Senior with hands on walker

"If the current situation remains static, most boomers will learn the hard way that old age is not cracked up to what they expected"

I am a baby boomer. We boomers, the hula hoop generation, are noticeably unlike our ancestors in too many ways to count.

The Greatest Generation comprised folks who weathered the economic downturn during the Great Depression and always told tales of how really bad it was growing up poor and “having to do without.”

 Being frugal and “getting along with a lot less” seemed to be the generation’s universal motto.

The Silent Generation that followed were disciplined and value-oriented like their parents. They were determined to make a better life than they experienced, for their kids.

As of my last birthday, I asked myself if our generation’s advancing years will continue to resemble our elders.

Remember, the baby boomer generation grew up more privileged than our parents and grandparents. As many boomers continue settling into retirement, do things appear to be changing?

The answer seems to lie with the federal government, the National Institutes of Health, AARP, the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the US National Library of Medicine – all of whom declare that it will be different for us.

This so-called difference matters a great deal.

They tell us that we are facing what they have coined as “The 2030 Problem.”

AARP reports that “all boomers and one in five U.S. residents will have reached retirement age (65) by the year 2030, and age 65+ adults are projected to outnumber children by the same year.”

There will be too many senior Americans in 2030, and not enough younger folks to care for us as we age.

The principal findings of the above name sources confirm that “in order to meet the long-term care needs of baby boomers, social and public policy changes must begin soon. 

“Meeting the financial and social service burdens of growing numbers of elders will not be a daunting task if necessary changes are made now rather than when baby boomers actually need long-term care.”

In essence, there will too many old folks and not enough resources or children to take care of us.

 “The 2030 Problem” is probably one of the best-kept secrets out there. But is it really a secret? The federal government has known for a long time that the boomers will break the bank.

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid have all been overwhelmed for years by the growing numbers of beneficiaries being added to their rolls.

Even more alarming is the fact that most baby boomers have little or no retirement socked away once they leave the workforce, either voluntarily or due to permanent disability or illness.

Yet, boomers still don’t seem to have that “sense of worry” built into their DNA like their parents and grandparents. It’s truly time for us to wake up and smell the roses.

If the current situation remains static, most boomers will learn the hard way that old age is not cracked up to what they expected and long-term care plays an enormous role in determining if retirement savings will be sustainable.

The time to act is now.

Sue Ritchie is a certified senior advisor, certified by the Corporation for Long Term Care and is the owner of Ritchie Financial / The LTC STORE in Ahwatukee. Information: ritchieinsure.com, theltcstore.com. 480-759-5955.

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