test! Was this a Bad Joke, or What!Well She Can’t Follow-Me Here! What was That All About??So what’s next, Trial By Fire!?

President Ronald Reagan had a saying

“Remember me as you pass by, for as you are so once was I, an as I am you soon you will be, so be contain to follow me” … And he said it seems that someone else wrote a reply

“To follow you I am contain, just wish I knew which way you went”

About this time you should be asking yourself “What is the Point”. My point is that you Baby Boomers are a Great American Resource and it would be ashamed if we lost all of your Knowledge, Skill, Abilities and Wisdom. Baby Boomers are still a highly profitable commodity that is being over looked. Perhaps the most significant decision that you can make is just how can I help shape and develop the next generation that is coming along? Just think that the children of today will be your major support of tomorrow.

Where American stands in the world, in a hundred years, will be questionable. There is no insurance that America will still be number one in the world by 2108. Now is the time that you need to pass on that which you have learned. We often times speak of a generation gap and well there maybe.

There are generations that is going through American society without a clue of just what impact they are having on the future, or of what impact the future is having upon them. There are a number of areas that points out these very facts. If you Google “Problems with America” you will find none more striking then the graduation rate of the nation. At the time of the Baby Boomers the graduation rate was much higher than it is today, if for no other reason the parents saying that you will stay in school and you will graduate. By an large, these were parents that set the rules and had limited to what was acceptable and what was not. Children between the ages of 13 and 20 may be a “Lost Liter” and something that we will never recover from Yahoo and Myspace. As you may well know that there are a number of agency out there that are trying to deal with these situations. Young person in this group are well on there way to becoming the person that they see within their minds.

The group that possibly wholes the greatest potential for the future is the group between the ages of 6 through 12. This group would be children in 1st through 6th Grade. Is there someway that you could intervene and help the young before they become programed not to achieve or to reach their highest potential? Can you think of any child that does not want to go to school. This is barring the first day of 1st Grade. These are normally the persons that thirst for knowledge. If a connection could be made between what they are learning in grade school and how to use this knowledge, in the real world, they would well be ahead of the learning curve. Some will say that parents and teachers are there to full this role, but we know that may not be the truth. Just what age were you when you thought about your future? And what was possible to achieve. When was it that you saw what you were learning had a real connection, to the world, and just to test??

What if you could become their Coach… Think about what a Coach does?… Takes abilities and links it to performance… Coach (fill in your name), can you imagine yourself as being a coach?… Just imagine the inroads you could make to the future. It would be a good handle to have at time of DOD.. The Coach to the Future

Thank you for your time…

Retirement villages have had their day: Baby boomers are rethinking retirement

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Retirement villages — walled, gated and separate seniors’ enclaves — have had their day.

The word “retirement” is redundant and engagement between people of all ages is high. That’s how participants in the Longevity By Design Challenge envisage life in Australia in 2050.

Their challenge was to identify ways to prepare and adapt Australian cities to capitalise on older Australians living longer, healthier and more productive lives. Their vision, outlined in this article, offers a positive contrast to much of the commentary on “ageing Australia”.

We have been repeatedly warned about a looming “crisis” when by 2050 one in four Australians will be 65 or older. They have been portrayed as dependent non-contributors, unable to take care of themselves.

This scenario of doom is based on underlying assumptions that everyone over 65 wants to, can or should stop any kind of productive contribution to Australia.

What if these assumptions are wrong?

The longevity bonus

Australians’ average life expectancy is well into our 80s. That represents a 30-year longevity “bonus” since the Age Pension was introduced in 1909 when average life expectancy was 55.

A graph showing the rise in life expectancy with women living longer than men
Increases in the average life expectancy of Australian men and women since 1890.(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

Now, older people are healthier, working for longer — whether paid, volunteering, flexible, part-time, full-time or launching start-ups — or are in learning programs. By 2030 all of the baby boomers will have turned 65. At this time Generation X will start their contribution to the expanding older cohort.

Australian society will be better positioned to navigate this future if we make the most of the significant opportunities baby boomers present. They are living much longer, want to remain productive and engaged throughout their adult lives, and have a valuable cache of knowledge and skills.

One way to support economic and social participation is to reconsider the factors — physical, regulatory and financial — that determine how our buildings, suburbs and streets are organised.

