December 31, 2010
Tea Party Till You Drop

More depressing news from the most self-satisfied, self-absorbed and altogether selfish generation of my lifetime. Unsurprisingly it has now spawned the Tea Party, much as manure kept in the dark grows mushrooms.

Too many boomers have ignored or underestimated the worsening outlook for their finances, says Jean Setzfand, director of financial security for AARP, the group that represents Americans over age 50. By far the greatest shortcoming has been a failure to save. The personal savings rate — the amount of disposable income unspent — averaged close to 10 percent in the 1970s and ’80s. By late 2007, the rate had sunk to negative 1 percent.

The recession has helped improve the savings rate — it’s now back above 5 percent. Yet typical boomers are still woefully short on retirement savings. Even those in their 50s and 60s with a 401(k) for at least six years had an average balance of less than $150,000 at the end of 2009, according to the EBRI.

Signs of coming trouble are visible on several other fronts, too:

• Mortgage Debt. Nearly two in three people age 55 to 64 had a mortgage in 2007, with a median debt of $85,000.

• Social Security. Nearly 3 out of 4 people file to claim Social Security benefits as soon as they’re eligible at age 62. That locks them in at a much lower amount than they would get if they waited…

Many seem to view their plight through rose-colored granny glasses. An AARP survey last month of boomers turning 65 next year found that they worry no more about money than they did at age 60 — before the recession or the collapse of home prices. But in an acknowledgement of reality, 40 percent said they plan to work “until I drop.”



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at December 31, 2010 02:35 PM
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the mushroom picture and analogy prompts me to send you a picture of a stinkhorn that regularly comes up in my strawberry patch ! it stinks not to have saved any money !


Posted by: Katherine Hunter on January 1, 2011 4:36 PM

Fair's fair. Let's not forget that us baby boomers took to the streets and eventually brought the VN war to an end. Not to mention the music!

Posted by: Red Tide on January 1, 2011 10:22 PM

Red Tide, that may be true. But as Joe Bageat says about such things "that and a dollar might buy you a cup of coffee". On the other hand, the opportunities to save for many have been limited at best compared to the 60's. Every recession has taken more and more from folks from the uppper echelon middles down to the lowest classes in America except a lucky few, particularly those with government pensions which are now no longer a guarantee to anything as we have seen in a few cities in Alabama for one egregious example. You can see the results in any city in America when you walk the streets at night. (except the nasty ones that don't help the homeless and run them out of town). It's looking more like 1929 is around the corner no matter how you look at it. We'll see.

Posted by: Buck on January 2, 2011 4:34 PM
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