Will they or won’t they? What will Boomers do?

Image: Will they or won’t they? What will Boomers do?

Will Baby Boomers Retire? Or what will they do?

For years, demographers, sociologists and workplace experts have been prophesizing many Baby Boomer tidal waves. For example, there will be a tsunami of retirement or a tsunami of family homes being sold. However, I think the real answer to the prediction of tidal waves is that it is too soon to tell whether or not they will land on shore.

Staying At Home

A recent Financial Post Magazine article stated that it may not be the case that single family homes in the suburbs are going to flood the market as Boomers choose to downsize and move back into the city to condos, after the children have left. In “Why the boomers may not leave home as fast as we think” (September 10, 2014), experts quoted within say that many Baby Boomers intend to stay in their homes as long as they can – which would put them in the age range of their mid-70s. Also, though condo life is attractive because there is less maintenance work, Boomers are not going to want to live in 800 or less square-feet, when they were used to so much more space.

Staying At Work

Some large organizations stop offering early retirement packages for Baby Boomers, so inherently many of the younger, non-grandfathered Baby Boomers will have to work longer than their predecessors. Additionally, as we have often written Boomers actually like to work, so many don’t even plan or can’t envision retiring at 60 or 65 years of age. They may not work in their current roles, but they will find contracts, part-time work or become independent consultants working on projects in which they are interested. However, one major underlying reason that many Baby Boomers will stay working is that they simply can’t afford not to.

No Money: No Retirement

All the major banks are continuously studying, surveying and reporting on the fact that the debt load that Baby Boomers are carrying and still building is growing each passing year. “The debt share of those over 45 among the high-debt-burden portion of the population has been “rising much faster than their share of the overall population.” In 2007, the share was slightly more than 36%, and by 2011 it was more than 43%” (“Old Enough to Know Better”, Financial Post, September 12, 2012). So that means many Baby Boomers can’t afford to retire. Or at minimum, those that do retire will need to work part-time to service the debt that they are still carrying.

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