Sunday, January 11, 2009

Retirement Postponed

As we begin the New Year, it is understandable that last year’s meltdown of our financial system has people anxious about their future. Add to the mix the evolving trend of older new dads/second families and boomerangs; male baby boomers will experience retirement postponement.

Read On:
Trend spotters predict now that Americans are living more healthfully to 75 and beyond, less are considering retirement at 65. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there are at least 5 million people 65 or older in today’s labor force. According to a survey conducted by Merrill Lynch in 2005, 3 in 4 baby boomers indicated they had no intention of pursuing a traditional retirement – gold watch followed by golf outings and pinochle by the pool. Bottomline: Americans are living longer, thus working longer because they love their work. Then again, most are being forced to work longer thanks to financial reasons, especially in light of the 2008 meltdown of our financial system. Baby boomers retirement portfolios evaporated. In addition, health care costs continue to rise. Social Security checks, on average of $1,000, barely contribute to a sustainable lifestyle. However, it is time to examine two other contributing trends to why baby boomers, especially males are working longer.

The first trend is what has been labeled Old New Dads/Second Families. Three factors have contributed to the significant increase in the birth rate among fathers over 40 since 1980 – career women that have pushed back childbearing, divorce and the combination of biology along with success enabling men to physically father children well into their 50’s and 60’s. Let’s look at the numbers since 1980: an increase of 32 percent among fathers aged 40-44; an increase of 21 percent among fathers 45-49; and an increase of 10 percent for fathers 50-54. Sounds like there will be a lot of Dads still paying college tuitions well into their 70’s, thus necessitating the need to work.

Watch out for the boomerangs! Boomerang is the term coined for young adults that choose to return and cohabitate with their parents after living alone. Historically boomerangs tend to increase proportionally with economic downturns since it represents an easy option of maintaining the middle class lifestyle they envisioned upon graduating college, but could not achieve thanks to a tighter job market, the increased cost of living and the burden of repaying college loans. Statistically, 54% of American males between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four, and 14% between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-four live with their parents. Sounds like Dad is not going to enjoy the benefits of being an “empty nester”, but is going to have to continue working to keep the lights on in his “cluttered nest.”

Remember to cancel your fantasy golf lessons!


  1. So...while I'm a Mom (not Dad) my plan is to work on my 7 year olds rock career so he can take care of me, vs. the other way around : ).

    Really good info Jim. With the current economy and these stats, I imagine this trend will only escalate. As well as the reverse as parents move in w/their kids.

  2. Hmmm, interesting thoughts as I am starting to think about life after Colombia in September. Are you saying that my parents might not want an extra roommate?!