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October 24, 2008

Promising Part-Time Jobs for Semi-Retired Baby Boomers

Only a minority of baby boomers will be able to enjoy a “traditional” retirement. Members of this fortunate group will simply quit working at age 65. Then, by drawing on Social Security, a corporate pension, and their own savings, they’ll be able to maintain a standard of living close to the one they’d enjoyed while working.

A much larger number, lacking significant savings or any income other than Social Security, will face a radically different fate. They’ll be forced to work for many more years, perhaps until they’re physically incapacitated, or will face poverty.

But what of those in the middle? Most boomers will have significant retirement income, but it won’t be enough to maintain their lifestyles. So they’ll have to earn extra money.

Flipping burgers, or repeating the phrase “Welcome to Wal-Mart” a thousand times per day, is neither financially nor personally rewarding. So what are some other options? Here, based on information from the U.S. Department of Labor, are the most promising jobs for boomer semi-retirement, i.e. part-time working.
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September 22, 2008

More and More Boomers Delaying Retirement

retirement pie chart

Source: Wall Street Journal

It had to happen. As defined-benefit programs go the way of the buggy whip and the rotary dial telephone; as savings rates drop; and as nest eggs shrivel due to stock market woes, more and more baby boomers are making an unpleasant discovery: unlike previous generations, they can’t simply stop working at age 65 and still make ends meet.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, the clear message of the economy to baby boomers is: “Not so fast.”

While it’s unpleasant to be forced to do anything, voluntarily delaying retirement can often be a good thing. From the standpoint of retirement income level, every additional year worked provides a triple benefit: it allows for additional savings to be accumulated; it at least creates the possibility of investment growth; and, of course, there is one less year over which retirement distributions will be spread.

Still, this development is ominous. It may not be the end of the world if the average retirement age increases from 65 to 66 or 67. But what if people are forced to work well into their 70s, or even 80s, to survive? Not a pretty picture…

September 12, 2008

A National Disgrace: Senior Citizens Being Forced Into Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a humiliating, harrowing experience for anyone. But when a senior citizen is forced to undergo it, it extracts an especially heavy emotional toll. Seniors simply don’t have decades of life ahead of them in which to advance their careers, save money, and make the arduous climb out of the financial pit that bankruptcy creates. Many are on fixed incomes, and the repayment plans required by recently enacted new bankruptcy legislation create, for many, the equivalent of a lifetime sentence to poverty. On top of all this, many older Americans still adhere to the old ethos of live-within-your-means and if-you-can’t-afford-it-do-without-it. In short, among the senior population, bankruptcy doesn’t just create problems. It permanently ruins lives.

Yet seniors, according to a recent study, are the demographic group among which bankruptcies are increasing the most rapidly. In 1991, people 55 and older accounted for only 8 percent of bankruptcy filings. By 2007, that number had soared to 22 percent.
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September 2, 2008

“Scary times” for Future Retirees

The current generation of retirees is relatively prosperous. But this may be a historical anomaly, and old age may once again become, for many, a time for poverty, according to an Associated Press report.

AP interviewed several retired delegates to the Democratic convention as well as experts at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

All confirmed the same general trend: the cost of living, especially for seniors, is rising even as the safety nets that traditionally protected seniors are fraying. The result is that ever more retirees are struggling to make ends meet.
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August 29, 2008

New Trend: Kids Depending on Grandparents for Clothes, Money


Another thing for future retirees to consider as they calculate the amount of money they’ll need in retirement: what about the grandkids?

According to a recent study by a demographic research firm, high spending on kid’s clothes is linked to the number of senior residents in any given community. Especially communities with retirement homes for the affluent like West Palm Beach, Fort Meyers, and even Juneau.

This trend cuts across economic lines. And it signifies more than grandparents’ traditional fondness for spoiling their grandkids. A related poll found that 71 percent of parents plan to cut back on school clothes shopping this year. As times get tougher, and parents can’t provide as much as they used to, grandparents are being tapped to help pay for the necessities of life.
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