Conventional urban development models rely on short-term development finance. It delivers suburban cities of individual houses with a need for private transportation. For many households (not just seniors) distance and lack of mobility are barriers to participation, resulting in isolation and loneliness.

Making the most of life after 65

The Longevity by Design Challenge brought new perspectives to preparing and adapting Australian cities to capitalise on the “longevity” phenomenon over coming decades. The challenge asked:

How do we best leverage the extra 30 years of life and unleash the social and economic potential of people 65+ to contribute to Australia’s prosperity?

In February, 121 professionals (of all ages) from 60 built environment design and senior living organisations, along with several older people, took part in the challenge. They explored how baby boomers will change the landscape of living, learning, working and playing. Sixteen cross-disciplinary creative teams considered what longevity could look like in this new environment in which buildings and neighbourhoods are remade.

Good design begins with people. Together the participants concluded that designing for older people is actually “inclusive design”. Everyone wants the same things for a good life: autonomy and choice, purpose, family and friends, good health and financial security.

Teams were presented with one of three locations representing typical middle and outer suburbs. They were challenged to transform buildings and neighbourhoods to make the most of longevity opportunities.

The teams used principles of social and physical connectedness with the aim of increasing choices and improving circumstances for people at all stages of life. Key design priorities were “mix” — of places, uses, people and generations — and “heart”, which placed people at the centre of the narrative.

Suggested approaches included:

  • building walkable neighbourhoods that reduce distances between homes and services
  • converting typical house blocks to “super blocks” where multiple generations can live
  • adopting finance development models using long-term capital, rather than short-term debt, for greater financial and community returns.

Neighbourhoods could be retrofitted over 30 years. This would require changes to local government planning codes and innovations by the finance sector.

Other teams designed interconnected environments using links between natural, built and technological assets. They designed spaces to enable people over 65 to continue to make creative and productive contributions.

By creating inclusive infrastructure, such as closely connected living and learning “micro-neighbourhoods”, people of all ages remain the “heart” of the economic, social and cultural life of communities. A mobility “ecosystem”, including automated buses and electric ride sharing, could connect specialist knowledge and skill centres to local hubs.

legs of young people walking up stairs, youth generic
Walkable neighbourhoods make life easier for everyone.(ABC News: Stephanie Anderson)

Making inclusive neighbourhoods happen

While autonomous vehicle technology might provide more equal access to mobility and transportation, the designers warned that transforming conventional settings of houses and cars to walkable neighbourhoods and autonomous vehicles will be gradual. It depends on two things:

  1. 1.urban planning that ensures everyone has good access to safer transport alternatives rather than traffic-centric layouts
  2. 2.long-term equity financed by “future-focused” lenders.

In this model, lenders are less focused on short-term returns. Instead, they have a greater focus on quality design as a catalyst for more development. In a virtuous circle, attractive development that places people close to community activities and businesses generates greater “footfall”. That in turn creates more business opportunities that make financially viable communities.

The Longevity by Design Challenge identified a range of opportunities to create a vibrant “longevity” economy by including people of all ages. Small, incremental and affordable changes towards resilient and age-friendly communities can transform perceived burdens into real assets.

Planning communities to embrace, not exclude, people over 65 has all kinds of benefits for Australia.

Rosemary Jean Kennedy is Adjunct Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Queensland University of Technology and Laurie Buys is a professor and Director of Healthy Ageing Initiative at The University of Queensland. This article originally appeared on The Conversation.

Covid-19: A defining moment for baby boomers, Singapore News & Top Stories

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I am of the lucky baby boomer cohort born after World War II and before the mid-1960s. It is a generation that has never experienced a world war and grew up during the longest sustained period of prosperity the world has ever known.

Except for brief periods of regional conflict such as the Korean and Vietnam wars, and the financial turmoil in 1997 and 2008, baby boomers of the Asia-Pacific have for the most part led a charmed life of peace, abundance and hope, or at least I thought.

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Entrepreneurs, It’s A Perfect Storm. The Seven Benefits Of Buying An Existing Business From A Retiring Baby Boomer

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I researched and wrote this article about six months ago but never published it. Now, with the Covid-19 situation, even more baby boomers will be selling their existing businesses and retire. Why should you care? Because this could be a perfect storm opportunity for those people who want to be entrepreneurs/owners but don’t really know how to start a business or want the risk. The risk-to-reward ratio is tipped in your favor when you purchase an existing business. Starting a business of your own can pay great dividends, but it’s important to understand that the risks are significant. According to Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth Revisited, 40 percent of new businesses fail in the first year, and 80 percent fail within five years. You might want to reduce your risk and leverage the small business shift being caused by the aging baby boomer population.

