‘Interesting Times’ Ahead
With a multitude of tensions between dreams and reality, the years spent in retirement may just turn out to be the most interesting part of the lives of the baby boomer generation.
Of course, we mean ‘interesting’ in the Chinese fortune cookie interpretation of that cocktail party word, made famous in the exhortation “May you live in interesting times.”
The main factor in the anticipated tension in the boomers’ golden years is, needless to say, money, or rather, the lack of a sufficient amount of it. Maybe we should start calling them “the gold-plated years” now so that when they finally roll around it will be less of a shock for everyone.
Among the factors accounting for money headaches in the future are the hurly-burly rush into indebtedness now as retirement nears, the gratification of present desires that creates a pitiful amount of saving for the future, killer tuition bills for boomers who had their kids late in life, etc., etc.
No wonder that more boomers are looking favorably at phasing in retirement as opposed to calling it quits to working at 65, 66 or 67.
Of course, many people are thinking about continuing to work in their “retirement” years because they really like the work they’re doing or they finally have that chance to make the career change they couldn’t before or they think they’re going to be bored out their minds with all that time on their hands. After all, how much golf can one human being play?
But because boomers are among the great rationalizers of all time and are certainly ‘the greatest generation’ in this regard, it’s likely that their manifold money problems will be transmuted–with barely one inward glance–into a desire to really wanting to prolong the work experience.
The piling up of debt is troubling, particularly in terms of mortgages. The meteoric rise of exotic mortgages in the last couple of years is downright scary, especially the variety known as interest-only mortgages. These seem to be flourishing in areas where housing prices are literally going through the roof and are being taken out by folks who would otherwise not be able to afford the payments.