Friday, October 8, 2010

Talkin' 'bout Your Generation

Sigh, Baby Boomers and Baby Zoomers? I recall a commercial by Dennis Hopper quoting the tag line: "Dreams Don't Retire" about retirement. The Baby Boomers defined denial, now they can actually live it. As part of working in the medical field I have been forced to sit through several meetings on how this new generation of retirees are going to be more active, savvy, "hip". I recently had a customer buying software for his "B" career argue with me that paper files were more efficient. Yes, when you had an efficient secretary to file them and retrieve them for you. Boomers insist that they're going to keep on working till they're septuagenarians, then have an active and exciting "retirement" doing something "they always wanted to do" like gymnastics, wrestling and mountain climbing. A "second act" so to speak.

Well Dennis Hopper is dead, so I guess his dreams didn't exactly "retire." He did leave a messy estate that ended up suing his sweet. Not quite the "second act" he was going for. Most of the people in these symposiums are baby boomers themselves who in one breath are counting the days to retirement, but are excited to be able to keep their old jobs at the same time. So what it means that they are collecting their retirement at the same time drawing a salary. They are "consulting." they are doing their old jobs but just showing up at 10:30 and leaving after lunch.

The problem with this? Well, basically a younger person will have to wait till this "consultant" decides that even showing up for work at 10:30 is too much and would rather spend time on the golf course. I understand that many of these retirees might need to work a few years after 65 to "make up" for the loss in the value of retirement assets. But by that age they should be out of the market all together. Plus, retirees today are more likely to have pensions not just the crappy 401K plans that people under 50 get.

By refusing to retire boomers are being selfish and self-centered. Oh wait, isn't that why they are called the "me" generation? I continually hear from 60ish people that they're irreplaceable, that they're needed. In a few professions that could be the case. But it's greed and selfishness that keeps these people working, plain and simple. Think of all the people in their 40's that will have to make up for this dragged out "Great Recession". Those most productive years spent on unemployment. I nor my parents are Baby Boomers, they were born before the boom and couldn't wait to retire. My mother retired at 60, my father at 62. They couldn't wait! They had money in the bank, assets paid off and were debt free. Now they play golf, shop, garden and take a lot of cruises. In short, they are out of the way...helping economy like all members of the "Greatest Generation." If I could retire today, I would! BABY BOOMERS: there is no shame in retirement.

So all this self importance about the Baby Boomers from themselves. Yes I'm sure they're going to redefine retirement, I just hope they do it from the golf course, not the office cubicle.

P.S. 60 is not the new 40, 40 is the new 40. Life expectancy in America is 78 years and 4 months.