There is a trending tsunami of aging business owners getting out of their businesses right now. It’s no secret that the population of the United States is aging and demographics are shifting as 72 million baby boomers are approaching retirement. By some accounts, there are almost 28 million small business owners in the U.S., and many are owned by baby boomers who will soon be retiring. The challenge for these owners is what to do with their businesses.

Ideally, Gen Xers and Millennials should be lining up to purchase these companies, or legions of sons, daughters, nieces or nephews should be standing by, ready to take over and keep the family tradition going. But that isn’t the reality and the scarcity of potential new owners is a big problem. It’s also a problem for American communities, which depend on their small business owners to provide jobs and create locally-rooted wealth. This could be the perfect opportunity for an entrepreneur-minded person to buy and grow an existing business.

Purchasing an existing business may reduce an entrepreneur’s risk while creating opportunities for tremendous profit. There are a number of benefits to consider in purchasing an existing business rather that starting one:

Proven business model. Buying an established business is less risky. As a buyer you already know the product or service works. Financing a purchase is often easier than securing funding for a start-up business for that very reason. The business has customers, revenue and profits.

Existing brand. When you buy a company, you’re also buying a brand name. The on-going benefits of any marketing the prior owner has done will transfer to you. When you have an established name in the business community, it’s easier to attract new business than with an unproven start up.

Existing relationships. With the purchase of an existing business, you will also be buying an existing customer base and vendor base that took years to build. It’s very common for the seller to stay on and transition with the business for a short period of time to transfer those relationships to the buyer.

Narrow focus. When you buy a business, you can start focusing on improving and growing the business immediately. The previous owner has already laid the foundation and taken care of the time-consuming, tedious start-up work. Your focus can be on growing the business with new products and services or even just better marketing.

Experienced people. In an acquisition, one of the most valuable and important assets you are buying is the people. With the right team in place, just about anything is possible, and you will have an easier time implementing growth strategies. Make sure when you evaluate a business to meet and assess the key employees.

Revenue and cash flow. Typically, a sale is structured so you can cover the money you owe the previous owner, take a reasonable salary, and have some left over to take the business to the next level. Startup owners, on the other hand, often are “cash-starved” in the early days of a company. Some experts even say start-ups aren’t expected to make money for the first three years. Contrast that with a small business that is already making $3 million a year in revenue.

Reduction in risk. Even with all these advantages, some entrepreneurs believe it is cheaper, and therefore less risky, to start a business than to buy one. But risk is relative. A buyer may pay $1 million, for example, for an established business with strong cash flows of approximately $200,000 to $300,000 per year. A lending institution will fund that transaction because historical revenues shows the cash flow and profitability can support the purchase price.

The baby boomer business owners are retiring right now and for the next ten years. Investigate local small businesses in your city and see if it makes sense for you to acquire a company versus starting one.

Baby Boomers’ Addiction & Alcoholism May Take Down Medicare & Social Security Programs

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There is a relatively new group to be treated for addiction and alcoholism that is growing very quickly, and which is causing some in the field great concern: It is the retiring “baby-boomer” population.

There are several reasons that the “boomer” generation may potentially be home to many more addicts and alcoholics than the rest of the population. Some of these reasons are that the boomers were (1) the first generation to engage in wide-spread recreational use of a variety of addictive drugs (including cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamines); (2) the first generation for which a wide variety of prescription medications and painkillers were readily available; and (3) the last generation for which treatment and recovery were not culturally acceptable. For these and other reasons, some are calling it, ” America’s hidden epidemic”. [1]

According to some studies, it is expected that, by 2020, the number of seniors with alcohol and other drug problems will leap 150 percent to 4.4 million older people – up from only 1.7 million in 2001. [2]

Deborah Trunzo, research coordinator for the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), has said that, by 2020, the number of older people who will have drug problems, and be seeking treatment, will be “likely to swamp the system”.

It is the baby-boomer generation, or the “young old” – those born between 1946 and 1964 – that are at the heart of this possible epidemic. Unlike their predecessors, those in the baby-boom generation are more comfortable taking medications for a wide range of problems, including pain, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.

