Tuesday, December 28, 2010


"Through a combination of procrastination and bad timing, many baby boomers are facing a personal finance disaster just as they're hoping to retire. Starting in January, more than 10,000 baby boomers a day will turn 65, a pattern that will continue for the next 19 years."

So let's see, we've got high unemployment, much higher than these jacked up numbers from the government represent, stretching on and on and unprecedented demand for Social Security beginning next month and continuing for the next 19 years.

There is not and never has been a lockbox or trust fund for SSI as our politicians would like us to believe. It's funded from the taxes of current workers, a classic Ponzi scheme about to unravel. Why? Because the funding source, the employed, is fast drying up at just the time the demand is going to increase at a level never before seen. And Medicare will have exactly the same problems.

So now the third rail has to be touched. Not just touched but torn out and reconfigured. Whatever replaces it will be nothing like what was there before. All of us in the Baby Boomer tsunami of retirees will need to find a way to support ourselves because the government can't. And guess what? If we can find a job, which we may because we can work for a lot less than younger people, that job we take will be taken from a dwindling pool of jobs and some other guy with a wife and kids will lose out. The unemployment numbers will look better but the jobs will all be something akin to a greeter at WalMart. And really, how many of those do we need.

So here is the future. No more villages full of happy oldsters swinging clubs in Florida. Families will consolidate, just like they always did in the first 5000 years or so of history and they do in most of the rest of the world. Mom and dad will live with their kids and they'll do the cooking and cleaning and baby sitting while the younger people earn the money. As the funding for Medicaid slowly dries up health care for old people will get less comprehensive and life spans will slip. In other words, we won't live as long. Which is probably just as well because there aren't enough beds in the retirement homes for all of us. There won't be enough money to pay for them anyway. The good thing is that we'll die in our beds with the grandkids around, just like people used to.

We need to get our minds wrapped around this new, at least in America, reality. Our standard of living is falling and it's going to continue to do so. This problem of what to do with the old will be one of the first big places it shows up because the Baby Boomers will force the issue, just as we have in every other stage of our lives. You can't get around the numbers and we've got 'em.


  1. I think you have posited a best case scenario - many of the boomers either don't have families or are estranged from them.

    I have recently realized that I will need to work until I am 70 - I just hope I can keep my job that long!

  2. Agreed. Most families, due to divorce and other issues, either can't or won't care for their older members. We've got a good 20 years of real, evil, ugliness ahead of us.