Baby boomers are those of us born between the years 1946 and 1964. This time period is sometimes called the Age of Innocence.
Some experts have broken down the 18 years into the younger boomers, born 1956-1964, and the older boomers born between 1946-1955.
Some just say, "You are an old boomer if you can remember JFK being assassinated and how that event affected you."
The difference is 18 years - so one may wonder, what do boomers who were born in 1946 have in common with those born in 1964? Do young boomers look at the future differently than older boomers? They do, and yet they do have something in common. That commonality is economical.
You can see it in TV commercials, for they are now addressing the boomers. Everything, from Depends to Viagra to cereals with fiber, is aimed at the boomers. On TV and on the radio they are playing the music from the '50s and '60s while they advertise the newest modern products.
States Jim Cramer, from CNBC's Mad Money, "The companies you may want to look at deal with products that help with eyesight, skin care and plastic surgery."
The national market prognosticator, Harry Dent, has written in his book, "The Next Great Bubble Boom," that there is going to be a market boom in the next few years. This is done in part because of the still-working and still- spending boomers. Then there will be a decline as 85 million baby boomers start selling off their stocks or go in for more conservative investments.
Many others disagree, but the thought is interesting.
Boomers and retirement
Last year, the boomers hit age 60 and they will continue to do so for the next 18 years. Some have already retired, even though Social Security benefits for retirement do not start until ages 62 or 65. But what does retirement really mean and how will the 85 million boomers affect Social Security and the future of the United States?
Many boomers expect to continue to work, if only part time. The retirement of the boomers will be different than that of their parents. The life expectancy in 1945 was 65.9 years; it was 75.7 years in 1995. High school graduates also increased from 25 percent to 81 percent. Those completing their college degrees rose from 5 to 22 percent.
Those over age 45 and under age 64 make up 36.5 percent of restaurant spending and 38 percent of home furnishings. They are also requiring more heath care and spend more on prescriptions.
Many boomers have a certain standard of living that they are not willing to give up. Annual trips to the South in the winter will still be in their plans. Building a new house as one retires is not out of the question.
Boomers, though moving into retirement, want to stay active. They can do this partly through modern medicine. Many already have had body replacements. A number of organizations are set up just for the older boomers. Basketball, baseball, mountain climbing, cycling and kayaking are not just for the young.
Boomers want to keep doing what they have enjoyed in their younger years. (The number of sports injuries among boomers increased 37 percent from 1991-1998; boomers aged 35-54 at the time of the study.)
If someone had a heart attack or any type of heart surgery, years ago, it would mean the end of their active life. Not any more, and the boomers are taking advantage of this.
For those who have set aside for a healthy financial retirement, life will not change. Many others will retire from one job and go into another place of employment, if only part time.
The traditional "retirement years" are taking on a new meaning. Some will continue to work because of the increase in life expectancy. A retirement plan for those working in 1945 will not work in 2007. Heath-care costs will keep many working, both full and part time.
Others will work for reasons other than financial. Some will go off and do something of interest. "I have always wanted to change careers, but couldn't because of the money I was making and the benefits. With my retirement check coming every month, I can change to a new career," said one boomer.
Some will even try to become self-employed or start their own business. One doctor retired but still practices medicine as a volunteer. His hours are flexible and he can go on vacation as he wishes.
Retirement for many is not the end, but a beginning.
If you turn 60 this coming year it means that you are 30 years younger than Walter Cronkite, 23 years younger than George Herbert Bush and 28 years older than Tiger Woods.
You were 6 at the end of the Korean War, 16 at the time of JFK's assassination and 22 when the first man stepped on the moon.
We were the Pepsi Generation in 1971. The drink, Fizzies. Milk bottles were delivered to the front step of your home. Fuzzy dice. 45s with a 45 RPM adapter. Haircuts - duck tails and flat tops. White bucks (for those who are not sure what these are, white shoes that you powder instead of using polish). Charlie the Tuna. The Age of Aquarius ("Hair," the musical).
Rowan and Martin's "Laugh-In." (Everyone talked about the show the next day.) Going into a drug store for a Coke at the soda fountain. Going into a "5 and 10" for a lunch.
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