In addition, the baby boomers are the first generation to widely experiment with recreational drug use. Yet along with all of these “firsts”, they are also the last group born before it became somewhat permissible to admit to addiction or alcoholism, or to seek help or treatment.

One of the big concerns is that the boomers are much more vulnerable to late-life manifestation of alcoholism, addiction, and drug abuse.

In addition, in more recent years, this group has been prescribed with far more painkillers, as well as newer “designer drugs” including potentially addictive psychotropics.

A. Rush Limbaugh: The Poster-Child for Late-Onset Addiction

For example, in October 2003, at the age of 55, well-known political talk-show host, Rush Limbaugh, was charged with prescription drug fraud, and admitted to being addicted to painkillers – primarily oxycodone. With Mr. Limbaugh’s admission to his addiction, he became the poster child (or poster “senior”) of the new type of patient showing up in treatment centers, and emergency rooms. [3]

This “late onset” substance abuse is often linked to other medical problems, and the emotional traumas that can accompany old age, which arise from isolation, injuries and accidents, the death of friends and family, and the natural aging and dysfunction of the body.

As the boomers move into retirement, and leave the work force, they may find it more difficult to maintain their drug supply of choice: On the one hand, those who obtain drugs through legal means will have less medical coverage and less money to spend on prescription drugs. On the other hand, those who rely upon illegal drugs will no longer have as much money to pay for those drugs after retirement, and many will lose “access” to those drugs from their professional vocation (think of the dentist, nurse, or paramedic, for example, who has easy access during work). Retirement may simply mean a loss of supply, the attendant consequences of withdrawal, and the need for medical treatment.

A new legion of addicts is coming, and they require a far different approach to treatment, as well as a much higher level of medical intervention and support.

B. The Need for Greater and More Specialized Treatment

In general, older adults have different needs than younger adults; and, when it comes to the treatment of addiction and alcoholism in older adults, these differences are magnified.

Typically, younger adults are more resilient, and have abused themselves for a shorter period of time, and therefore, have a much better chance of living in recovery. On the other hand, senior citizens are much more likely to drop into a long decline toward death following any significant medical event (such as detoxification).

The aged are a very vulnerable group, and are noted to have the highest rate of suicide and other complications in relation to alcoholism. [4] Older adults are also showing an increase in seeking treatment for methamphetamine use. These are just some examples of the differences and trends which make the boomers such a widely diverse group, with different histories and backgrounds, giving the group the need for a wider variety of treatment plans and responses. [5]

Also, boomers are more likely to have dual diagnosis, with untreated long-standing co-morbid mental health problems, such as ADHD, anxiety disorder, and other personality disorders, that were simply not recognized by the medical community back in the day when the boomers were younger.

Finally, the aging abused human body in retirement will require more medical attention, more care-giving, more nursing homes, more medications, and more money, on average, than one who has led a relatively healthy life.

Macroeconomics: Medicare and Social Security Programs

The greater monetary and social costs associated with older adult treatment, recovery, and medical support could be substantial. If we significantly under-estimate the number of baby-boomers that are or will be addicts and alcoholics in their retirement years, we may have greatly misjudged the overall costs to our healthcare systems.

The Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees just this week released the 2008 Annual Report on the Status of the Social Security and Medicare Programs. [6]

The Summary Report begins as follows:

“A MESSAGE TO THE PUBLIC:

Each year the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds report on the current and projected financial status of the two programs. This message summarizes our 2008 Annual Reports.

“The financial condition of the Social Security and Medicare programs remains problematic. Projected long run program costs are not sustainable under current financing arrangements. Social Security’s current annual surpluses of tax income over expenditures will begin to decline in 2011 and then turn into rapidly growing deficits as the baby boom generation retires. Medicare’s financial status is even worse. This year Medicare’s Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund is expected to pay out more in hospital benefits and other expenditures than it receives in taxes and other dedicated revenues. The difference will be made up from general revenues which pay for interest credits to the Trust Fund. Growing annual deficits are projected to exhaust HI reserves in 2019 and Social Security reserves in 2041. In addition, the Medicare Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) Trust Fund that pays for physician services and the prescription drug benefit will continue to require general revenue financing and charges on beneficiaries that grow substantially faster than the economy and beneficiary incomes over time.

