Tag Archives: Family

Boomers R Us

I can’t figure out how to turn that “R” around in the title of this post or I would.  Then again, it’s probably for the best that I don’t, if for no other reason than to avoid unwanted conflicts of interests with the other more well known users of that reversed letter.

I’m a Baby Boomer.  I’ve known that for over 6 decades, but I’ve never really thought about what the definition of a baby boomer is until today.  So I looked it up.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines baby boomers as those who were born between the years of 1946 and 1964.  I was surprised to learn that the “boom” didn’t last longer than 1964, but there you have it.  I found it on the internet, so it must be true.

Wikipedia adds an additional distinction, stating that those who were born between 1946 and 1955 are classified as Leading Edge Baby Boomers.  I had no idea, but it’s nice to learn that I’m finally on the leading edge of something!

I guess that also means that I’m on the front end of that much anticipated bubble of baby boomers who are already retired or who are in the process of planning to retire within the next few years.

retirementI retired a little over six months ago and have found retirement to be a state of being for which I may be uniquely qualified and certainly one which I am finding to be very enjoyable and rewarding.

The process of transitioning from full time employment to full time retirement is a subject which is deserving of its own blog post, so I’ll save that topic for another day.

What’s really on my mind as I write this installment is the subject of what it takes in terms of available assets to be financially able to retire.

In the process of meeting with my financial advisor prior to reaching the decision to retire, I was very surprised to learn from him that studies indicate that roughly 60% of all baby boomers are currently not financially able to afford retirement.

This immediately reminded me of several commercials I’ve seen on TV recently in which people (actors) are asked to project how much money they believe they’ll need to retire comfortably for the remainder of their lives.  They are then shocked when they see the projections which indicate that those funds will be totally depleted after just a few short years.

I remember a good friend telling me that if she and her husband could only get their savings up to $200,000.00, they would be in good shape for retirement.

Financial-analysisDetermining what it will take to be financially able to retire involves a very thorough understanding of one’s current assets, current liabilities, current income, as well as projecting what one’s liabilities and income will be during retirement, projecting the costs involved with the activities one wants to do while they are retired, and just how long one expects that they will be retired (the somewhat touchy subject of one’s life expectancy).

It’s extremely unlikely that there are many healthy baby boomers out there who will be able to afford to retire for any length of time with as little as $200,000.00 socked away in their cookie jar.

Interestingly, the Merriam-Webster dictionary adds this caveat to their section defining baby boomers:

Industry experts predict that reverse mortgages will play an increasingly important role in the coming years as some 70 million baby boomers hit their 60s—often with a lot less saved than they’d hoped.

I’m confident that this will be true, but I can’t see how reverse mortgages will even come close to bridging the gap between the assets required to fund retirement and the assets that are actually available.

In this regard, the next 20 or so years are going to be very interesting; politically, economically, and culturally.

 

 

 

In Praise of Peanut Butter

You possibly may recall that in my last post, my wife had sent me to the store in search of, among other things, peanut butter.  Hold that thought for a moment.

I’m a child of the 50’s, the 1950’s to be specific. Compared to the culture and society that we have decided to saddle ourselves with in the 20-teens, the 50’s were a simpler and more innocent time.

Today happens to be the first day of the new school year in my neck of the woods.  As such, traffic conditions have gone from simply being atrocious to approaching near gridlock in many areas.  This is largely due to the fact that today’s school age child requires transportation to school with the preferred method being catching a ride with Mom or Dad in the family car. There are some children who ride the school buses which add to the traffic snarl, but almost no students simply find their way to their school of their own accord.

Mother seeing children off to schoolThere were school buses in the 50’s, but the predominant method for kids to get to their school was on foot, as in walking, or on a self-powered bicycle.  Personally, I alternated between these two methods.  From the 1st through 6th grades, it was a rare occurrence for either of my parents to drive my brother and I to school.  When I reached junior high school, commonly known as middle school today, I had no choice but to ride in a school bus because of the distance involved.

I completely understand the reasons why kids are chauffeured to school in such great numbers these days.  It gets back to that culture and society that we have decided to saddle ourselves with.  So, enough said.

Gastronomically speaking, school lunches were similarly simple and innocent back in the 50’s.  Our school year was roughly 9 months in length.  Assuming a 5 day school week for 9 months, there were approximately 200 days per year on which I took my lunch to school in a brown paper bag.

By the way, where I went to school in the 50’s, there were no teacher work days and the concept of a spring and/or winter break from classes had not even been sighted on long-range radar.

200 brown bag lunches per school year meant the preparation and consumption of somewhere close to 150 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Those were prepared using only creamy peanut butter.  My Mother considered crunchy peanut butter to be too exotic for general consumption.  Likewise, only white bread was eaten in my family. Whole grain breads, or any bread exhibiting even the slightest tinge of color, were never consumed in my house.

Peanutbuttersandwich

Before spreading the peanut butter on the bread, my Mother would first apply a healthy amount of butter.  It was probably margarine, but no peanut butter sandwich I consumed between the ages of 5 and 15 was considered to be complete without a slathering of butter separating the bread from the peanut butter.  It’s just the way it was done.

The remaining 50 or so of my brown bag sandwiches typically consisted of a slice of bologna (we knew that it was really called baloney) layered between two slices of the same lily white bread, each of which had been generously coated with mayonnaise.

Keep in mind that those brown bags were not insulated and the schools I attended were not air conditioned.  Likewise, these were the days before zip lock plastic bags.  Loose fitting waxed paper was the preferred method of wrapping up a sandwich for later consumption.  Depending on the weather, there were times when the mayonnaise would take on a sort of yellowish transparency by the time our lunch period rolled around.

In any event, my Mom’s homemade sandwiches were head and shoulders above those made by the lunchroom ladies.  Those often featured stale bread which had been lightly misted with water in order to soften them up a bit.

We had never heard of gluten, GMO’s, monosodium glutamate, or the concept of “healthy eating”.  Somehow, we managed to survive childhood in spite of that.

Which inexplicably brings me back to yesterday’s trip to the grocery store to get, among other things, peanut butter.  As I was scanning the multiple varieties of peanut butters being offered up for purchase, I came across one that I had never seen before.  Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter.  Now I love peanuts; especially the salted-in-the-shell kind you can get at baseball games, so I threw all caution to the wind and bought a jar of the extra crunchy variety.

It’s been a real game changer for me.  Eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with the extra crunchy stuff is the culinary equivalent to walking barefoot over a gravel driveway.  I may never go back to plain ol’ creamy.

Back in the day, if my Mother had had access to extra crunchy peanut butter, I would have never needed the token variety in lunchtime fare offered up by those baloney sandwiches with their transparent mayonnaise.

Bon Appétit!