By Norse N. Blazzard and Judith A. Hasenauer
Recent years have seen much research and a great deal of publicity about the prospective plight of the post-World War II generation–the “baby boomers.”
The huge numbers of boomers have caused concern about the stability of the Social Security system and spawned the growth of the retirement planning industry.
At least one commentator has compared the passage of the baby boomer generation through our society to attempting to “pass a pig through a python.” The mass of baby boomers is so large in comparison to the rest of our society, it can be easily observed as it passes “through the python” of our society into old age.
As a result of the publicity about the passage of baby boomers into retirement age, everyone seems to be giving increased attention to concerns about longevity planning for retirees. Immediate annuities are being designed throughout the life insurance industry, and there are ever-increasing numbers of seminars on annuitization, payout needs for qualified plans and the like.
Despite all this attention to the need for retirement planning, there seems to be a retirement need that has not been considered. This is the need for the huge generation of boomers to be able to provide for others within their family circles who will be dependent on them when they retire.
It has been commented that the baby boom generation is the first generation in history that, in retirement, will need to support, not only themselves, but their parents (and perhaps grandparents), their children and their grandchildren.
We all know of people who have had their children return to the nest long after childhood would normally end.
Likewise, we all know of people who have “inherited” grandchildren to bring up, because their own children could not cope with the responsibilities of parenthood.
Moreover, many baby boomers will have the responsibility of giving care to their parents or grandparents long after the boomers themselves are in retirement.
This should suggest a product solution to the problem that can be provided by the life insurance industry.