an online resource for baby boomers

Baby Boomers Retire

The first wave of baby boomers is hitting the age of retirement and the ripple effect of this powerful generation transitioning into senior citizens will reverberate across every sector of American society. Baby boomer retirees are likely to flood Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and our country’s health care system and change the tide of our labor force, economy and the practice of law. Over 40,000 U.S. baby boomer lawyers will retire in the next decade and the legal needs of baby boomer clients will escalate, reshaping numerous areas of law practice.

By 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the 65+ population will be growing at a faster rate than the 20-64 population. In Maryland, 25 percent of the population will be over 55 years of age by 2020. Boomers have always had an overpowering affect on this country’s infrastructure, but these numbers demonstrate how drastically our demographic landscape will change in the next decade.
However, the “Peter Pan” generation does not plan to passively grow old. Boomers still embrace the concept of “youth” and are expected to set new trends as they strive to stay young in their senior years. This segment of our population has have been advised to prepare for roughly 30 to 40 years of retirement and many boomers plan to continue their current lifestyle when they retire.

So, retirement itself will take on a new meaning. The American Association of Retired People estimates 79 percent of baby boomers plan to work in some capacity during their retirement years. Upon hitting the ago of 65, many baby boomers will simply not leave the workforce and continue to work full-time. Others will opt to work part-time or seek a second, entirely different career. Many of the boomers who choose traditional retirement plan to remain active in volunteer work and community service.

Thus, the upcoming transition of the retirement of millions of baby boomers is predicted to be the single largest transformation in our modern workforce. Boomers have been the primary source of the labor force for years and their retirement will leave a big hole because there is a dearth of younger workers to fill the gap. Thus, labor shortages are anticipated.

In addition to the cadre of actual workers that will be lost, professions and businesses will also lose valuable talent, skills, experience and knowledge when boomers depart. Fewer younger works will result in an absence of younger talent and experience to fill the void in the workforce left by the high volume of retirees. This dearth of younger workers could also wreak havoc on this country’s Social Security system because fewer workers mean fewer people supporting the massive aging boomer population in its golden years.

The aftermath of baby boomer retirees will be felt in the American employment market and economy for years. Boomers have always boosted the American economy through their strong purchase power, but as they retire their resources will tighten. At the same time, their needs for services, especially in the field of health care, will soar.

But, most professions and businesses, especially those dedicated to service, will be affected by the boomer retirement in one way or another. While the workforce and the health care industry are the two most pronounced, repercussions will be found in everything from real estate, with boomers downsizing, to growth in key areas of law practice, most notably, elder law. This could present interesting challenges and unique opportunities to the legal profession.

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Boomers Resource Guide is a special supplement to the Senior Citizen's Guide