For a few years now, Robert Kiyosaki (and many futurists and economists), have been predicting that when the Baby Boomers start to access their retirements funds, there will be a huge impact on the financial markets. Right now, Boomers are in more debt than any generation has ever been. But they also have more funds under management in retirement savings than ever before. This will create an interesting economic future.
I picked the following up off a Finnish (I think) website:
More than 76.1 million Americans were born between 1946 and 1964. Sociologists have defined those born during that period as “Baby Boomers.” Boomers are now between 40 and 58 years old. The vast numbers of Baby Boomers flooded the job market in the 1970’s. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, Boomers have had an insatiable appetite for investments and the stock market benefited from massive capital inflows.
In the next few years, scores of Baby Boomers will be retiring, which means retirement portfolios and 401ks will be liquidated. This generation certainly can’t rely on Social Security, so stocks will be sold for cash and invested in bonds.
The danger lies in the fact that Baby Boomers are the largest and wealthiest population group. Stocks will fall for many years as the Boomers cash in their chips. Think about it: They provided the fuel for the long bull market and by pulling their capital out, the market will fall.
Won’t the next generation buy the stocks Baby Boomers are selling?
Unfortunately, Generation X is a much smaller generation than the Boomers. Plus, Generation X’s buying power is no match for the large portfolios that will be sold off in droves. This is expected because older people simply have more money. To top it off, X’ers have less money for investing because of the increasing cost of living. Just being able to afford a house and paying large college debts leaves very little money to invest.
-In 1940, the ratio of people working (and supporting the system) to people receiving benefits under Social Security was 42 to 1.
-By 1960, that ratio was 5 workers for every recipient.
-By 2000, it had dropped to 3 to 1.
-By the year 2044, it is projected to be as low as 2 to 1.1
This is a dire future, and certainly a possibility. But there are some other factors to consider.
** The “Western” (“developed”) world has a population pyramid that’s starting to look like a coffin. The Baby Boomers dominate, and are living longer than they expected. But the number of young people is low. This cannot be sustained by these countries, from a productivity perspective, so massive global migration will be increasing over the next few years.
** Assuming that the Baby Boomers want Social Security to actually work the way they planned it, they will have to get the young generation to contribute. This will include immigrants. But, if you contribute, that implies you will benefit. And that implies (usually) citizenship. So, the current debates about immigration need some futurists involved. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t have cheap labour, and support of a Social Security system where today’s young people pay for today’s old people, and keep immigrants out, and keep your economy productive.
** American companies will (cold heartedly) escape their pension responsibilities by simple declaring bankruptcy. This will cut many Baby Boomers loose, and cause economic chaos in the system. Boomers will find they can’t afford to retire, and we will see a huge increase in people in the 60s, 70s and 80s still working. This will change the dynamics of the economic forecasts around retirement.
** I personally don’t think that retirement as we know will last for more than another 30 years, at the most.
Something to think about, as you look to the future.