The biggest generation is about to be the biggest retired generation. Do you think a generation nicknamed the “Me Generation” will suddenly become the generous generation? No.
The market lost value so the Boomers lost their retirements. They were overmortgaged just as their health declined (it was a shock that they were getting older). Let’s just assume perfect retirement conditions. This is how the Boomers planned:
How bad are baby boomers at financial planning? Extremely bad, according to Annamaria Lusardi and Olivia Mitchell of the National Bureau of Economic Research. They found that more than one-quarter of boomer households thought “hardly at all” about retirement, and that financial literacy among boomers was “alarmingly low.” Half could not do a simple math calculation (divide $2 million by 5) and fewer than 20 percent could calculate compound interest. The NBER researchers also found that, as of 2004, the typical boomer household was holding nearly half its wealth in the form of housing equity. Uh-oh.
For a closer look at the retirement squeeze, consider a study released last month by the Congressional Research Service. Patrick Purcell analyzed the most recent data on consumer finances gathered by the Federal Reserve. He found that for the 53 percent of households that hold at least one retirement account, the median combined balance was a mere $45,000.
For households headed by persons between the ages of 55 and 64, the median value of all retirement accounts was just $100,000. Purcell noted that for a 65-year-old man retiring in April 2009, that $100,000 would buy an annuity that would pay a paltry $700 a month for life, based on current interest rates.
The Fed data used in Purcell’s study were gathered in 2007. With stock market declines since then, the median account balances are probably even lower now.
A scared Boomer is a scary Boomer. That is why I’m concerned about nationalized health care and every other big government program being the wave of the future.
I’m not sure any small government type leader can be elected just because of the demographics of the United States. And unfortunately for future generations, the Boomers have had access to the best medical advances and health care–so they’re probably going to live a long time which means expanding the government to meet their needs until they die which will be in forever.
President Obama is a tail-ender Boomer and look at the spending. He’s not going to have to pay that money back. His kids will. Wheee! No big deal.
The Baby Boomers believe the world will end when they end. Maybe they’re making the world end and fulfilling some subconscious wish–the world can’t possibly exist without them so the solution is killing the world before they go.
On the plus side, the Boomers embraced eugenics–they are after all the biggest proponents of abortion. And the same reasoning can be used, and is being used, when it comes to health care choices. Look at what’s being talked about on the floor of the Senate from Ed Morrissey:
What happens when the state controls all the resources? New resources do not develop, and the government winds up rationing care based on its own priorities, and not the priorities of the patients or caregivers. Professor Altman’s suggestion that the elderly get hospice treatment to save scarce care resources is exactly the kind of decisions the state will make for its citizens, and it won’t be limited to the elderly, either. Anyone whose value does not show a positive “cost-benefit” ratio to the state will also likely wind up without the kind of care necessary to stay alive and healthy.
Rationed, hospice care for the elderly…read, Baby Boomers. Poetic justice, if you ask me. The same people who used utilitarian arguments to kill babies will have an interesting time defending spending money on their “worthless” lives–I mean, it’s not like old, decrepit people produce anything.
Oh, they’ll suddenly get religion and defending the defenseless will become very important and the vast numbers of hanging on Boomers will ensure they have a very loud voice as usual. They’ll bankrupt America, live off their children and demand health care that will extend their lives. It will be their children and their children’s children who will pay for their selfishness–the ones who were lucky enough to be born, anyway.
Even the Boomers will die, but probably not soon enough to save America.