“The drawdown of Social Security and HI Trust Fund reserves and the general revenue transfers into SMI will result in mounting pressure on the Federal budget. In fact, pressure is already evident. For the second consecutive year, a “Medicare funding warning” is being triggered, signaling that non-dedicated sources of revenues-primarily general revenues-will soon account for more than 45 percent of Medicare’s outlays. The President recently proposed remedial action pursuant to the warning in last year’s report and, in accordance with Medicare statute, a Presidential proposal will be needed in response to the latest warning.

We are increasingly concerned about inaction on the financial challenges facing the Social Security and Medicare programs. The longer action is delayed, the greater will be the required adjustments, the larger the burden on future generations, and the more severe the detrimental economic impact on our nation.”

The actuarial assumptions underlying the Annual Report are based upon the intermediate range of projected costs. As also stated in the Summary Report:

“How Are Estimates of the Trust Funds’ Future Status Made? Short-range (10-year) and long-range (75-year) projections are reported for all funds. Estimates are based on current law and assumptions about factors that affect the income and outgo of each trust fund. Assumptions include economic growth, wage growth, inflation, unemployment, fertility, immigration, and mortality, as well as factors relating to disability incidence and the cost of hospital, medical, and prescription drug services. [Emphasis added.]

Because the future is inherently uncertain, three alternative sets of economic, demographic, and programmatic assumptions are used to show a range of possibilities. The intermediate assumptions (alternative II) reflect the Trustees’ best estimate of future experience. The low-cost alternative I is more optimistic for trust fund financing, and the high-cost alternative III is more pessimistic; they show trust fund projections for more and less favorable conditions for trust fund financing than the best estimate. The assumptions are reexamined each year in light of recent experience and new information about future trends, and are revised as warranted. In general, greater confidence can be placed in the assumptions and estimates for earlier projection years than for later years. The statistics and analysis presented in this Summary are based on the intermediate assumptions.” [Emphasis added.]

Therefore, it is possible that the current Reports significantly under-estimate the number of addicts and alcoholics in the boomer generation, the wide diversity of addiction types, and the overall health problems and medical needs of the boomers as they enter the Social Security and Medicare systems in the years ahead.

If so, the impact on the financial outlook of the systems could be catastrophic:

“What is the Long-Range (2008-2082) Outlook for Social Security and Medicare Costs? An instructive way to view the projected cost of Social Security and Medicare is to compare the financing required to pay all scheduled benefits for the two programs with the gross domestic product (GDP), the most frequently used measure of the total output of the U.S. economy. Costs for both programs rise steeply between 2010 and 2030 because the number of people receiving benefits will increase rapidly as the large baby-boom generation retires (Chart B). During those years, cost growth for Medicare is higher than for Social Security because of the rising cost of health services, increasing utilization rates, and anticipated increases in the complexity of services. [Emphasis added.]

The potential for amplified costs of treatment for a much larger population of addicts and alcoholics would rest upon the shoulders of an already absurdly large set of projected healthcare costs.

C. Conclusion

In conclusion, if the actual addiction and alcoholism rates of the retiring baby-boomers is significantly higher that our current estimate of those rates, then the overall medical and related costs to be borne by the Medicare and Social Security Programs could be substantially higher than our current predictions. This, in addition to the already high projected costs of healthcare for that group, could, in turn, impact all of us by way of the significant long-term financial impact on the United States Government.

As the Summary Report concludes:

“The combined difference grows each year, so that by 2017, net revenue flows from the general fund will total $449 billion (2.0 percent of GDP). The positive amounts that begin in 2017 for OASDI, and in 2008 for HI, initially represent payments the Treasury must make to the trust funds when assets are redeemed to help pay benefits in years prior to exhaustion of the funds. Note that neither the redemption of trust fund bonds, nor interest paid on those bonds, provides any new net income to the Treasury, which must finance redemptions and interest payments through some combination of increased taxation, reductions in other government spending, or additional borrowing from the public.

“Chart E shows that the difference between outgo and dedicated payroll tax and premium income will grow rapidly in the 2010-30 period as the baby-boom generation reaches retirement age. Beyond 2030, the difference continues to increase nearly as rapidly due primarily to health care costs that grow faster than GDP. After the trust fund exhaustion dates (2041 for OASDI, 2019 for HI), the increasing positive amounts for OASDI and HI depict the excess of scheduled benefits over projected program income. When the statutory SMI general fund revenue requirements are added in, the projected combined Social Security and Medicare deficits and statutory general fund revenues in 2082 equal 9.3 percent of GDP, indicating the magnitude of the potential effect on the Federal budget if general revenues were used to ensure payment of all scheduled program benefits. A similar burden today would require nearly 80 percent of all Federal income tax revenues, which amounted to 11.7 percent of GDP in 2007.

