Neither Oldest nor Youngest Boomers Prepared for Retirement

A second look at the Baby Boomers who turned 62 last year and a new look at the younger Boomers, now turning 45, shows both are not saving as much as they'd like.

Forty-six percent of the oldest group and 57% of those in the younger group are not saving as much as they had hoped, according to a survey from MetLife.

The study entitled, Boomer Bookends: Insights Into the Oldest and Youngest Boomers, shows that in the group born in 1946 (some 2.7 million Americans), about one in five have delayed collecting Social Security, and few have fully retired (19%). Only 13% have saved fully for their retirement and another 25% say they are on track to do so, with a leading concern being affordable health care, according to a press release of the results.

About two-thirds of the oldest Boomers remain in the workforce, 50% full-time. Almost six in 10 have provided financial assistance to their children and grandchildren. However, 24% said they have no concerns about retirement, across income levels.

Sandra Timmermann, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute, noted that in comparing responses between the 2007 and 2008 among the ldest Boomers (see “Boomers Turning 62 Ready to Embrace Retirement“), they continue to rate their health as good, they have remained in their own homes, and they continue caring for their aging parents; however, only 15% of those who said in 2007 that they would retire in 2008, actually did.

Many in the youngest group (4.6 million people born in 1964) would rather be described as Generation X than Baby Boomer and say they will consider themselves “old” at age 71 (compared with age 78, cited by the older Boomers), the press release said. Though they will not be eligible for full Social Security until age 67, the younger Boomers are resisting delaying retirement and say they want to retire by age 64. However, they believe they will not be able to do so until age 65.

Only 36% of younger Boomers say their retirement savings plans are on schedule and a good deal express concern about outliving their money. They will not rely on defined benefit pensions for their retirement income like the oldest Boomers; they expect to depend largely on the funds in their 401(k)s, MetLife found.

Social Security is still seen as playing an important financial role for both groups.