Research suggests that up to 5% of the elderly population, age 70 and above, may suffer from a type of memory loss called mild cognitive impairment. This estimate is worse than any previous year according to a researching team at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Ronald Petersen, the neurologist who led the study stated, “If we extrapolate these findings to the baby boomers, who are aging into the period of risk, we’re talking about a significant number of individuals who may become cognitively impaired in the very near future.” The number of elderly adults that have mild cognitive impairment has increased to an alarmingly higher rate than previously anticipated. More here
A large majority of American retirees say they’d prefer to continue to live in their current home over moving into a traditional senior community, according to a report from the Urban Land Institute titled Housing in America – The Baby Boomers Turn 65. The report says there are now three generations of Americans over the age of 65 and their preferences and outlook on housing options is vastly different than it has been in the past. Though most seniors express a desire to stay where they are, current retirees who do move are increasingly moving to cities and suburbs where they can be close to their children, public transportation, and health care. More here and here.
A new poll of 2,508 adults conducted by the Pew Research Center has found an increasing amount of anxiety over retirement savings but a shift in which Americans are expressing the most concern. In 2009, baby boomers were the most worried about funding their retirement but now adults in their late 30s and 40s are the least confident in their income and savings. Among adults between the ages of 36 and 40, more than half say they are not confident their assets will last through retirement, while only 34 percent of people ages 60 to 64 said the same. Overall, the number of Americans who express anxiety about financing their retirement has risen since 2009. According to Pew, the share of adults who aren’t confident in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement has risen from 25 percent in 2009 to 38 percent in the latest poll. More here.
New data from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College shows the pattern of wealth accumulation has remained virtually the same since 1983. That means, though expenses and life expectancies have gone up, people have approximately the same assets going into retirement that they had in 1983. In addition, the most recent recession has taken a staggering toll on the preparedness of baby boomers heading into retirement. Losses experienced in the real estate and stock markets were compounded by the need to dip into retirement savings to make up for the financial burden. These changes to the wealth-to-income ratio, which is a good predictor of how much income someone can replace once they retire, suggest that Americans have become increasingly less prepared for retirement over the past 30 years. More here and here.
Among baby boomers approaching retirement, housing ranks among the top monthly expenses. In fact, baby boomers are paying more for home mortgages and healthcare than previous generations have. Healthcare costs have risen 30 percent for people between the ages of 45 and 54 and 21 percent among 55 to 64 year olds. Housing, on the other hand, is typically the top monthly expense. The rising age of first-time homebuyers means more people are entering their pre-retirement years still paying off their mortgage. That means, boomers struggling to save for retirement have to contend with ever increasing costs without similarly increasing incomes. Despite this, retirement-savings contributions have nearly doubled between 1990 and 2010, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey. More here.
According to a new AARP report, 80 percent of baby boomers who were unemployed in 2010 were still out of work late last year. The report, which surveyed boomers on their financial well being following the recent recession, discovered that Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 continued to struggle three years after the official end of the recession. Because older workers have less time to recover from a job loss, the recession was particularly difficult for salaried employees in their 50s and 60s. Even among those who were able to find work, less than half said they were back on track financially because of lost savings or having to take a job for less money. The survey’s findings highlight the economic struggle felt by millions of baby boomers whose retirement plans were changed or altered by the recent recession. More here and here.
According to Census projections, the number of Americans over the age of 85 is set to rise to 19 million by 2050. By comparison, there were only 3 million Americans older than 85 in 1990. A large part of that increase are the approximately 78 million baby boomers now approaching their retirement years. But with increasing life expectancies and dwindling government resources, today’s seniors face the risk of an uncertain financial future. A recent Gallup poll shows that a rising number of Americans say they expect to rely heavily on social security as a source of retirement income. But as people live longer, the likelihood that they’ll require costly medical care or assistance increases. The struggle to pay for the healthcare needs of an aging American population highlights the need for a proper retirement plan that goes beyond social security and accounts for increasing life spans. More here and here.
Despite recent economic volatility, Americans still feel passing on good values is better than leaving behind an inheritance. A survey of baby boomers and adults over the age of 72 found that Americans’ feelings about leaving a legacy have not changed much since 2005, when the original survey was conducted. Among the results, 86 percent of boomers said that family stories were important to pass on and 75 percent said it was extremely important that future generations remembered their parents. The survey also found that baby boomers aren’t expecting much of an inheritance, though previous research estimates that two of three boomers will inherit something. Among participants over the age of 72, the vast majority said it was important to their children that they had a living will in case they become terminally ill and 78 percent said it was their responsibility to begin a conversation with their children about their legacy. More here.
Hepatitis C-related illnesses, such as liver cancer and cirrhosis, result in 15,000 deaths each year. And, because baby boomers account for more than 75 percent of all American adults infected with hepatitis C, most of those deaths occur among the boomer generation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released new guidelines recommending all baby boomers get a one time test, due to the fact that many people infected with the virus don’t know it because there are few noticeable symptoms. If all baby boomers were tested it could potentially identify as many as 800,000 additional people living with hepatitis C. And, because newly developed medical treatments can cure up to 75 percent of infections, the recommended test could prevent thousands of deaths. According to the CDC, baby boomers are five times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C than other adults. More here and here.
Despite conventional wisdom on the topic, a new survey finds that baby boomers are retiring in large numbers. The study found that 59 percent of boomers who have turned 65 are already, at least, partially retired. Among respondents, 45 percent are completely retired and 14 percent are working part-time. Half of the participants said they retired earlier than they had expected to and 43 percent said they are optimistic for the future. The study’s findings are contrary to many reports claiming the recent recession had baby boomers unprepared for retirement and expecting to work well beyond age 65. According to this study, the average age of retirement for boomers born in 1946 is 59.7 for men and 57.2 for women. More here.