This just in from the rose-colored glasses department: 82% of Baby Boomers Expect Their Retirement to Go As Planned (Charles Schwab survey).
Wait a second. Haven’t there been dozens of surveys that indicate a little more than 30% of baby boomers have $10,000 or less in savings for retirement.
So how the hell do 82% of boomers think retirement is going to work out okay for them.
I’ll tell you why, not how. Put simply, they are just overly optimistic. Maybe it’s genetic. We are products of the baby boom. The war was over, the world was okay, business was booming, homes were being built by the millions, the country was being paved with interstate highways, Ike was in the White House. We were born at the height of optimism, so of course we think everything is going to turn out just fine.
Plus, and it’s a big plus, it turns out that Schwab only surveyed boomers aged 55 to 75 with at least $100,000 worth of investable assets, including retirement accounts. Okay, that’s more like it. Of course 82% of them are optimistic.
What about the rest who have not been able to feather their nests? The average social security payment is $1,500 per month. If you don’t have savings to supplement that amount, the retirement picture is far from rosy. You could be more like Rosie the homeless lady that you see on the street with a shopping cart filled with bags of all her earthly belongings.
Many boomers have used up much if not all of their savings as a result of pandemic-related job losses. Natural disasters, steep medical expenses, funeral and college tuition costs have also eaten into retirement accounts. At a time when savings should be increasing in value, for many boomers, it’s the reverse.
We know that Covid will change almost everything. In many ways, it already has. But as 10,000 baby boomers retire every day, a reckoning is coming. Let’s hope we still live in a society that cares about its oldest citizens.
Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. His mystery novel, Head Above Water, is available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also visit his author page here.