More and more workers are choosing to continue their employment beyond the traditional retirement age of 65. As workers age, their employers may face increased costs for welfare benefits such as health, disability, and life insurance.
The sheer number of workers approaching traditional retirement age also increases the likelihood that some of them may become unhappy with the performance of their employers’ pension plans. Add to this circumstance an uncertain economy, and fiduciary breach litigation against employers may increase as well.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal statute that governs welfare and retirement plans in private industry. As the Baby Boomer population continues to age and remains in the workforce, employers and insurers alike will almost certainly see more benefits claims as well as increasing rates of ERISA litigation.
The Boomers are creating, at an accelerating pace, a tremendous challenge to the building and retirement industries.
As the building industry recovers from the recent recession, it will be forced to adapt to accommodate the Boomers, many of whom insist on smaller and more efficient living spaces with proximity to their workplace, amenities such as walking and biking trails, and shopping areas and restaurants within walking distance of their homes.
Residential communities consisting of a mixture of single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes and apartments for virtually all price ranges are becoming the trend. One such development in Wilmington, N.C., Autumn Hall, is also working with a nationally-recognized health care and retirement community provider to develop an upscale retirement community within their development. They will provide both independent living and assisted living designed for both the Boomer and the “Silent” generations. We expect to see this trend continue.
The practice of law itself has been changed dramatically by the Boomer generation. Boomer lawyers accelerated the exciting trend to concentrate their practices on specific areas of the law, rather than becoming generalists that touch on a little bit of everything. The pre-Boomer generation was much smaller, and had fewer competing lawyers than the Boomers, who found themselves working in a more competitive environment. It became important to stand out in one specific niche, with services that appealed to increasingly sophisticated clients.
That, in turn, changed the structure of law firms in general: larger firms with many lawyers focused on niche practice areas became the norm, rather than small handfuls of attorneys working together that were jacks-of-all-trades. We have quite a few Boomers at this firm, and they have been responsible for upping the standard of excellence we have come to expect from the generations of lawyers coming after them.
Click here to view the full digital version of the The Boomers & Beyond edition of SML Perspectives.