Retirement doesn't mean they won't be working, however. A full 28% of boomers say they'll never retire, while 46% are ready to move on to less stressful part-time work. Many know they really don't want to do a lot of housework again, as 42% plan on moving into low-maintenance homes when they make that next stop.
If there's anything the boomers seem to like less than retirement homes, however, it's the idea of having to share their homes with anyone but their spouses ever again. After having cared for aging parents, children and, in some cases, grandchildren, 83% say they don't want any more family moving into their home from this point on. They're not just retiring from work at this point, but from just about every task they've been pressed into doing.
If that sounds great to Gen X and millennials, they can just forget it. The Pew Charitable Trusts notes that Gen Xers born between 1966 and 1975 lost 45% of their wealth during the recession. According to a 2012 Insured Retirement Institute report, only a third of Gen Xers are "very confident" about having enough money to live comfortably during retirement, cover their medical expenses and send their kids to college.
Just 41% have figured out how much they'll need to save for retirement. Among those who have saved, half have amassed less than $100,000. The IRI study also noted that during the recession, 15% of Xers made early withdrawals from their 401(k) plans, 23% stopped contributing to their retirement accounts, and 22% stopped contributing to college savings plans.
Oh, and moving on to a dream home usually requires having a home to move from. According to the Census Bureau, in the first quarter of 2005, 70% of older Gen Xers (ages 35 to 44) owned homes. In the fourth quarter of 2011, that figure had fallen to 62%. Among younger Gen Xers (under 35), it dropped from 43% to 38%.
It hasn't recovered, either. Professor Glenn Crellin of the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington notes that, on the whole, less than 60% of Gen X owns a home. That's well below the 70% to 80% rates of the three preceding generations. It's in huge amounts of debt and it hates its job -- the same job millennials wish they had.
Baby boomers may be the last American generation that can dream about retirement with any remote hope of it becoming a reality. Enjoy it, folks.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.
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