“To put these magnitudes into historical perspective, in 2007 the combined annual cost of HI, SMI, and OASDI amounted to 38 percent of total Federal revenues, or about 7 percent of GDP. That cost (as a percentage of GDP) is projected to double by 2060, and then to increase further to nearly 17 percent of GDP in 2082. It is noteworthy that over the past four decades, the average amount of total Federal revenue as a percentage of GDP has been 18 percent, and has not exceeded 21 percent in a given year. Assuming the continued need to fund a wide range of other government functions, the projected growth in Social Security and Medicare costs would require that the total Federal revenue share of GDP increase to wholly unprecedented levels.”

While the financial outlook for the Programs is bleak, the failure to address a potentially larger problem of addiction and alcoholism in the next generation to retire could have amplified consequences for everyone.

References

(1) Jointogether.org; “Addiction Among Seniors Called ‘Hidden Epidemic’; News Summary, July 21, 2003.

(2) The New York Times; “Addicts of A Certain Age: Baby Boomers Need Help.” March 6, 2008.

(3) CNN.Com; “Limbaugh admits addiction to pain medication”; Oct. 10, 2003.

(4) National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol Alert. Alcohol and Aging.

(5) Hughes, Mary Elizabeth; O’Rand, Angela; “The Lives and Times of the Baby Boomers”, part of “The American People” series. http://www.aginghipsters.com/blog/archives/1/000346.php; 12/16/04.

(6) Actuarial Publications; “Status of the Social Security and Medicare Programs/Summary of the 2008 Annual Reports”; Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees; http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM/trsummary.html

‘Granny-killer metrics’ don’t add up in Australia’s costly coronavirus battle

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On top of a cricket pitch, blighted and blessed in unequal measure by my sons’ erratic bowling and batting, there now stands an emergency hospital.

Garran Oval’s just a six-stitcher throw from where one of them — and their sister — was born.

But now it’s a wonder of pop-up modern medicine, something you might see in the aftermath of a natural disaster in the Pacific or some God-forsaken nation ravaged by a receding civil war.

Yet here is it, right next to Canberra Hospital, which is one of those dreadfully ugly 1970s monstrosities built in ever-uncool yellow brick.

For Aspen Medical, which has constructed the 50-bed facility in remarkably quick time, it is likely going to be a handy little earner.

That’s because there’s a very good chance the $23-million field hospital will never be used for what it was designed: a COVID-19 patient overflow facility.

Fingers crossed that remains the case.

But for a whole bunch of miserable sorts, the kind of planning that spawned the Garran Oval multi-million-dollar makeover represents a wasteful splurge on old-timers who were going to die sometime soon anyway.

COVID-19 turns economics into morbid morgue watch

Economics has long been known as the dismal science, thanks to that cranky Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle, but the COVID-19 crisis has made it a morbid morgue watch.

Every country has responded differently to the pandemic and there will, eventually, be a reconciliation of which nations’ approaches were most successful in containing the virus and at what cost.

The world’s people find themselves involuntary participants in a real-time experiment involving different ingredients of shutdown and varying degrees of intervention reacting to the coronavirus threat.

Sweden, which has chosen to be much less restrictive in its response compared to its Scandinavian neighbours and the rest of Europe, has been heralded by some commentators as the example to follow.

People gather for a drink at an outdoor bar in Stockholm, Sweden, despite coronavirus.
Sweden has been less restrictive on its citizens than other Scandinavian countries during the pandemic.(TT via AP: Anders Wiklund)

It’s kept schools, shops and restaurants open and appealed to the public’s self-restraint with voluntary social-distancing measures.

With a population of 10.2 million, Sweden’s had 23,918 infections and 2,941 deaths, a third of which have been in nursing homes.

Australia’s population is 25.7 million. It’s had 6,875 infections and 97 deaths.

If Australia followed Sweden’s trajectory, COVID-19 would have killed more than 7,000 people.

So, when Treasurer Josh Frydenberg addressed the National Press Club on Tuesday, he was keen to put a few things straight.

