With the combined impact of a large generation and increasing lifespans, in twenty years the American population will include three times as many 85+ year old boomers, according to Cleveland Jewish News in “Boomers should prepare for future today.” That translates into a seismic shift in services related to the elderly, from health care to finances to law.
With those kinds of population figures, the baby boomers will have tremendous social and health care needs. Despite all of the fantastic healthy diet plans and fitness regimens, only 21% of boomers exercise regularly, and 73% of men and 60% of women are overweight. There will also be one person in five who will suffer from dementia and 50% anticipate that they will need to work in their “retirement.” Shockingly, 31% have saved nothing and 45% will have a mortgage past the age of 60.
When President Johnson signed Medicare and Social Security into law in the 1960s, there were 27 workers in the workforce for every “retiree” age 65 or over, and the average lifespan was 69 years of age. The average benefits were collected for four years.
There are now seven workers for every person over 65, collecting benefits for 15 years on average, until they reach the age of 80. Fast-forward 20 years and there will only be two workers for every 65-plus-year-old and they’ll collect for 25 years to age 90.
You can easily see that our current government programs can’t continue to provide the benefits they have in the past. We’ll either have to wait until we’re much older to collect—or the benefits will have to be decreased or cut off, depending on income.
Best bets? If you are a boomer without a plan or good health habits, now is the time to start addressing both things. What if you don’t have an estate plan? Meet with an estate planning attorney to get a will and basic estate documents in place. Maximize your retirement savings, purchase long-term care insurance and start preparing for the next twenty or thirty years.
Our communities need to prepare as well, since social services agencies will be impacted with greater needs. The Boomer Tsunami is coming, and we’ll all need to be ready.
Reference: Cleveland Jewish News (November 9, 2016) “Boomers should prepare for future today”