Boomers + Economy: Doesn't Need to = Panic…

Yes my fellow Boomers…you’re hearing it everywhere; our current state of economic affairs are ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATING for us as we head toward our much anticipated retirement days in the sun.  Here’s an example (contracted) from US News and World Report:

3 Ways the Economic Crisis Is Destroying Baby Boomer Retirement

  1. Stock Market declines: During the past 12 months, retirement accounts have lost $1.6 trillion or 18.3 percent of their value, according to Urban Institute
  2. Falling Home prices: The average home price fell 3.9 percent from January 2007 to May 2008, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight
  3. Decreasing Job markets: Contracting credit markets could weaken the labor market, thus limiting employment opportunities for older adults

And although the writer of this USNWR article does provide ideas for how to offset today’s admittedly troubling economic conditions, many others do not, staying firm on the newspaper-selling, google-search-engine attracting, dire news, all of which can understandably make a Boomer feel…well, panicky.

Don’t.

Here’s why, issue by issue.

Stock Market Declines

Will the recovery from this mess take years?  As Sarah would say, “you betcha!” 

But the operative word is “recovery”.  We do, in fact, have a few years to hold on and wait out this inevitable, years-in-the-making, needed correction to our (and our nation’s) overspending, under-saving, and the massive, voter permitted deregulation of an industry that has proven itself at least 2 other times in the past 30 years of being incapable of controlling itself (but immensely capable of poor decision-making and business practices founded in greed).

Panic, sell off your stocks, and you create precisely the situation you fear; a self-fulfilling prophesy.  My guess is that all of us were smart enough to have generally diverse portolios.  This economic situation is why we have such diversity, so trust it.  Selling your stocks will just make your situation worse (because it will take the market into a greater downspin), and has no upside (because you’re selling at such a huge loss).  Worst case scenario, you will have to work an extra year or two to compensate for the losses your portfolio is experiencing right now.  But your investments will come back.  If you don’t panic and crash the system.

Working

OMG, as our kids would text-speak, there is plenty of work for us right now!  Whether you’re recently laid off (due to the economy…) or seeking your retirement second career a little sooner than you’d originally budgeted for, there are “recession-proof” industries/jobs that will snap up a Boomer with our experience and background, in the proverbial heart-beat!

This from the Miami Examiner’s Baby Boomer Expert (Paul Briand):

Uncle Sam to Baby Boomers: I want you

The last time some Uncle Sam needed some Baby Boomers was during the Vietnam War … as soldiers.

Now, according to a new partnership, there is need anew … as workers.

The Partnership for Public Service has started the FedExperience pilot program with federal agencies, corporate partners, and other stakeholders to match government’s critical hiring needs with the talents of experienced, older workers.

The partnership sees a win-win relationship between the government and older workers.

I’ll add to that a list of other, Boomer friendly and recession-proof jobs available right now:

  • Mechanical and Electical Engineer
  • Sales Executive
  • Technology Executive (for those of you with or able to get quickly get your Computer Science degree)
  • Customer Support/Management
  • Database Administration
  • Product and Project Management
  • Testing/QA
  • Financial staff at every level (from Finance execs, to accountants and bookkeepers)
  • Business Analysis & Development
  • Adminstrative/Executive Assistant
  • Nursing/PA/NP

And yes, you may have to put off for a little while your dreams of business ownership, but there’s no need to throw out that dream.  Just postpone it perhaps for a year or two.  That said, if you do want to go for it now, sign up for my free report Forbes 9 Best Boomer Markets: http://tinyurl.com/3rlrpe

Retiring

Is your house worth less right now?  It is.  But the housing market is already reaching its bottoming-out point and will rebound in less than one year.  So just hang in there a little longer before you take that reverse mortgage or consider moving.

Will you have to revamp your retirement timeline or plans?  Perhaps, but again, our retirement is hardly IN RUINS!!!  It is on hold for a while, or will look differently than we’d hoped for a while.

Ultimately, Boomers, this is not a catastrophe; it is a major but temporary inconvenience.  It is scarey, but not fearsome.  We will not all be living a new millennial version of The Grapes of Wrath; we will be living a little leaner, which isn’t a bad thing anyway, really.

We’re going to be fine.  But not if we panic.

Time for all the baby boomers to grow up into Zoomers

(this is a reprint of an article from newsdurhamregion.com – bears spreading!)

Newfound attitude could have positive side-effects for those of a more mature age

Sep 25, 2008

By Grace Stevenson

I suspected it would happen and it has. The baby boomers have reached the age known as “senior” and are about to “reinvent the notion of old.”

My first indication of this came when the Oshawa Senior Citizens Centres lowered the age of admission to 55, putting to shame the many over 65 who, through the years, have refused to join this organization because of the word “senior” in its name.

