Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Is 60 the new 40? Experts at the Milken Institute Global Conference discussed retirement issues for baby boomers. (The conference was held here in L.A., but I didn't get invited! Maybe next year). The nice people at Smart Brief have posted a blog on the conference. Here's a selection from the retirement discussion:
President-Elect of the AARP, brought the issues of how the Baby Boomer generation differed from previous generations to the forefront. Baby Boomers are diverse, not only in terms of ethnic background, but also in terms of education level and economic prosperity. Three out of ten baby boomers are minorities. Four out of ten have an education level of high school diploma or less. Four out of ten have a current income of less than $25,000, while only 1 in 10 has a current income of greater than $75,000. With improvements in healthcare, Americans are able to live longer, with a higher quality of life, but will the Baby Boomer generation be able to afford it? The current Social Security payment is $950 a month; how much of that will have to go towards skyrocketing healthcare costs for this greying generation? What constitutes "age?" John Shoven, Professor of Economics at Stanford University, would argue that we should be thinking of better ways to measure age. Such "mortality milestones" would allow for the cross-comparison of populations at different periods in time. For instance, a 65 year old man has the same mortality risk of a 70 year old woman. This means that the healthcare costs are higher for men than women at a particular biological age. Dr. Shoven also challenged meeting participants to "get beyond the idea that 65 is the age at which people are labeled as 'elderly.'" When the Social Security program was established, the predicted length of retirement was approximately 19 years. In 2050, the anticipated average length of retirement is 25 years. In order to accomodate this increase, individuals will most likely have to work beyond the current retirement age to maintain financial viability
It's funny. When you're 15, you just can't imagine being 25.When you're 25, you can't imagine being 45 and so on. And yet AGE HAPPENS. Somehow we deal with it. As we age, we inevitably get a little slower, so we just have to get wiser.


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