Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Writing on the Wall?

Many people I know who are in their mid-50s are "retiring." They're leaving jobs they've held for long periods of time, sometimes decades, to do something else.

Some are leaving to take care of grandchildren. Some, like me, have health issues. Some want to travel and live life before time takes its toll on their knees and hips.

I wonder, though, if deep down we don't see the writing on the wall. We're not going to have the longevity of our forefathers. The health care is not going to be there, and what is there will be unaffordable, unless there are great changes in that industry.

Social Security may not be available when I hit the age to draw it. I still have a ways to go to get there, so it's not a stretch for that to be a concern. My husband now expects to die working, even if that means he's 80 years old. He likes to work but I'd like for him to not be working at 80.

The folks I know who are ending careers do not seem to me to be overly wealthy. Usually what I see are women stepping down, with husbands still on the job. Maybe they have enough saved to cushion the blow, or maybe these women are moving into other work arenas that I know nothing of.

Still, it's an unsteady future those of us who are at the low-end of the Baby Boomer generation, and Generation X, face. (I missed the Generation X label by a year and I identify more with that generation than the Baby Boomer one.)

A recent story from marketwatch.com says Gen X "may already be financially worse off than other generations in a number of ways."

The article lists credit card debt, loads of spending on non-essentials (like eating out), and lack of savings for retirement as problems for Gen X.
“While Generation X continues to struggle with saving and spending, millennials — although not without their own unique financial challenges — seem better positioned for retirement than their closest predecessors. Median retirement savings for Gen X is only $35,000, the same median amount as millennials, despite Gen Xers being much closer to retirement,” according to a study of 3,000 Americans by Allianz Life.

Additionally, having children with financial demands (even if they are adults) plus caring for aging parents (Baby Boomers) is also crunching the financial stability of this generation.

All of this makes me wonder if the people I see retiring, including myself, aren't realizing that the retirement you see on TV where you go play tennis and golf are simply dreams that will never materialize.

Perhaps stepping out of the workforce pre-retirement age is a way to spit in the face of the establishment, that free market that wants everyone enslaved to a corporation until you're 75 years old.

Or maybe we're all just tired.

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