Oldest Boomer Reality – Wisdom Between the Findings?

A new report offers interesting insight into the lives of the oldest Baby Boomer workers.  At age 66, they are just now slightly north of traditional retirement age, eligible for full Social Security benefits.

The MetLife Report on The Oldest Boomers “Healthy, Retiring Rapidly and Collecting Social Security,” published in May 2013, reports that more than half (52%) of these Boomers are fully retired now, up from 19% in 2007 and 45% in 2011.

Why did they leave the workforce?  Changes in health was the primary reason – cited by 32% of respondents.

Not only are they facing their own health challenges, but thirteen percent are caregivers for a parent or relative.  On average, they spend 11.7 hours a week providing care.   However, when we take a close look at what is behind this average, we find that while 10% spent 16-20 hours per week caring for an elderly relative, fully 23% spent more than 20 hours a week!

Less than a quarter of the study’s 1,003 respondents are optimistic about their health.  This should come as no surprise – given 32% left the workforce for health concerns.

With 23% of the oldest Boomers spending over 20 hours a week caregiving, one has to wonder if that experience causes only two in 10 feel good about their personal finances.  Coincidentally 2.5 in 10 own long term care insurance; is there a correlation?

One can’t help but wonder if today’s younger workers knew…

          There was a high likelihood they would need to stop work due to health concerns;

          There was a significant probability of spending more than 20 hours a week as a caregiver (presumably for uninsured parents or relatives)

…that they might save more aggressively for retirement, and purchase long term care insurance for themselves and their parents?