How Baby Boomers Retire Compared To How Our Parents Did It

Last Update: March 25, 2016

How baby boomers retire compared to how our parents did it, is like comparing night to day. One reason for this is that we boomers

Boomers with decisions

came from a different place than our parents did. Our parents lived through the Great Depression. Shoot, at one time they didn’t have two nickels to rub together. Consequently our parents have learned to be conservative with the way they spent money. We boomers, on the other hand were born into a time when the economy was booming, and we learned to spend money liberally.

To finish this thought. When it came time for our parents to retire, chances are they had a significant amount of money set aside to support their retirement. Many of us boomers have found us facing retirement, and scratching our heads, wondering how we’re going to get this retirement thing done.

Retirement for our parents was a relatively simple matter. When it came time for them to retire, they just collected their pension, and started their new laid back lifestyle. We boomers, anyway most boomers, don’t have a pension plan to collect on. Therefore we have had to manage our own retirement. We have to make sure we have saved up enough money, and have a sufficient retirement income to supports ourselves for 25 to 30 years after we retire. That by the way, is a task that many boomers have not been very good at. Myself included.

I haven’t seen any figures on the retirement rate for our parents. But I’m comfortable in saying that the retirement rate of us boomers is far greater than that of our parents. Boomers are reaching retirement age at a rate of 10,000 a day. That in and of itself make retirement a whole different ball game, from the retirement of our parents.

Things we have to consider, than our parents didn’t.

I alluded earlier to the fact that we boomers are expected to live 25, maybe even 30 years after we reach retirement age. That doesn’t mean that we are healthier than our parent, quite the opposite. Modern medicine is going to keep us going longer. But at what cost. We boomers have witnessed the cost of healthcare raise, and continue to rise. We don’t know, and the smart guys in Washington don’t know how expensive health care is going to get. I just pray that when it’s time for me to pass, that I go fast, and don’t have to spend any time in the hospital to wait to die. If I don’t die fast, I may not be able to afford to die in the first place.

We boomers have to manage our own retirement plans. I have already mentioned this, so I won’t go over that issue again. What I do need to mention is that we boomers are faced with a bunch of options, as to how to finance our retirement. These options are complex, and chances are we need professional help in developing a valid retirement plan.

One thing which we can do ourselves, and which has become relatively easy, is find out how much it is going to cost us to retire comfortably. All we have to do is Google “retirement calculator”. A bunch of retirement calculator programs are there for us to utilize for free. I have listed here three that I found useful:

I have tried all three of these retirement calculators, and am impressed with how easy they are to use. Also the results of these calculators is a real eye opener. It’s important that we save a significant amount of money, and develop forms of retirement income.

Bucket list includes service

Boomers seem to be getting off on building a bucket list. Depending on what in the bucket list, it can cost a boatload of money to complete a bucket list. Our parents, on the other hand, were more content on living out their golden years in the home, and community that they lived in when they were younger.

While our parents seemed satisfied staying at home, many boomers want to travel. I know I do. Most boomers have, in the course of their lives, had multiple types of employment, and lived in various locations. I for instance was raised in Utah. The home of the greatest snow on earth. I thought that I’d live out my entire life in Utah, and then I met the love of my life, who just happened to be Hawaiian. Now I live in Hawaii, the home of the greatest beaches on earth. That’s right I gave up great snow for lots of sand. I gave up skiing for year round golf.

The point I’m trying to make is that since boomers have not shied away from moving from place to place during their working years, they are likely to look forward to traveling to the places they have always wanted to see, but have not been able to get there.

Our parents had the luxury of being able to have a Social Security system to supplement their retirement income. That was something they could count on. For the time being, we can count on SSI being there for us. The problem is that if things don’t change, by the year 2035, the SSI system will be broke.

My first thought, when I found out about the problem with financing SSI, was chances are by 2035 I will probably be dead anyway. That line of reasoning doesn’t hold water though. In order for the smart dudes in Washington to solve the SSI problem, they have to come up with a solution now.