“Some observers claim the Swedish model of handling the virus with significantly fewer restrictions is the model of success,” Frydenberg said.

“Respectfully, I disagree. Sweden has 40 per cent of Australia’s population but 70 times the death rate. The numbers speak for themselves.”

There’s growing concern in government that a view is taking hold in some conservative quarters that restrictions need to be dramatically lifted to save the economy from ruin, influenced by the likes of broadcaster Alan Jones.

Jones, holed up in his Southern Highlands safe house, is among commentators who’ve endorsed the views of Nobel laureate Michael Levitt, Professor of Structural Biology at the Stanford School of Medicine.

Australia joining forces with other ‘standout losers’

Professor Levitt isn’t an epidemiologist but says Sweden is one of the “standout winners”, alongside Germany (168,162 infections, 7,275 deaths).

“The standout losers are countries like Austria, Australia, Israel that’ve actually had very strict lockdown but didn’t have many cases,” Professor Levitt told British website UnHerd this week.

The leaders of Austria, Australia and Israel just happen to be members of the so-called “First Movers” group, an eclectic bunch that also includes the leaders of Greece, Denmark, the Czech Republic and New Zealand; countries which have done a comparatively good job preventing COVID-19 deaths, losing about 1,900 people combined.

“They have damaged their economies, caused massive social damage, damaged the educational year of their children but not obtained any herd immunity,” Professor Levitt said.

Herd immunity requires a critical mass of infections in lower-risk cohorts to stop transmission.

Professor Levitt has been very critical of the modelling produced by Imperial College epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson that saw British PM Boris Johnson ditch a herd immunity strategy and switch to one of suppression, albeit considerably later than Australia.

“I think this is another foul-up on the part of the baby boomers,” the 72-year-old tells UnHerd’s Freddie Sayers, not of the catastrophe in Britain that’s so far killed more than 30,000 people, but the abandonment of the herd immunity strategy that would see even more baby boomers killed.

“We’ve caused pollution. We allowed the world population to increase three-fold in my lifetime, even more, we caused the problems of global warming, and now we’ve left your generation with a real mess in order to save a relatively small number of very old people.

“This is a virus designed to get rid of the baby boomers. Quite frankly, I’ve had a great life … I’d much rather have young people than live for a very long time.”

Applying granny-killer metrics to the fight against COVID-19 has to be read to be believed, if you don’t have time to watch Professor Levitt’s full half-hour interview.

Scott Morrison stands in front of microphone with an Australian flag behind him
Scott Morrison has repeatedly dismissed the idea of pursuing a herd immunity strategy.(ABC News: Matt Roberts)

Morrison stridently rejecting Swedish’s coronavirus model

The concept of herd immunity appals the Prime Minister. He’s got no time for a ready reckoner that pitches lives against the economy.

“That’s a death sentence, and that’s not something that Australia has ever contemplated,” Scott Morrison told 2GB’s Ray Hadley this week.

“Nobody’s got herd immunity. I mean the United States (1.2 million infections, more than 73,000 deaths) hasn’t reached it, Sweden hasn’t reached it, the UK hasn’t reached it.

“You’ve got to get to about 60 per cent, two-thirds of your population. And even with all the death and devastation we’ve seen and all of those countries, they went nowhere near herd immunity and no one’s going to reach that.”

Behind the scenes, the PM’s been even more strident in his rejection of the Swedish model.

That’s not to say he and his Treasurer aren’t acutely aware of the enormous economic cost of the Government-ordered shutdown.

There is huge imperative to lift restrictions, but not without a structure that allows industrial-scale testing, contact tracing and isolation.

Australia bought itself time by acting quickly, unlike many of the Europeans and the Americans. The smart and humane thing to do is to use that advantage to carefully and cautiously draw down the economic restrictions while protecting lives — and yes, even the grannies and grandpas.

And if that means the Garran Oval pop-up complex is never put to use, all the better.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

Concerns that the JobKeeper scheme is not working as intended

Baby Boomers Is the Retirement Train Your Next Stop?

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Are You a Baby Boomer? If so,how many times a day do you ask yourself, “How in the ##!! did I get to be so old.”

Mentally, I still feel like I did in my thirties but when I look in the mirror, I see this person with a sagging chin, crow’s feet and an undefined waistline. In my mind, I am ready to campaign for whatever cause I currently believe important, but then I remember that if I don’t get moving, I’ll be late for work.

