Every Day, 10,000 "Baby Boomers" Turn 65
According to the US Census Bureau, a "baby boomer" is a person that was born between 1946 and 1964.
When WWII finally came to an end, there was a dramatic uptick in the number of births in the United States. In total, 76 million people were born between 1946 and 1964.
The "baby boomer" generation had a dramatic effect on the country as they moved through life. Due to their sheer size alone, the "baby boomers" were a force to be reckoned with. The "baby boomers" decided the new trends in popular culture. Advertising agencies spent countless hours tailoring campaigns to target the boomers. The real estate and stock markets soared when the boomers started making money and buying homes and investing. The list goes on and on - the influence of the boomers wasn't to be denied, and it is still a powerful force today.
As of January 1st, 2011, 10,000 "baby boomers" will hit the age of 65 each and every day. This will continue for the next 19 years, until those who were born in 1964 start turning 65 in 2029.
The "boomers" have influenced the decision-making of the country dramatically over the past 65 years or so, and the trend will continue as they start hitting retirement age.
According to ABC News, assuming that significant changes aren't made, the Medicare system "could be broken" due to the fact that so many people are soon to be hitting the age of 65. According to the site, 46 million people are currently covered by Medicare, which costs the government a total of $500 billion per year. Fast forward 20 years, and there will be more than 80 million people that will be eligible for Medicare. Further complicating the situation, the number of working people who will be paying into the program will have decreased dramatically by then. Combine that with increasing health care costs and longer life spans, and the system is cruising for a bruising.
A few years ago, it was expected that the wave of "baby boomer" retirements would create an interesting conundrum of too many jobs and not enough people to fill them in the country. The boomers, it was expected, would be able to retire mainly due to the value of the equity that had built up in their homes.
Starting in December of 2007, the best-laid plans of many in the "boomer" generation started to come undone. The US real estate market really started to unravel. The DJIA, NASDAQ and S&P 500 all tumbled, leading to the destruction of many investment accounts throughout the country. Many boomers also found themselves out of a job and needed to turn to cash earmarked for their impending retirements just to make ends meet.
Now, after thinking that they were just a few years away from retirement, many boomers are going to be forced to work much longer than they had previously thought.
A few years ago, the major questions surrounding the baby boomers were: Will the real estate market be able to hold it together when they start selling their homes? Will the stock market tank when the boomers start moving out of the market and into cash? Who will fill the jobs left vacant by the retiring baby boomers? Will the system be able to absorb the costs as baby boomers hit the age of 65?
In 2011, the situation has changed dramatically due to the economic downturn of the past three years. The "baby boomers" are still slated to have a major impact, but this impact will be felt by a dramatically weakened nation.
The country is certainly being presented with a number of perplexing questions right now, and it will be interesting to see how things are handled going forward.
Filed under: General Knowledge