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January 2024

A Country on the Cusp of "Peak 65"

Baby-boomer-442252_1280In a January 2024 research paper, the Retirement Income Institute reports that 2024 "marks the beginning of the 'Peak 65® Zone,' the largest surge of retirement age Americans turning 65 in our nation's history. Over 4.1 million Americans will turn 65 each year through 2027, which is more than 11,200 every day. By the year 2030, all baby boomers will be age 65 or older."

The Retirement Income Institute says that "fewer employers offer a traditional defined-pension retirement plan that provides much needed protected income throughout retirement. The old retirement system no longer fits the needs of today's American workforce. The result is that more Americans are currently at risk of entering retirement with Social Security as their only means of protected income, leaving many exposed to financial insecurity and lacking sufficient, reliable, and protected  retirement income that will last for the rest of their lives."

This assessment is troubling for millions of Boomers who are part of the "Peak 65" surge. It is likely one of the compelling reasons why a significant percentage of those age 65 and older remain in the workforce. According to the Pew Research Center, 19 percent of Americans age 65 or older were employed in 2023 -- nearly double the rate of those who were working 35 years ago. On average, they are working more hours than in previous decades. Today, 62 percent of older workers are working full time. In addition, older workers are twice as likely as younger workers to be self-employed.

Working may generate income today, but it may not result in enough to support our lifestyles in later years. That's why the Retirement Income Institute sees the old "three-legged stool" retirement model of an employer-provided defined-benefit pension plan, personal savings and Social Security as outmoded. Today, Social Security is the principal source of retirement income for most retirees, with Social Security benefits representing about 30 percent of the income for those over the age of 65.

So what is the answer for Boomers? Many, but not all, have been able to use investment vehicles such as 401(k) plans and IRAs to help secure their future retirement. Others plan to work as long as they possibly can. The Retirement Income Institute suggests potentially adding annuities to the mix to create what it calls a "personal pension plan." They point out, however, that annuities can be confusing to consumers, so Boomers need to educate themselves about these investments.

Many Boomers recognize that today, it is more important than ever to work in partnership with a financial advisor to develop a prudent plan to fund a comfortable retirement and be sure enough capital can be available when needed. If you haven't already worked with a financial advisor, don't wait. You are part of "Peak 65" and time is running out.

On Climate, Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Screen Shot 2024-01-08 at 3.49.23 PM2023 was the hottest year in recorded history -- and this year may very well be hotter. That doesn't bode well for humanity specifically or the planet in general.

That's why the new book, Am I Too Old to Save the Planet? by Lawrence MacDonald, is especially timely. While many of us may just helplessly wring our hands, shake our heads or look the other way, MacDonald describes actions both little and big on climate change Boomers can take to make a difference.

Not surprisingly, MacDonald begins in Part 1 ("How we got here") by laying blame for climate change squarely on our generation. Unfortunately, Boomers have a lot of mea culpa to do.

More importantly, however, the author makes it very clear with a sense of true urgency that we can do something positive to affect climate change. In Part 2, MacDonald offers specific suggestions, beginning at a personal level and detailing six actions anyone can take to make an impact:

  1. Stop wasting food and eat less meat
  2. Drive less: Walk, bike and take public transportation more
  3. Move your money
  4. Install rooftop solar
  5. Upgrade your car to an EV
  6. Fly less -- or not at all

A key point MacDonald makes, however, is "Don't get stuck at personal action!" While each of these actions can have a real measurable effect if enough Boomers do them, the situation is dire enough for all of us to go beyond personal actions alone and become climate activists, says MacDonald.

The remainder of the book covers what MacDonald believes is needed if we are to thwart the effects of climate change. In short, he is recommending that Boomers take some serious interruptive actions to make a real difference. His call to action is likely to remind some Boomers of the passion they shared when they demonstrated and marched for civil rights, against the Vietnam war and on behalf of the environment.

MacDonald offers not just encouragement but solid suggestions as well as resources. Writes MacDonald, "Sadly, it's too late to restore the gentle, predictable climate that we knew in our youth. But it's not too late -- and we are not too old -- to save a livable planet for our children, grandchildren, and the generations coming after. Every tenth of a degree makes a difference."

We would do well to heed MacDonald's advice. You'd do well to read his book. is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

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