There is an interesting article in the Express today reporting that today is the first day that Baby Boomers are old enough to retire. If they were conceived on VE Day back in May 1945, they are now 65 and therefore at the end of their working life. Those old enough to retire have seen incredible changes in the workplace – the introduction of equal opportunity policies; the working time derivative; the global expansion of commerce and of course the communication revolution brought on by the internet, to name only a few. With a large number of Boomers still having to financially support their Gen Y offspring, what does this mean for their ‘golden’ years?
The article notes some startling facts:
- Retiring baby boomers will add £2billion to taxpayers’ bill for the basic state pension – which totalled £56billion last year
- 23 per cent of pensioners – 2.5 million people – live an impoverished retirement
- There are more people aged over 60 than under 16
- In the 10 areas of the UK with the oldest populations there is one person in retirement for every two of working age
Looking at these statistics, it seems unavoidable that the government has to change retirement laws. The simple question is: can we afford to retire? A quick pole amongst friends produces worrying results – very few have considered, or are actively contributing to a pension. And with pay freezes and job cuts, it is way down on the list of economic priorities for the average Gen Y-er.
An interesting thought then is, if Boomers can’t afford to retire (because they are supporting out of work Gen Y-ers), what happens to Gen X middle managers who are looking for promotion? With no Boomer shoes to fill, will they just have to wait? And in turn what impact does this have on their ability to increase their incomes and save for the future?
The reality is that the impact of generational size and mobility will affect everyone and we shouldn’t wait until we are 65 to start worrying about it.