Boomers: Put Off Those Hammock Dreams

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Ah, retirement. For the 76 million people born between 1946 and 1964, those golden years of sipping Coronas by the pool don’t seem so far away. With the first wave hitting 60, baby boomers are only five years away from sailing off into the land of shuffleboard and bingo.

Not so fast, says a new study. Fully half of boomers are nowhere near ready to retire–financially, that is. That’s according to a survey of employers by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:

The survey asked employers how many white-collar and rank-and-file employees, currently in their 50s, will not have the resources needed to retire at the same age as similar workers have in the past. At the median, employers responded that half will not have the necessary resources.

The study points out that many boomers will have to rely on their own savings–namely, defined contribution plans, or 401(k)s–to fund their retirements. That’s because the other legs of the so-called three-legged stool of retirement planning–Social Security and pension plans–are beginning to wobble under their massive numbers.

There’s just one problem. Boomers haven’t saved.

Median 401(k) assets, including IRAs, for workers in their 50s
are just $60,000.

Yipes! That won’t even cover a tricked-out RV!

What to do? According to the report, one in four boomers will want to work beyond the traditional retirement age–for at least two more years. The researchers think this is not necessarily a bad thing, both for the economy and the workers:

…continued employment would make a significant contribution to retirement income security. If they are able to extend their working careers, many Boomers could enter retirement reasonably well prepared–either by having sufficient resources at the traditional retirement age or by working longer.

That hammock by the pool will just have to wait.