One of the most dramatic changes in the workforce is the baby boomer generation, more than 76 million men and women alive today who were born between 1946 and 1964. Thirty-two million boomers are still in the workforce today, and 10,000 are retiring or losing their jobs every single day.
Life expectancy has skyrocketed from age 47 for a man born in 1900, to 67 if born in 1950, and to 75 if born in 2000. Life expectancy for a 65-year old alive today has grown to 83. Women on average live another five to six years longer than men.
The NRA (National Retirement Age) for Social Security was established in 1935 as being age 65. The average life expectancy of men born in 1900 – age 35 at the time at the time the law was enacted - was just 47. So Social Security was set up to support a small percentage of very old surviving workers for a few scant years of life, when many of their children were no longer alive or able to support them.
All that has changed as they now expect to live well into their 80s, and futurists project that a child born today will live to 100 or over.
One of the biggest changes the baby boomer generation has faced is the elimination of pension plans funded by companies, and the subsequent wholesale conversion of retirement responsibility from employers to individuals through tax deductions and token profit-sharing or by matching contributions to IRAs. Their savings can’t span the gap between being forced to retire from the workforce at 50 or 55, and obligated to fund exorbitant medical insurance premiums for five, ten or more years before being eligible for Medicare, and waiting until 66 or later for full Social Security benefits – which today average just $1,335 per person.