The age of the baby boomers occupies a span of nearly 20 years. This generation includes individuals in their mid to late 40’s who are still climbing the corporate and occupational ladders who may have small children. Those in their 50’s usually have reached a high water mark in their professions but may face the expenses of college for their children. Baby boomers in their 60’s are contemplating the lifestyle changes associated with aging.
While “baby boomers” may seem to be an cohesive group, in many aspects they can be quite different from one another. The age of the baby boomers falls in a range of nearly twenty years and this difference in life stages represents significant differences in needs and wants.
Earning power tends to increase over the working period of life but then often declines steeply upon retirement. The age of the baby boomers born in the first year of the generation will turn to 65 beginning in 2011. This means eligibility for Medicare and Social Security for most and various pensions and retirement savings plans for others. Many of these so-called “Golden Boomers” may be dealing with decreasing expectations for their retirement lifestyle as a result of losses in stock investments in recent years and the failures of some private pension programs.
So, who decides the Age Of The Baby Boomers?
The age of the baby boomers now in their 60’s also means dealing with age-related health concerns. Many of these are chronic and expensive to treat. Since Medicare alone only pays 80% of allowable expenses, this means a financial burden to retirees as well as a burden on those providers and institutions responsible for the delivery of care.
Baby boomers in their 50’s are often at the peak of their earning abilities, but many of them have the burden of college expenses for children. With tuition, fees, books and room and board ever increasing and sources of scholarships and loans becoming scarce resources, even those making health salaries may be feeling the pinch.
Many baby boomers in their forties still have young children at home and may even still be expanding the size of their families. Raising children is daunting in many ways, and not the least of these is financial. It is now estimated that it will cost upwards of $250,000 to raise one child to the age of 18.
A good pair of examples of the different life stages of baby boomers can be found in the 43rd and 44th Presidents of the United States. Former President George W. Bush was born at the very beginning of the baby boomer period in 1946 and is essentially retired with grown children who have completed college and who are on their own. Current President Barack Obama was born near the end of the baby boomer era in 1961 and has school age children and clearly is actively engaged in his career in public life.