Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The coming storm: 9 million retiring Baby Boomers

Perhaps it’s just as well Baby Boomers enjoyed a taste of retirement when they tuned in and dropped out in the 1960s. Most have been working ever since and — apart from the exceptions who enjoy spectacular entrepreneurial success — seem fated to work well into old age.

A Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce poll this week found only half of Canadian Boomers aged 45 to 64 have regular savings programs in place. And a TD Waterhouse survey found 31% of retirees aged 55 to 70 are spending more in retirement than expected.

Those who neither save nor have old-fashioned employer-provided defined-benefit pensions seem destined to toil at least until the traditional retirement age of 65. Many may opt for 70, since by waiting the extra five years, annual benefits paid out by the Canada Pension Plan will be 42% higher.

That’s assuming you can even find a place to toil in this depressingly stagnant economy. There’s an emerging trend called “unretirement,” as practised by — here’s a term you may not yet have encountered — “workampers.” That’s a contraction of “work camping,” which refers to an increasingly popular practice whereby aging Baby Boomers sell their principal residences and hit the road, often in recreational vehicles.

Couples or families travel across America and work a few days or weeks at or near minimum wage and/or exchange their labour for a place to stay (or a place to park the RV), according to Steve Anderson, president of Arkansas-based Possibilities Workamper News. (more)