Recently, I’ve started to think that after 30 years of working, maybe it’s time to rethink how I spend my days. I no longer get excited about going to work and impressing the boss, or giving an awesome presentation, or helping solve another “crisis” before going home at night. Maybe it’s time to…do what? I’ve done this job so long that I’m not sure what else I can do.

Retirement Or….?

Has this happened to you lately? If not, you’re probably not ready to think about retirement or starting a new “career.” I’ve been thinking about doing something different for the last several years, and then, common sense sets in and I think about how much money is going out and what would happen if there was nothing coming in. So, I prod along and dream of “freedom.”

Well, it’s time for a CHANGE! Boomers are known for their action-oriented nature and it’s time to take action. So, I’ve decided to do something about it and the solution is?…. I don’t know. But, I’ll figure it out. I’m a “Boomer!” I have tons of energy going to waste and I remember one of my favorite crusaders saying: “A mind is a beautiful thing to waste.” So, I’m not wasting anymore and I pledge to start thinking about retirement possibilities. Sound familiar?

As a Baby Boomer, it seems impossible that retirement is fast approaching. But, the “impossible” has become reality. As we Boomers move into our mid-fifties and sixties, the specter of retirement is here. So, it’s time to think about what retirement actually means. For many of us,, as long as retirement is not presenting itself directly in front of us, we think of retirement as a period of joy and freedom. The concept of leaving behind the redundancies of a work routine is something similar to Christmas vacation: joy and celebration. But now, we’re not so sure. Our images of a life of sleeping late, golfing whenever we wish, shopping, taking up two or three hobbies and living a life of leisure is certainly an idyllic vision until we think of one word: BOREDOM. Baby Boomers get things done and lead the pack. What happens when the pack is no longer present? Will we bored out of our minds?

FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN OR REALITY

Now, as this Baby Boomer thinks about retirement, I start to picture uncertainty and a fear of future. What will happen if we (or anyone approaching retirement) are not both financially and mentally prepared for a very different lifestyle? Do we really want to do this? What is more important:: freedom or money? Well, it’s hard to be free if you are tied to an empty pocketbook. It’s time for a little boomer logic. The idea of having to retire simply because we have reached “retirement age” seems to be harsh and unpleasant. Time to get some traction and debunk myths and defy conventional wisdom. We “Boomers” are and will continue to define each era of our lives in our own terms.

THE HIDDEN BLESSING

What more would you expect from a Baby Boomer (aka, Better Boomer)? We will create our own paths to success. We are a generation that did not have the benefit of employers who were loyal to employees and kept the same staff from college through their retirement party and from whom they could expect a hefty retirement package. We will decide what is best for us; we will not let others decide for us. So, if we are “encouraged” to retire from our current position, we will find “another” position. If we decide to retire, it will be our choice. If we decide to combine retirement and another career or position, it will still be our choice. We are realizing that financial security is not what makes life worthwhile. Yes, it helps but it is not the “end all” solution. And, as we “Boomers” see Retirement coming into our next train stop, we will decide if we board the train. We know that retirement “age” is just that: an age. It is not the end of a productive life. And, we know that the image of living a life of leisure, never working and letting others take care of us is not for us. It is also not a healthy approach to retirement any more than it would be at any other phase of life. Baby Boomers, like all human beings, are at their best when they are useful, creative, productive and pursuing a dream. Research and real life has proven time and time again that when a person is no longer a part of something larger than themselves and see themselves as productive, the will to live rapidly declines, with the inevitable result of an end of life that is earlier than it has to be.

OPTIONS

So, financial demands are now a reality as we realize that retirement is not an option. Most of us will work into our retirement years and this may actually turn out to be a hidden blessing. We will live longer, be healthier and stay more active and fit because we just “have to” in order to pull in required incomes. Do you agree? It seems to me that retirement “age” is now moving from age 65 to 75. We will still get to “retire” before our time on earth expires because we are living longer. In the meantime, we will have the added benefits of longevity, productivity and knowing that we “did it the Boomer way”. Many Baby Boomers, like me, will decide to try to have the best of both worlds: retirement and a second career. What else would you expect from a Boomer? We have always been achievement focused with forward thinking problem-solving ideas. We are simply being “who” and “what” we are: “Better” Baby Boomers, determined to make a difference in the world and ourselves!