When Does “Old Age” Begin – And More Stuff for Baby Boomers

Category: Baby Boomer Retirement Issues

July 13, 2011 — When you were in college or just out of school, did your parents seem old to you? Mine were in their mid 50’s then, and they seemed a little bit old. Funny how mid-50’s feels awfully young these days. According to a new Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll, a lot of baby boomers feel the same way – the median age cited as starting to get old is 70, with a quarter going a lot higher, about 80. Younger adults, however, seem to think 60 represents the start of old age. The results among baby boomers make sense to us!

Other conclusions from the survey are interesting too. Most boomers seem OK with aging. Only a handful intend to take Botox to smooth out wrinkles temporarily. About 1 in 5 have had or might consider cosmetic surgery, with eyes, tummies, and sagging chins likely targets. Just over half of boomer women and only 5% of the men admit to coloring their hair, mostly to cover the gray. Most boomers are happy with getting a bit older – they cite seeing their grandchildren, having more time, and the wisdom and life experience they have gained as positive factors in their lives.

Big concerns for the future are loss of independence, running out of money, and losing their memories. Not surprisingly, more affluent and college educated boomers feel more optimistic, as do more women than men.

Touching Story about Man with Lou Gehrig’s Disease
Our friend Sue pointed out this touching story, “The Good Short Life with A.L.S.“, about this baby boomer who came down with Lou Gehrig’s disease. It might be controversial, but Dudley Clendinen’s plan is to not to wait for the disease to take away all of his dignity.

Baby Boomers: Too Many Stocks, Not Enough Annuities
Our friend Robert Powell recently reviewed some portfolio research in his WSJ MarketWatch article, “Retirees Need Fewer Stocks and More Annuities“. The conclusions he found suggest that as baby we should own less stock and more annuities in our financial portfolios. The reason for this is our changing risk tolerance – big fluctuations in the stock market, combined with our need to take money out to live, could expose us to that most prevalent baby boomer fear – running out of money.

Comments: What do you think about these baby boomer issues? When do you think old age starts – would you be willing to end your life if you developed a horrible disease, and what about risk in your portfolio? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Posted by John Brady on July 13th, 2011


  1. I am a baby boomers so all the issues we face concern me. I think old age starts who you notice adverse changes in your body, for me that was when I turned 40 (I just made 50). Yes, I would be willing to end my life if I developed a horrible disease. Unfortunately, my portfolio is much too small because I just start seriously thinking about retirement this year. I have to work 5 more years before I can retire so until then I will be lower my cost of living and socking away as much as I can into my 401k.

    by Joyce — July 13, 2011

  2. I don’t feel that annuity companies are immune to corruption or market conditions. They are nice if they actually deliver what they promise, but can we count on that?
    Editor comment: Great point Cindy. Annuities have a bad name and some unscrupulous providers richly deserved it. Like anything else, adequate due diligence is needed before you invest in anything. Get all claims in writing, deal with a reputable source, and get second opinions.

    by Cindy — July 13, 2011

  3. […] Thaler talks about annuities. He subscribes to the theory we reported on last week in our “Stuff for Baby Boomers” article, notably that baby boomers are too much invested in stocks and not enough in […]

    by » Too Many Boomers Leave Money on the Social Security Table Topretirements — July 19, 2011

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