Boomers Will Work Because They Have To

Business Week headline: Why 70 is the new 50.

Here we go again. A best-selling author wrote a column about a new book in a business magazine mis-classifying boomers and making vast generalizations.

In terms of health, longevity, and view of life, baby boomers in their sixties and seventies will be more like their parents and grandparents were at 50—thus people can work longer if they want to.

Guess what Einstein? Boomers are 61 years old and younger. I guess when your fact checker is 25 those things slip by.

The story explains how businesses need to manage retirements, rather than let retirements manage them.

No shit Sherlock. So what’s changed? Boomers represent a larger part of the work force, but it’s always been that way.

Some 60% to 70% say that they want to work into their sixties and seventies because they will miss the camaraderie and the challenge of work, or because they can’t afford to retire. Companies are switching from defined-benefit pension plans to defined-contribution pension plans, personal savings rates are low, and there’s a lot of anxiety about paying for retirement health care—all these things are also causing people to rethink the age they stop working. But most want to work differently.

I’m telling you the camaraderie and challenge reasons are bunk. The real reason boomers will keep working (those that don’t draw a union or government pension) is because they can’t afford to retire. Companies screwed long term employees when they changed pension plans. Every tax law change in the last thirty years was aimed squarely at getting more taxes from the middle class. Medicare and Social Security are broken and won’t be fixed.

So boomers will continue to work – because they have to. Of course the author of the book on which the story was based says Jack Welch of G.E. fame is making a bundle after retirement. Yeah, Jack Welch, a legend!

There is one thing right in the column, in the last paragraph.

It will be very difficult to generalize about baby boomers because of the large diversity represented.

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Boomers Will Work Because They Have To — 4 Comments

  1. A very passionate post.

    I do like the idea of 70 being the new 50. I want my parents around for a long time. 🙂

  2. Good for you! I’m glad you didn’t tell me otherwise, because my computer is monitored by Homeland Security.

  3. Your (frisky) blog is worth reading and risking the the wrath of Homeland Security. Best wishes. Adnohr 🙂