For a Gloomy Boomer: The One Thing that Makes All the Difference

Find out what can make all the difference!

I had lunch with Martina, an old friend, somebody in town on business with whom I connect every couple of years. She was sad, frustrated and resigned, and aside from telling her that I cared about her, and to take good care of herself, I had no solutions for any of the issues with which she was struggling.

Actually, struggling was too strong a word. This previously feisty woman, always full of zest and resourcefulness, was resigned, apathetic even. And she wasn’t the first old friend whose sad transformation I’d recently encountered. In fact, I’ve been through a series of lunches, coffees, calls and emails from old friends who are hitting the same general wall at pretty much the same moment. Sadly, the statistics bear my experiences out.

• According to a survey conducted by AARP, pre-retirement baby boomers ages 50-64 are more deeply anxious about the economy than both younger and older cohorts. Two-thirds are neither hopeful nor confident they will reach their financial goals and half don't think they'll ever be able to retire.

• In a study by the Pew Research Center, boomers are the gloomiest of all age groups about their finances, leading all the other generational cohorts on reporting that they've lost money on investments since the recession hit. Nearly six in 10 say their household finances have worsened.


• A study by Ernst & Young, "Americans for Secure Retirement," found that middle-income Americans entering retirement over the next seven years will have to reduce their standard of living by as much as well over a third to minimize the likelihood of outliving their financial assets.

Amongst my friends, one had gotten laid off and was going too quickly through savings. Another was already living on social security and having had no kids, worries about who will take care of her when she’s too old to do things like pay her own bills. Martins, the friend who had blown into town for lunch had kept her job, but was working frenetic hours at a career she’d burned out on years ago. Her financial adviser had run her numbers, and told her that unless she continued on at this pace for five more years, she’d run out of money at 87. “At this pace, I won’t last five more years, and what a waste my life would have been, that I never got the chance to do the things I’ve dreamt about in retirement.”

Martin would have called me for lunch anyway, to see if at the last minute, I was free. But this time she called me before setting any of her other appointments, to make sure we could grab an hour together.
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Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., Fierce with Age
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