Many Senior’s have retired only to witness sticker shock as to what retirement actually cost.
As we all get older we started to plan for our retirement and listened to the many financial people who showed illustrations exhibiting that if you put away x amount of dollars over a specified period of time, their would be a pile of money at the end.
As savvy investors challenged this because of inflation the financial professionals even took into consideration factoring for inflation. So everyone one had a plan that was not even halfway accurate. Many unknown variables were not built into many plans therefore when retirement sets in, so does panic. The fear of outliving money becomes a large concern for retired seniors.
But who knew what to expect, our parents at the time were not sharing what they were going through because they were witnessing a different type of retirement.
Parents of The Baby-Boomers
Our parents were retiring with the same income they were making before they retired, because they were great savers and many of them saved all their lives. They also had pension plans that they contributed to all their lives so their income was protected, add to that Social Security which gave them additional income.
They also started working at a much lower pre and post war income than their children [baby boomers] earned, so their lifestyle was considerably less and they kept it that way. Our Parents also didn’t make it easy on us and made us earn everything we wanted. Rarely did we get a handout from them, simply because they never got one.
Our parents retired with equal or more income than they earned before they retired, Social Security kept rising with inflation so they constantly got raises, which made their lives much easier.
The Hidden Cost Of Retirement
Lets fast forward and now the baby boomers are starting to retire. The majority of them have no pension plan because the companies they worked for replaced them with 401k’s and IRA’s. Saving money became a voluntary selection so consequently other priorities replaced savings. Most boomers are not savers so they have very little to fall back on other than the 401K and IRA plans their employers provided.
A small segment of the early boomers have pensions, but for the large part most have what they managed to save while they lived their lives above their means.
Many have or had equity in their homes that they could fall back on, and we all know where that went. The downturn in the economy absorbed the biggest savings tool many had, and sucked their money away in a matter of several years.
So the plans of boomers buying islands and sailing off into the sunset went away quickly. But, there still was a huge chunk that slowly got eroded away without being seen. It wasn’t extravagant living, and losing their equity in their homes, it was more obvious than that.
They Gave It To Their Kids
Couple with the lack of savings, the baby boomers also decided to shower their children with toys that they didn’t have as kids. There seems to be some sort of guilt of giving their children what they didn’t have. Working for a better life was lost in the translation of raising children and the handout generation was born.
As giving to children became more prevalent, going without became another expense, the now seniors incurred while providing for their children, which became a hidden financial burden.
Lost opportunity cost, is what could be done with money spent. How much interest could be earned with a specific amount of money if it were in the bank and not spent elsewhere. The lost opportunity cost is what could be earned if the money were saved over a 30-40 year period of time.
What was the true cost of the money spent making sure that the boomers children drove the best cars, wore the best clothes, and went to the best schools. This is a big difference between our parents and our children.
If you could total up the cost of education alone and figured what could be earned in the bank at a reasonable interest rate over 30 -40 years it would be in the millions of dollars.
So there went the majority of the baby boomers retirement. They gave it to their kids.
Fast Forward to Retirement
Now the boomers are entering retirement and once they decide to retire they loose the largest income stream they have because they are no longer working. Many continue to work and many work part time to supplement their income.
So now when they retire they manage to put together a comfortable living with heavy emphasis relying on Social Security, which they were forced to put away every year. Social Security was earned but only supposed to be a supplement to retirement, not the main function of retirement.
So, now as the boomers start getting older, along with the children still being a burden, and many boomers parents who are still alive, outliving their money the current baby boomers are caught in the middle. With everyone living longer in life the baby boomers are called the sandwich generation. They are caught in the middle between their children and their parents.
As the boomers start to age they will be presented with the cost of inflation eating into their money and reducing their spending power. Social Security has not risen as fast as inflation and is not taking up much slack and other unforeseen cost are entering the picture.
Cost Of Living Safely
In addition to inflation, aging presents a huge cost to seniors. The cost of health care, the cost of living a safe life, and many other costs add to the burden. As people get older being able to stay in their homes and be in a comfortable surrounding helps to maintain harmony in the senior’s lives.
A quick fix would be a continuous living, or assisted living residence but this is a huge cost and a mental hurdle that many don’t want to take unless truly necessary. A lot of Senior’s don’t have the where with all financially to make such a move.
Life Safety is a major problem with Senior’s as they age. Life Safety is something that is becoming a big business today, which provides safety tools to seniors for living a comfortable, stress free life, as they age.
Home Safety, particularly bathroom safety is a need that many seniors are faced with to have continuity in their lives. Bathroom Safety includes new types of showers, walk in tubs, and other safety products, that provide safety.
One of the major concerns to seniors is slipping and falling in the tub or shower and breaking a hip or shoulder which in later years is difficult to heal. There are ads all over the television and media that are selling walk in tubs, walk in showers, and other bathroom safety accessories to make life better.
Kitchen safety is another concern since the aging process tends to leave the once highly mobile, and very active seniors vulnerable to forgetting to turn off appliances. Kitchen fires and floods are a big concern while the seniors begin reaching their advanced years. Also falling trying to reach high places is a fear since the healing process is tough the older they get.
Home automation is a tool that is used by children of seniors to keep track of the movements and whereabouts of their senior parents. Home security and smart home automation has the ability to let children know when the parents enter their medicine cabinet, liquor cabinet, or leave the home.
All of the safety products and procedures become an added cost that was never planned for in retirement and an unforeseen, unknown variable that eats a huge chunk of money.
We all have read about senior’s who fall prey to fraud and lose money so get proper guidance when taking care of the safety issues in life.
So the conclusion is that when entering into these costs, as senior’s age, one should seek professional help in the many areas of financial and legal help. When seeking a vendor to provide the safety needed find one that will have the financial and legal assistance as well as installation assistance.
This article is meant to provide a background for why many of the Senior’s are in the situation they are in, and to help keep others from ending up in a situation of living a life of lack and not a life of abundance. Take heed and make sure that your retirement years is a fruitful one.