Baby Boomer Retirement The Demographic Shift
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1. Baby Boomer Retirement

End of the Elders

A Church GardenThis document is an evangelism resource written initially in 1998 to encourage the church to transform its ministry and to work at growth. The church also needs to examine its human resources in the Twenty-First Century to meet the challenges of demographic change. The Demographic Shift looks at the effect of aging on the Baby Boomers and the Elders who are moving into or are already in their Retirement. This has grave consequences for the Christian Institutions in the Church of North America and particularly on the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, though this is typical for virtually all the established churches and at least in part to the Protestant churches, the Baptists and Pentecostals. The shape of the church at the beginning of the Third Millennium is of interest to us but the real impact will come in and around the year 2019 AD. What we do or fail to do in this year will form a ministry in our church for the following fifty or more years but will also profoundly affect its shape between now and then. It is an important date because it marks a change of leadership from Elders to Baby Boomers, a drastic reduction in financial support and a consequential drop in attendance at our churches. This is a demographic shift when the Elders, who were the great supporters of the institutional churches, will be gone from power and the Baby Boomers will have taken over. Unfortunately, we are discovering that there are only a few Baby Boomers willing to step up and replace the strong Elder support. The institutional church is simply ignoring this coming deluge and carrying on business as if it was usual!✞

Canadian Baby Boomers

NewsreadersCanadian baby boomers and the changing face of the retirement of this generation are going to profoundly affect Canadian society soon. The top-end age of the Baby Boomers in Canada (born between 1946 and 1965) will be seventy-three years old in 2019 and will have replaced in positions of leadership and in the workplace the Elders who will then be seventy-four and over. All of the mainline churches in Canada will be affected by this phenomenon but in different ways. David Rando in his book, "Boomers: Twisting The Retirement Mindset" explains the Baby Boom phenomena occurring in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. From 1946 to 1964, 78 million new Americans were born. It was a population explosion in the United States, and this generation came to be known as the Baby Boom Generation. The Boomers' hard work has fuelled the rapid expansion of the U.S. economy over the past forty years. Now, this generation is reaching retirement age. In 2006, the first set of Baby Boomers reached age 60, with 4 million Baby Boomers set to turn 60 each year after that for the next 18 years. The Canadian, United States and British populations are similar with a slight variation in the dates when each Baby Boom Generation began and ended. Boomer's retirement life will be greatly affected by life expectancy and the welfare system. The recent huge population explosion and the influx of large numbers of immigrants have changed the way we've come to think about retirement. Many of the safety nets that were in place for previous generations have disappeared as the Boomers have neared retirement. A new income-generating strategy was needed, one that was very different from that of our boomers' parents. In this article, we'll review some of the reasons that retirement planning has shifted focus and discuss at least one possible solution. For more on the changing face of retirement, read the "Generation Gap."

Older Boomers

Improvements in healthcare and lifestyle mean baby boomers who reached 60 in 2007 can expect to live an average of another 22.5 years. In some cases, retirement could last four decades or more. This longer life expectancy means retirement income must last longer than for any previous generation. With the increase in the cost of living, Boomers and those that come after them will likely need to save more than any previous generation to finance retirement. This they are not doing but relying on credit and increasing their borrowing. Compounding this situation is inflation, which has averaged about 3% per year in recent years. In the recession of 2008 and 2009, the inflation rate in both the U.S. and Canada had fallen below 2%. This meant that what you could buy for $100 in 2004 costs $108 in 2007. To keep inflation from whittling away at your savings, read "Curbing The Effects Of Inflation." Expensive boomers' lifestyles will be profoundly affected by life expectancy. Gone are the days when retirees were satisfied with just "getting by" in retirement. Now, boomers see retirement as an opportunity to pursue hobbies and live lives and dreams that they had put on hold because of work, or simply because they were cautious about depleting their nest eggs. For many, retirement is the time to buy trendy and expensive luxury items, take holiday trips to favorite destinations and generally enjoy the fruits of their labors. Boomers also want a more active life in retirement than previous generations and so will probably travel more than ever before if they can.✞

Anyone for Tennis?

More travel, golf, and tennis will mark the retirement activities of the boomer generation. More activity means more spending. And for many, buying that luxury car is an indulgence that can no longer be put on hold. This change in lifestyle will undoubtedly cost more than the low-key pre-retirement working boomer life. The high cost of health care and a longer life expectancy also means increasing costs. Medicare premiums continue to increase each year as do the costs of private insurance. Employers are limiting their offerings of health insurance benefits for retirees. In the past, companies would provide health insurance for retirees and their families but now most larger employers are minimizing contributions to retiree healthcare insurance, or eliminating the benefit.

"Baby Boomer Retirement"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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