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Baby Boomer Potluck

This week I will be giving a short talk to a group of baby boomers in exchange for some great food via potluck. As you probably already know there are 75.4 million baby boomers, which translates into 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day from now until 2029! Given that so many baby boomers are entering their “golden years,” let’s review what’s in store for them when they hit retirement age. Here are a few key facts about baby boomers that I’ll share at the potluck in order to earn my meal:

Fact 1: It’s a guessing game

According to a 2015 study by Transamerica, almost half of baby boomers are determining their retirement savings needs by guesswork. Only 11% actually used a retirement calculator to figure out what they really will need to sock away for their golden years.

Fact 2: Falling short

Although workplace savings plans have become common, nearly 20% of baby boomers don’t contribute to plans such as a 401(k) or 403(b). Even those baby boomers who are saving for retirement aren’t socking enough money away. The median savings of a baby boomer is just $127,000. Given that experts recommend no more than 4% is withdrawn from retirement savings each year in retirement, that nest egg translates into less than $5,100 per year in retirement income.  Source: BlackRock 2015 Annual Global Investor Pulse Survey

Fact 3: Social Security conundrum

Millions of baby boomers will rely on Social Security income in retirement, but Social Security only replaces an average of about 40% of a recipient’s pre-retirement income! On average, the retired worker collected just $1,341 per month from Social Security in 2016.

Fact 4: Confidence about the future

Transamerica’s study finds that limited retirement savings and Social Security’s uncertainty translates into just 13% of baby boomers being “very confident” that they will be able to fully retire with a comfortable lifestyle.

Fact 5: A new type of retirement

Given that backdrop, more baby boomers expect to work beyond 65 than any previous generation. A whopping 65% of baby boomers expect to work past the previous magic number of 65, and more than half of baby boomers plan to work in some capacity during retirement. Add that to the life expectancy that has increased from 67 in 1967 to 80 in 2017. Despite many baby boomers wanting to work later in life, many employers haven’t changed their policies in ways that would allow them to do so. For example, Transamerica notes that only 48% of employers surveyed allow employees to switch from full-time to part-time.

Fact 6: Bridging the gap

Baby boomers face retirement challenges, but increases in savings now can play a large role in retirement. For example, people over 50 can contribute an additional $6,000 per year into their 401(k) plans. If you do that every year for 15 years in an account that earns a hypothetical 6%, and you can boost your retirement savings by an additional $135k+.

There is no simple answer other than start saving NOW, regardless of how late you perceive it to be. If you take a disciplined approach with your money, and pay yourself first instead of last, the results will be significant!

Check in next week and I’ll let you know how the potluck went!

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