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Retirement: Twin Opposing Trends

(July 14, 2006) From A Forthcoming Whitepaper:

As women remained in school longer and had careers outside the home, they had fewer children themselves, often later in life. Over the past 60 years, the natality rate fell by nearly 50% resulting in a decrease in average family size from 3.4 to 2.6. At this rate, the native population of the United States will stop growing in 2015 then decline. Within the next ten years, immigration will be the predominant force behind any additional American population growth.

The combination of an enormous demographic wave followed by smaller successors creates a disturbing reality. Declining birth rates over the past two generations will have a significant effect on American employers. As the baby boom retires, employers will have difficulty finding replacements because there are more bodies scheduled to leave the workforce than the supply of available replacements. America faces a labor shortage of historic proportion.

At the same time, a disturbing financial trend is emerging. Retirement will not be the "golden years" the retirees are expecting. Much of the baby boom faces aging without the financial resources to quit working entirely. Over the past 150 years, the segment of working men over 65 plummeted from 76% in 1850 to 17% in 2000. Retirement evolved from an option available to only a few during the 19th century to an entitlement by the end of the 20th century.

Americans' ability to afford retirement no longer matches their expectations of travel and leisure. This is partly because the resources that fund retirement are extinct or endangered.

Tuesday, we'll be releasing a deep look at the Retirement and Age Bias questions in conjunction with RetirementJobs.com.

Today's Bugler looks at the issue around the world.

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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