What do you fear about retirement?

Feb 26, 2009

Baby Boomers Ain't Going to Retire in Style

The serious decline of house prices, the stock market crash, and the economic recession (could be upgraded to a Depression) have ravaged the wealth, or net worth, of Americans near the traditional retirement age of 65.

Indeed, a survey in February 2009 gives some sobering numbers:

Families headed by people 55 to 64 years old have seen their net worth — assets such homes and savings minus debts such as mortgages and credit cards - plunge by 38 percent in the past few years, the Center for Economic and Policy Research says.

Their net worth fell from a median of $226,000 to a median of $140,000 from 2004 to 2009, according to the estimate, and that includes their declining share of home equity, which is the value of what they have left in their property after first and second mortgages and home equity loans are deducted.
Keep in mind that this $140,000 is for households headed by a babyboomer, so if the household includes a man and woman, the median is only $70,000 per individual.
This study found that the loss of wealth due to the collapse of the housing bubble and the plunge in the stock market will make the baby boomers far more dependent on Social Security for Retirement and Medicare than previous generations.
What's more, the study found that Houses and Money don't necessarily go hand in hand. Baby boomers renters in two quintiles are actuallly being better off than homeowners. In other words, these baby boomers were further ahead by renting a pad than by buying a home.
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