As baby boomers approach their retirement years, many find themselves, to quote the Bob Seger lyric, running against the wind. Post-recession financial insecurity is forcing many to rethink their retirement plans, according to a recent AARP report.
Forty-two percent of baby boomers said that the age at which they expect to fully retire had changed in the past three years, while 83 percent of those whose expected retirement age had changed reported plans to retire even later.
“The recession has shaken the confidence of older Americans in their ability to manage financially in retirement,” AARP noted in a statement, with more than half (55 percent) of boomers saying they felt either “not too confident” or “not at all confident.” Nearly three in five said they were less confident of having enough money for a comfortable retirement than they had been before the recession started, However, more than one-quarter (29 percent) twice believe their financial situation would improve in the coming year.
Among the factors shaking baby boomer confidence in their retirement planning is “the bad economy” and the loss of jobs during the economic collapse. Nearly half of boomers ages 50-64 said that job loss is their main reason for not working, while 19 percent cited an “inability to find work.”
Just over one-quarter (26 percent)( attributed their unemployment to health issues, such as disability or medical treatment.
Financial necessities brought about by the recession also setback many boomers’ retirement savings goals. Eleven percent surveyed by AARP reported having dipped in to their home equity to make ends meet. Nearly one-third said they received financial help from family or friends, while 57 percent said they have made withdrawals from a savings account. Overall, two-thirds of boomers have experienced some reduction in retirement savings balances between 2007-2010
Cutting expenses is the strategy employed by most boomers to make ends meet. In addition to withdrawing money from a savings account, other steps included delaying medical or dental care or stopping medications, according to the report.
A widespread lament of recession-plagued boomers was they owed too much money and saved too little, with the majority expressing a lack of confidence they will have adequate retirement savings.
Boomers, characteristically credited as a forward-thinking generation, are making skills acquisition a priority to remain competitive in the present economy and challenging job market. Since the recession began, four-in-ten boomers reported having engaged in training, other educational training or certification programs to refresh or enhance their job skills, the report states.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.