There are a number of fixes for SSI, but I’ll just list what appears to be the top three. They are:

  • Cutting the Benefit. SSI was never designed to be a prime source of our retirement income in the first place, but for many people it is. Cutting the benefit is going to hurt a lot of people.
  • Raise taxes to finance SSI. That’s what we need is another healthy tax increase. The people collecting SSI benefits will be taxed also. Think about it.
  • Decrease the cost of living adjustment. Unless someone can figure out how to stem inflation, the cost of living adjustment needs to remain the same, or be more generous.

Please forgive me. I have mentioned these solutions for the ailing Social Security system as food for thought only. I do not have a answer for this problem. I hope somebody does.

Two things we need to pay attention to

The two things we need to take a close look at when preparing for retirement is, the size of our nest egg, and the development of our

Doing what we enjoy

retirement income.

Our nest egg is the amount of money we have saved for our retirement years. It’s our fun money. The money we’ll be using to complete our bucket list. The money we’ll use to pay for stuff we didn’t count on having to take care of. For example, health care cost. The idea is not to spend down our nest egg to rapidly.

Our retirement income is funds that will take care of our essential living expenses. Food ,gas, insurance, utilities, stuff like that. But where does this money come from. Pensions, if we worked for a company that still offers a pension plan. From 401 K or IRA plans. From Roth accounts, or money available from our investments. Social Security is also a contributor to our retirement income.

For those younger people who are reading this post. You are never too young to start preparing for retirement. If baby boomers are finding it hard to retire, millennials are going to find retiring even tougher.


That’s all I got for now. The picture I painted for our retirement may not be the brightest, but I know that we can overcome the challenges that we face. We boomers have been overcoming challenges all our lives.

I do want to hear from you if you have any ideas you’d like to share. Please leave your comments below.

Thank You


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Ken-Pringle Premium
This is so accurate Darrell. Most of us did not plan
this one out very well. I know I did not. Fortunately
we have the opportunity to build an online business
to help take care of our retirement needs.
Have a Blessed Easter my friend.

Thank you for sharing this with us.
darrellw Premium
Hi Ken, Every cloud has a silver lining. I sure wish I would have better prepared myself for retirement. But now I have to opportunity to build my own business. That's something II never thought I would be doing. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.
Ken-Pringle Premium
My pleasure Darrell. I am building mine as well.
with a couple great companies. I have been at this for a while.
tclough Premium
Having retired just 8 months ago myself, I can confirm that these are very important considerations. I was fortunate to have a grandfathered pension plan but that is pretty rare these days and will be even less common for those younger people who wont be retiring anytime soon. That just means you will have to look out for yourselve and plan well ahead.

You would all do well to heed Darrell's warnings. Wait to long and it really will be to late to make up the difference.

Thank you Darrell,
darrellw Premium
Thank you tclough for taking the time to read and comment on this post. You know it is so important that, younger boomer, and the two next generations, that are coming along, get their retirement affairs in order. I know it's tough when we are living pay check to pay check, but what ever we can do will be benefit us in the future.
Thanks again
PjGermain Premium
Very interesting! Thanks for the insight Darrell!
darrellw Premium
Thank you PjGermain, We just have to keep swinging the bat.
BeingGreat Premium
The one variable that the calculators, nobody, knows is how long you are going to live. Other statistics say 20 years or so. But for instance I choose to make my own guesstimate, I'm now 67, of 10 years knowing my health and health issues as well as the fact that my parents only lived to 75. That's my plan. I am working about 20 hours a week to supplement my SSI. I moved from NYC where I lived my whole life to Tyler TX where my rent is a third of what it was and I am close to 3 of my grandchildren. I have simple tastes and so far things are working out. Another $2,000 from WA and I would be in heaven
darrellw Premium
Hi BeingGreat, It sounds like you are doing the right things. And that is going to make you happy.
Thank you for your comment