Retirement crisis closes in on baby boomers

Thu Nov 3, 2011 4:05pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Tom Brown

MIAMI (Reuters) - Like many middle-class American baby boomers, Linda Carmona-Sanchez is anxious about slipping into poverty and says whatever dreams she once had about retirement in her "golden years" have turned into nightmares.

"We don't value people here in this country, and we value you less if you're not healthy and strong," Carmona-Sanchez, 55, said.

"To me it would almost be a welcome blessing to know that I would die rather than to be old and have to live in poverty," she said.

Her anxiety is widespread. In a recent Gallup poll, 66 percent of Americans ranked not having enough money for retirement as their top financial concern. That was up from 53 percent a decade ago and raised a red flag for U.S. policymakers concerned about distress and downward mobility in the middle class.

As the first members of the post World War Two baby boom generation turned 65 this year, the United States stood on the doorstep of what many experts see as a looming retirement crisis.

It is a crisis that has many implications - whether for U.S. consumer spending, for younger workers as baby boomers stay in the workforce, or for further strains on the federal government's already ugly budget picture as the elderly seek more welfare. For some companies, such as home builders, prospects of a surge in business from retiring baby boomers may also dim.

"Florida has always counted on a big chunk of the baby boomers retiring down here and buying property over the next 20 years," said Jack McCabe, a veteran Florida-based real estate analyst.

"We're not going to see this big influx of full-time senior citizen residents," McCabe said. "Home builders may need to re-analyze what they see as demand over the next five to 10 years."   Continued...

<p>Linda Carmona-Sanchez tends to her critically-ill and bed-ridden daughter Carmen, 28, at their home in Kendall, Florida October 4, 2011. REUTERS/Hans Deryk</p>