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July 2021

The Resiliency of Retirees

Grandparents-1054311_1920Looking back at the last twelve to eighteen months, it would be perfectly legitimate to think retirees have adopted a pessimistic attitude. The damaging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on every aspect of life certainly cannot be understated. But like a phoenix rising from the ashes, American retirees have a kind of resiliency that keeps them not just positive but optimistic about the future. In fact, the optimism of retirees may be one of the under-told stories of the pandemic.

The 31st annual Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) proves the point. Conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) in association with Greenwald Research, the RCS is the longest-running survey of its kind, measuring worker and retiree confidence about retirement. The 2021 survey, conducted in January 2021, surveyed 3,017 American workers and retirees. Just over half of the respondents (1,510) were retirees. Let's take a look at some of the statistics from the survey as they relate to retirees:

  • Only 23 percent of retirees say they feel less confident as a result of the pandemic and its economic impact.
  • 80 percent of retirees remain confident that they'll have enough money for a comfortable retirement, and 1 in 3 retirees say they are very confident.
  • 6 in 10 retirees rely on defined benefit or pension plans for part of their income. Social Security and personal savings are the most common forms of income for retirees.
  • Nearly half of retirees retire earlier than they expected; reasons stated are because they felt they could afford to, because of a health problem or disability, or because of changes with their organization.
  • 8 in 10 retirees report that their overall lifestyle — including traveling, spending time with family, or volunteering — is as expected or better. Nearly 3 in 10 say their retirement lifestyle is better than they expected.
  • 6 in 10 retirees say their overall expenses and spending in retirement are as expected and 1 in 8 say they’re lower than expected.
  • Three-quarters of retirees feel confident they will have enough money to take care of medical expenses in retirement, an increase from 2020 among retirees. Also up significantly from last year and reaching an all-time-high for retirees, 3 in 4 retirees are confident that Medicare will continue to offer benefits of at least equal value to those received today.
  • Yet, health care costs continue to be a top concern for retirees. 1 in 3 retirees say their health and dental expenses were higher than expected, which is comparable to last year. Separate from spending on routine necessities and bills, 1 in 3 retirees say they continue to reserve money to ensure they have enough for health and long-term-care expenses.

For a majority of retirees, their income from Social Security is stable, their Medicare insurance is adequate and their personal savings and retirement plans have probably increased in value because of a generally high-flying stock market. Retirees are also consumers -- and for June and the four months prior, the Consumer Confidence Index(R) increased, and "is currently at its highest level since the onset of the pandemic’s first surge in March 2020," according to Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board. "Consumers’ short-term optimism rebounded, buoyed by expectations that business conditions and their own financial prospects will continue improving in the months ahead. While short-term inflation expectations increased, this had little impact on consumers’ confidence or purchasing intentions."

All things considered, retirees seem to be a resilient bunch. That just may be a silver lining for Boomers starting to emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown.

Image by Kim Heimbuch from Pixabay is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Read about 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s! 

Age Discrimination Costs Everyone

Peter-van-eijk-eiDw0oX8YQQ-unsplashAnalysts, commentators and bloggers (including myself) have long been writing about the discriminatory actions of American businesses against workers as young as 50-plus. Companies have found numerous ways, such as reorganizations, downsizing, layoffs and the like, to evade federal laws against age discrimination. As a result, Boomer workers are often the first to be let go, even if they've had an excellent work record and have shown loyalty to their employer.

A startling report from AARP, based on research and analysis conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit, points to the economic impact of age discrimination in the workplace. First, here are some basic facts from the report about the 50-plus workforce:

  • 117.4 million people in the U.S. are age 50-plus
  • Because of the COVID 19 pandemic and other economic factors, many now plan to work well past the age of 65; in fact, over 40 percent of workers age 65-plus intend to continue working into their 70s
  • In 2018, the 50-plus population supported 88.6 million jobs and $5.7 trillion in wages and salaries; this demographic segment, just 35 percent of the total population, contributed 40 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Get ready for the real shocker. According to this study:

"The economy missed out on an additional $850 billion to U.S. GDP in 2018 -- a figure the size of Pennsylvania's economy -- because of age discrimination. This gap could rise to $3.9 trillion in 2050."

 The report goes on to state:

"Reducing involuntary retirement, underemployment, and unemployment duration among the 50-plus population could have driven an average increase of 4.1% in GDP in 2018. In 2050, an uplift of 6.3% could be generated."

AARP's "The Longevity Economy" (registered trademark) outlook "measures the 50-plus population's overall contribution to GDP, employment, wages and salaries, and taxes through 2050, and analyzes its unique effect within different industries. The economic contribution of people age 50-plus was worth $8.3 trillion in 2018, and it is forecast to more than triple to $26.8 trillion by 2050."

Digging into the report's data reveals some sobering observations:

  • People age 50 to 64 experience longer unemployment than other groups
  • Women age 50-plus spend an average of 31.4 weeks unemployed -- longer than men
  • Lower income workers are more likely to feel trapped in their present role as a result of age discrimination
  • Minorities feel less able to re-enter the workforce because of age discrimination
  • Involuntary retirement costs the economy the most.

