10 Things Baby Boomers Won't Tell you
Mon 21 November 2011
, LEAP, smartmoney.com
The aging Me Generation is still putting itself first, according to an article by Catey Hill for smartmoney.com. You a baby boomer? Then this might hurt. Or are you the offspring of baby boomer-parents? In that case: be warned!
1. "Paws off, Junior, this cash is mine."
on't expect a big inheritance from your boomer parents -- even if they are rich. Less than half of millionaire boomers say that leaving money for their kids is a priority for them, according to a 2011 U.S. Trust study. But 64% of boomers say they plan to use their money to travel and more than one in three say they want to use it to "have fun."
2. "Make room kids, we'll be living with you when we're old."
Boomers are expected to live longer than any other generation. At the same time, it's no secret they haven't saved nearly enough for retirement. Overall, the average retirement savings shortfall for married baby boomers is about $30,000, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Nearly half of early boomers, born between 1948 and 1954, and 44% of late boomers, born between 1955 and 1964, may not be able to afford even basic living expenses in retirement, according to EBRI. The result? Kids could be supporting mom and dad well into their eighties and nineties.
3. " and we blame you for that."
Twenty-seven percent of people in their 50s say that having children got in the way of saving for retirement, compared to 15% who blamed buying a home and 19% who said that household bills were the obstacle, says a 2011 study by ING Direct. That's not surprising, given the typical middle income family spends more than $220,000 to raise a child, up 22% since 1960, according to data from the U.S.D.A. When you add paying for college to the mix sometimes another $100,000 or more retirement savings can really take a hit. "A lot of parents prioritized saving for their kids' college over saving for retirement," says Dan Greenshields, the president of ING Direct Investing
4. "We can't face reality."
What boomers think retirement will be like and what it actually is like are two very different things. A case in point: The forever young generation just can't deal with the idea of growing old. Only 13% of pre-retirees (people over 50 who have not yet retired) think their health will be significantly worse in retirement than it is now, while 39% of retirees report that it actually is worse, according to 2011 research by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.
5. "Until death do us part" doesn't apply to us.
Boomers are untying the knot at a record pace. The divorce rate for people over 50 has doubled in the past 20 years, says the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, compared to a slight decrease in divorce overall. More than 300,000 couples over 50 divorced in 2008, and if the rate continues to grow at current levels that number will jump to more than 400,000 in 2030. What's fueling this trend? Empty nesters who find they are a lot less compatible when the kids aren't around is one reason, says Toronto-based psychologist Tami Kulbatski. Another might be, ironically, boomers' love of marriage: A lot of boomers are in their second, third or even fourth marriage, and these marriages are more likely to end in divorce, says Krista Kay Payne, a researcher at the center.
6. "We're unhappy ..."
For a generation who once had so much hope for the future, life sure seems disappointing. Boomers are the least happy of all age groups, according to a 2008 study from the University of Chicago. "The generation as a group was so large, and their expectations were so great," writes Yang Yang, the author of the study, "not everyone in the group could get what he or she wanted due to competition for opportunities. " Another report from the the Pew Research Center came to a similar conclusion: On a scale of one to ten, boomers, on average, rate their lives a 6.2, compared to a 6.7 for older adults and 6.5 for younger adults. That may not look like much of a difference, but this pattern has held steady throughout the two decades Pew has conducted this study, explains D'Vera Cohn, a senior writer for Pew. In other words, the boomers have been consistently less happy than younger generations for the past twenty years.
7. "... and we eat our feelings."
Nearly one out of every three people ages 50-59 is now considered obese, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control<>, compared to less than one in every five for people age 18 to 29. What's more, baby boomers are significantly fatter than their parents' generation, according to a study by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Boomers are struggling to exercise enough to combat their expanding waistlines. But only one in four gets the amount of exercise experts recommend for staying healthy, according to a 2011 poll of nearly 1,500 adults by the Associated Press and LifeGoesStrong.com.
8. "And we're addicts."
Blame it on the fact that they grew up in the hippie 60s, but whatever the excuse, boomers are drinking and drugging their way into old age at a rate much higher than their parents' generation. Between 1992 and 2008, the proportion of substance abuse treatment admissions involving Americans 50 and older nearly doubled, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Alcohol is still the most common reason that boomers seek treatment but admissions for heroin abuse more than doubled and cocaine use quadrupled over that period.
9. "We will bury you in debt."
We're a nation in record debt -- an estimated $14 trillion -- and the sheer number of boomers are expected to significantly add to that in the coming years as they begin to receive Social Security and Medicare benefits. (Government spending on these programs is expected to jump to almost 13% of the U.S. economy by 2030, compared to 7% in 2006, according to the Federal Reserve.) To help reduce the deficit the so-called super-committee, a bi-partisan Congressional group tasked with helping us find saving in the budget to lower deficit, is weighing a variety of proposals.
10. "We're obsessed with (not) aging."
Sagging skin, crows feet, a dull complexion -- these used to be the inevitable signs of aging. But if the boomers have anything to do with it, that's going to change. The market research firm Global Industry Analysts finds that the U.S. market for anti-aging products, which is largely driven by boomers, will grow more than 42% to $114 billion in 2015.
And it's not just lotions and serums this group is into. People 40 and up (many of whom are boomers) comprised 55% of all surgical cosmetic procedures, like facelifts and tummy tucks, and 74% of all cosmetic "minimally invasive" procedures like cellulite treatments, botox and laser hair removal, in 2010. It also appears that boomer men are one of the fastest-growing segments going under the knife. While overall cosmetic procedures in men increased just 2% in 2010 compared to 2009, facelifts, which are typically performed on the over 50 set, increased 14%, according to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. "No doubt this will become more popular," says Malcolm Roth, the president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. "Boomers want to look and feel young."
Read the full article: http://www.smartmoney.com/spend/family-money/10-things-baby-boomers-wont-say-1320636131024/?link=SM_mustread#articleTabs
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