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Baby Boomers Have Problems to Face
I have bad news for Baby Boomers: You are acting like your parents. According to a study by Boston College’s Center for Loneliness Research, Baby Boomers are building wealth at the same rate that previous generations have. That might not seem like a problem, but their parents often had generous pensions to fall back on. Many Baby Boomers have no pensions at all and those who do face the possibility that their company may outspend them in the next few years.
Counting on Investments
They have another thing in common with their parents…they think their investments can work miracles. In a New York Life survey, people between the ages of 41 and 92 were asked what the “safe” withdrawal rate was for retirement savings. Safe is defined as the rate that you could withdraw money and not run out of it during retirement.
Of those surveyed, 40% had no idea… not surprising until you realize that half of the group was probably already retired and the others were getting close to it. If they have already withdrawn money or are about to, wouldn’t it be nice if they had an indication of what a sustainable withdrawal rate looked like?
Almost 30% of respondents thought they could extract 10% or more. They’ve probably heard that stocks return more than 10% a year. Of course they forgot to take into account some minor facts such as, 1) stocks do not do the 10% thing every year and sometimes have several declines in a row, 2) even if stocks return 10%, it would be. no chance of growth and without growth inflation reduces purchasing power every day, and 3) I know very few 70, 80 and 90 year olds who want to have 100% of their money in stocks, especially now.
Ask a financial advisor (at least one who knows what he or she is doing) and they’ll tell you what only 10% of those surveyed did: The magic “safe” number is somewhere around 4-5%. Survey summary: 40% had no idea, 50% would spend themselves in poverty, and 10% were in the stage.
Live Long and Prosper
Compounding all these problems is the likely fact that Baby Boomers will outlive their parents and possibly their money. According to the American Academy of Actuaries, today, a 65-year-old woman has almost a 20% chance of living to age 95. (Sorry kids, your chances are just a little more than half that.)
People think I’m a bit of a failure for wanting to make sure their money lasts until they’re 100, but there’s a reason for my madness: if a husband and wife make it to age 65, there’s a 28% chance that one of them will . blow out the candles on their 95th birthday. If you don’t plan to have your money until age 95 and over you stand a greater than 1 in 4 risk that the money will run out before you or your spouse.
Charge It Up!
Oh, and before you think all I have is good news (yes, that was a sarcastic comment), Baby Boomers are knee deep in debt. Not that the country itself is doing any better. According to an article by Direxion Funds, 25 years ago, the US economy was 3.1 trillion dollars in size and a foreign nation had a 1.0 trillion national debt. Today the economy is about four times that size and our national debt is ten times that and climbing.
Boom parents had pensions, spent frugally, didn’t live too long and had little debt. So Baby Boomers (and the rest of us), grow up and stop acting like your parents. You can’t afford it.
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