Okay, a confession. I am a baby boomer. So naturally I am quite
concerned with predictions that life in retirement is not going to be yachting off to Bermuda or weekends on the Riviera. Since I am not doing any of that now, I am not quite sure why I should expect my retirement to be significantly better–although I know many of my peers do and the current generation of retirees, probably our richest, certainly flaunt their leisure. However, I am old enough to remember when the media was filled with sad stories about older Americans eating dog food so they could afford medicine. We don’t see much of that kind of coverage now, but the numbers do make me–and, more importantly, experts like Alicia Munnell–worried. It is clear that if we are to avoid a return of the senior poverty of the early 1960s we are going to have to address the problems of Social Security, Medicare and healthcare inflation in general now–and not 20 years from now. I say healthcare because really if that were taken out of the equation most seniors would have enough to live on. Another problem that will be harder to fix is the societal attitude toward old people.
Munnell suggests in her Q&A that Americans should be prepared to work until they are 65 or 67 and I personally am prepared to work much later than that–I’ll have to if I want to send my daughter to college and graduate school. The question is whether Corporate America will leave any room for the baby boomers. And I am not sure if any law can correct that prejudice. But then again maybe the doomsayers on climate change will turn out to be right and none of this will matter.