Many of us may view age discrimination as patently unfair, treating it as a moral or ethical issue. That is certainly one way to look at it. But AARP has elevated the discussion of age discrimination to a new level, demonstrating its impact on the American economy as a whole. It's time for all Americans -- in particular business executives and political leaders -- to wake up to the real cost of age discrimination.

You can obtain the full AARP report (PDF) at the link below:

Download AARP-age-discrimination-economic-impact

Photo by Peter van Eijk on Unsplash is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Read about 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s! 

July Half-Price Sale on eBooks for Boomers

For the month of July only, take advantage of a special sale for readers of Happily Rewired. The following eBooks are available through July 31 for half price:GW Three books
Boomer Brand Winners & Losers: 156 Best & Worst Brands of the 50s and 60s
This remarkable book features fascinating stories of 156 best and worst brands of the Boomer era. Relive the days of Cap’n Crunch and Cocoa Puffs, E-Z Pop and Pop-Tarts, cap guns and comic books. Recall the time when automobiles ruled the road and a transistor radio was “advanced technology.” Learn how television played a key role in brand advertising. Discover which brands blossomed and which were a bust. Boomer Brand Winners & Losers is a wondrous walk down Memory Lane!

Available in all eBook formats including PDF
Regular price: $4.99 On sale price: $2.49
How to order: Go to
Use code SSW50 when you check out to get this eBook at half price! 

Boomer Brands: Iconic Brands that Shaped Our Childhood
This unique book reminisces about the beloved brands Boomers first met in the 50s and 60s. Read “Boomer Brand Cameos” of over fifty of the brands you grew up with: Disney, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, Good Humor, Howard Johnson, Hush Puppies, MAD, Ovaltine, Twinkies, WIFFLE Ball and many more. Most of these brands began during the Boomer era and are still around. Plus, you'll gain rare insight into how these iconic brands shaped your childhood and have a lasting impact on your life. Boomer Brands is meant to be read by Boomers, shared with Boomers, and savored for the memories!

Available in all eBook formats including PDF
Regular price: $4.99 On sale price: $2.49
How to order: Go to
Use code SSW50 when you check out to get this eBook at half price! 

Let’s Make Money, Honey: The Couple’s Guide to Starting a Service Business
By a baby boomer couple who started a small service business as a second career, this how-to guide covers planning, financing, outfitting, and launching a service business, as well as operations, marketing, sales, customer service, and managing growth. Included are useful tools to help couples assess their business interests and business compatibility. Let’s Make Money, Honey is a must-read for Boomer couples, especially those exploring encore careers.

Available in all eBook formats including PDF
Regular price: $6.99 On sale price: $3.49
How to order: Go to
Use code SSW50 when you check out to get this eBook at half price! 

Re-Entry: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and (Almost) Love the Pandemic

Ismail-mohamed-sovile-vvd8f02y5_c-unsplashMy wife and I just returned from our first airplane trip in a year and a half. The last one we took in December 2019 was well before our COVID-19 lockdown began. Having been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine this past February, I had a high degree of confidence that I would be protected from the coronavirus. I proudly carried my vaccination card in my wallet, almost as if it was a psychological shield. Still, as a 70-plus Boomer, a bit of apprehension lurked in the back of my brain.

I was reassured by the strict rules imposed at the airports we utilized and on each flight we took. Masks were mandatory throughout the air travel experience. From the moment we stepped into the airport, on and off planes, to the moment we stepped out of the airport, we were in a sea of totally masked people. The only time I had to lower my mask was so the TSA agent could match my face to the photo on my license. Flight attendants greeted us with hand sanitizer packets. The safety briefings given by the flight attendants reinforced the mask requirement. All of the flights were nearly full, so we did have to sit next to strangers -- but I thought masked strangers were better than unmasked strangers. I didn't hear any grumbling from people around me about wearing masks, either at the airports or on the flights. Admittedly, being in close proximity to so many people was a bit disconcerting, but I put my faith not just in masks but in the vaccine.

We were traveling from North Carolina, which has basically done away with mask requirements, to Oregon, which continued to enforce mask wearing because of lingering high infection rates. It was interesting to be thrown back in time, visiting a city in a state that was just beginning to loosen its pandemic constraints. Restaurants were still largely doing takeout and outdoor dining only; very few restaurants had socially distanced indoor dining available. The signs posted on doors of restaurants and stores varied. Some read "Masks required," while others stated, "Masks required if you are not fully vaccinated." I saw only one sign that asked for "proof of vaccination" if you wanted to enter the establishment unmasked.

Seeing a masked world, and then realizing we were on the cusp of an unprecedented Pacific Northwest heatwave (it arrived about the time we were departing Oregon) contributed to an other-worldly travel experience. All in all, though, it was incredibly liberating to travel again. I imagine not everyone will feel comfortable going through a crowded airport or getting on an airplane right now. But as for me, I learned to stop worrying and love the freedom that comes from being released from a pandemic prison. 

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Read about 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s!