Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are the largest generation in U.S. history, and currently represent 28 percent of the U.S. population. As they approach traditional retirement age, we must examine how their changing needs and behaviors will impact our clients, their businesses and the law.
An SEC report shows that Boomer investors control $13 trillion in household investable assets, which account for more than half of the total household investments in the United States. According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Boomers stand to inherit $8.4 trillion more from their parents and grandparents.
It seems reasonable to project that over the next couple of decades, the spending habits of this demographic will change considerably, with increasing amounts of their resources being directed towards health care.
Reports indicate that a great many Boomers plan to continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65. This demographic wave of older workers means employers can also anticipate additional liabilities for the cost of employee benefits. Also necessitated is an increased awareness regarding age discrimination in the workplace.
On the flip side, companies with Boomers that do retire may feel what’s called a “Brain-Drain,” the loss of knowledge and experience of senior workers and managers. Business succession plans are critical to the longevity of most companies. It’s also important to note that Generation X (the generation following the Boomers) is only about half the size of the Boomer generation, so the talent pool from which senior workers can be replaced is considerably smaller than in the past.
One in six Americans are projected to be 65 or older by the year 2020. Retirement communities, long term care facilities, estate planners, and health care institutions are all on the brink of tremendous growth. The remainder of the U.S. economy, and the businesses that fuel it will need to adjust to the changing needs and behaviors of almost one third of the population. As always, the attorneys of Smith Moore Leatherwood will be prepared to address the challenges that our clients will face as this momentous demographic change comes into focus.
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