As 77 million baby boomers retire, they will have a significant impact on America. Health care needs of this aging population will make demands on an already stressed and costly system. Some baby boomers may need to continue to work instead of retiring at the usual age and this will effect the job market.
As the huge generation of baby boomers reaches retirement age, there are many things to consider. This means that roughly 77 million individuals will retire in the first two decades or so of the 21st Century.
This will make demands on several different aspects of society. Also, baby boomers are coming to retirement at a time when government entitlement programs are being questioned and there is uncertainty about the health of important programs like Medicare and Social Security.
So, who are the Retirement Baby Boomers?
Large numbers of aging baby boomers has implications on the whole health care system. With aging, there are inevitable changes in health and in medical needs. Chronic conditions are common and require long term medical care. There is already a health care crisis in the United States both in terms of shortages of medical personnel to deal with a large aging population and in terms of dealing with unprecedented increases in the cost of delivering care. It is somewhat ironic that progress in medicine means that more and more people survive to old age, but their costs continue to spiral out of control.
While many baby boomers have made excellent provisions for their retirement income, others have suffered greatly from economic tragedies such as the stock market plunge that devalued and depleted many retirement accounts. Bankrupt companies like Enron have left retirees with nothing except very modest Social Security checks and many employers are ending or greatly restricting company retirement plans.
If the income of retiring baby boomers severely declines, this will have great impact on the economy. Baby boomers represent an enormous part of the American purchasing power and a decline in their spending cannot help but impact the economy as a whole. Baby boomers will face many changes in lifestyle as they age and retire but they will impact many others as well.
Even those with healthy retirement saving could face running out of money with longer lifespans, inflation, and ever increasing health care costs. It is clear that public policy will need to consider the needs of this largest of generation as its members reach retirement. It is possible that many baby boomers will find it necessary to work long beyond the time they had planned to retire just to make ends meet. Hopefully, the employment market will expand enough to accommodate them if this happens.