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Are You a Baby Boomer?


By Rhonda Halterman, LivWell Seniors

In 2011, the first round of Baby Boomers—those Americans born between 1946 and 1964—turned 65. From now until 2030, ten thousand Baby Boomers will hit retirement age each day. Millions will begin to officially retire, collect social security checks, and go on Medicare. Other Boomers will keep on working–either out of financial necessity, or some less tangible need, like identity and self-worth.

In the several decades before the Boom, babies in the U.S. were born at a rate of about 2.5 million a year. Then, in 1946, this rate exploded to 3.4 million, and maintained this pace for the next few decades. The peak years were 1957 and 1961, with 4.3 million births a year. In all, these years produced about 76 million Baby Boomers.

The official retirement age to receive a Social Security check is 62. At 65, you will automatically receive Medicare, which covers basic health care at 80 percent. If you wait to retire until you are 67, your benefit will be about 30 percent higher than at 62. Wait another three years to retire, and you could receive a 75 percent bigger check. It certainly pays to wait.

Who are the Boomers?
Baby Boomers were born in an era that experienced great U.S. political and social upheaval. From race riots to the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam protests, the assassinations of JFK, MLK and RFK, and the man on the moon to free love and drug experimentation, Boomers saw a U.S. that was both financially prosperous, and socially turned on its head. Consider the U.S. economy between 1940 and 1960:

  • Gross National Product doubled
  • Real purchasing power increased by 30 percent
  • Four-fifths of American families owned at least one car
  • Home ownership increased to 61 percent

This growth was due to their parents, the Greatest Generation. The Boomers were responsible for some growth–consumer debt jumped from 22 percent in 1946 to 110 percent in 2002.

Boomer Statistics

The following Baby Boomer statistics may surprise, frighten, or enlighten you:

  • Baby Boomers make up 28 percent of the population.
  • Baby Boomers control 80 percent of personal financial assets.
  • One in three Americans over 65 relies on Social Security benefits alone.
  • In 2010, Social Security paid out more in benefits than it received in tax payments.
  • In 1950, 16 workers paid for each retiree’s SS benefit; in 2010, it was 3.3 workers, and by 2025, it’s projected to be two workers.

LivWell Seniors serves as a local agency providing community based resources that are 100 percent FREE to seniors and their families, as they are funded by the senior care providers that utilize their service and network of connections. For further information, contact us at 563-265-1553, or visit our website at www.livwellseniors.com. “The GIFT of friendship…a willingness to listen, a pair of helping hands, a whisper from the heart. That someone CARES and understands.”

Photo credit: CEFutcher/iStock