Immediately programs were added to allow these new members to do what they wanted to do — exercise more strenuously, enhance their computer skills and enjoy evening and Saturday activities.

A more telling indication has been the decision by CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) to let Moses Znaimer take over their magazine. Deciding he hated all the usual words for those reaching a mature age, he christened us all Zoomers, an obvious evolution from the word Boomers.

But where does that leave us, we who gave birth to this boomer generation and still consider ourselves active members of society? We aren’t averse to the words senior and elder, considering them synonyms for wiser and more experienced. I was never a boomer and I refuse to be called a zoomer.

In his introductory letter in CARP magazine, now renamed Zoomer, Mr. Znaimer implies that seniors prior to his arrival on their scene, have “given up,” the man “stuffing himself into the same tux he bought years ago, the woman careless about her appearance because she no longer believes she’s attractive.”

Those are fighting words, Mr. Znaimer!

Just as the boomers took over every facet of life during my last 40 years — filled stores with clothes I couldn’t wear; assaulted my ears with raucous sounds that bore no resemblance to what I call music; and served food I’d never heard of in my youth; now they’ve filled my magazine with pictures of curvy young women and Adonis-like men and articles of no interest to my mature mind.

I did approve of one though. In it the author opined there’ll be no stigma about memory loss from now on, forgetting things will just be referred to as “data dumping.”

My first feeling when this magazine arrived was anger, fury in fact. But I now realize that, just as these boomers shaped the world their way through their growing up years, they’ll now change everything in their new world.

Mr. Znaimer is aiming for a membership of a million for CARP. I’m sure this dynamic man will obtain it. And when he does, the strength he’ll wield in advocating change will be awesome.

We’ll have more and better senior residences and nursing homes; numerous gerontology doctors and nurses; a never ending supply of subsidized caregivers for those who want to live on their own; and more handicapped spaces wherever we want to park.

Yes, life will be rosy for the Zoomers. I just have to stick around long enough to enjoy some of their spoils.

Gay Marriage

This past Sunday, a gentleman by the name of David Blankenhorn, an identified liberal Democrat, had his commentary published in the LA Times: Protecting Marriage to Protect Children: you can read the full piece at: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-blankenhorn19-2008sep19,0,2093869.story

As a Boomer (as I believe is he), also a Democrat (albeit a somewhat conservative one…), and someone with a professional background working with highly at-risk children and youth, I have formulated my thoughts on his thoughts (yes, I know….too much thinking…what can I say, that’s what we Dem’s do…).  Here they are.

I would like to help Mr. Blankenhorn with a few of his “facts”:

§    “Marriage is the “primary license to have children” –
this fits very nicely with homosexual unions, as many have children…biologically…

§    “Marriage unites the three  core dimensions of parenthood – biological, social and legal” –
see above for biological, social was resolved in the last century, and I believe it is the legal category that pro-gay marriage legislation is attempting to fix

§    “People wed primarily to reproduce” –
this motive for marriage ended after we ‘won the West’ and no longer needed to populate small towns…

§    “Children have the right…to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into the world…” –
as a Guardian ad Litem and a mental health professional who has worked for over a decade with homeless/runaway youth in two of this
country’s major cities, I have seen more unfit biological parents (heterosexual, by the way) than there are pork barrel projects in Washington,
and it is precisely an emphasis on the “right of the biological parents” vs. the best interest of the child that anyone associated with child
protection will agree stands in the way of getting children moved out of foster care and into stable, permanent homes: which speaks directly to
your assertion that they are indeed “society’s most voiceless and vulnerable group.”

§    “Every child being raised by gay or lesbian couples will be denied his birthright to both parents who made him.” –
see bullet #1, and add to it that many homosexual unions include one or the other partner’s biological child with access to the other biological
parent, no different than in a heterosexual divorce situation

§    “Losing that right will not be a consequence of something…tragic (such as divorce, unexpected pregnancy…)…On the contrary…those
unions…will be explained to everyone as something wonderful (that) has happened!” –
you’re comparing break-ups and unplanned reproduction to a union of two people – apples and oranges – sly…but didn’t get by me…

§    “Legalized same-sex marriage almost certainly benefits those couples as well as the children being raised in those homes.” –
hey…make up your mind…and it doesn’t “almost” benefit those children, it does so absolutely

§    “But changing the meaning of marriage to accommodate homosexual orientation…undermines the gift of birthright…that is marriage’s most
distinctive contribution to human society.” –
it would seem, given all the above, that you’ve actually done a fine job of proving that marriage, regardless of who with whom, is a key
component to the things needed most for the raising of healthy children; stability; access to parents who treasure them; and legal recognition
so they can reap all the benefits therein.

I hope this helps you in future, and oh, by the way, thanks for actually making a fine case for the importance of gay marriage particularly when it comes to the well-being of the children involved!