Baby Boomer Retirement Paradox

Baby Boomer Retirement ParadoxBaby Boomer Retirement Paradox

Can you use the terms Baby Boomer and Retirement in the same sentence or is it a paradox or an oxymoron, kind of like military intelligence.

The concept of retirement was created by Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck of Germany in 1883 as a way to pacify the masses against the Marxists. He set a retirement age of 65 because no one lived that long.

During the great depression, there was a need to get older workers to retire and the only way to do this was to pay them.

This was solved by the Social Security Act of 1935. The reality most did not want to retire because there was nothing to do in retirement.

During the 1950’s golf course construction exploded and cheaper housing in Florida made a life of leisure possible in retirement. The visionary of retirement living was Del Webb when the first Sun City opened in early 1960. It was mobbed on the first day it opened.

There are two videos on the Sun City Museum website you have to watch.

  1. Del Webb Sun City AZ Promo The Beginning Part I

  2. Del Webb Sun City AZ Promo The Beginning Part 2

What all of this shows is the concept of retirement is a relatively new concept.

For many of us, our parents and grandparents were able to retire with plenty to do. Their work was their play!

As a Baby Boomer I was brought up to believe that I would be able to do the same!

There is a great New York Times article that you should read called The History of Retirement, From Early Man to A.A.R.P.

Let’s return to the 1998

In 1998 did you think you were going to be able to retire at 55, 60, or 65? Some of the people I traveled with back then thought they would be able to retire in their 40’s!

The stock market was roaring!

Lot’s of people were making money on the appreciation of their homes!

Some did not think about retirement. That was way to far away.

What happened?

80% of baby boomers now say they will need to work after retirement. Retirement is being delayed for many. Most will not be able to retire as they planned.

To explain what happened you have to look at assumptions that were made, changes made by the federal government, and a lot of bad behavior on our part.

We will discuss those in the next few posts. What are your retirement plans?

If you missed my recent post on my upcoming book “Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers” please go check it out.


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Marc Miller Career Design Specialist


  1. Marc Miller says:

    Sounds like you have found a win-win-win situation. Your partner gets to something he enjoys, his customers get jewelry that they can afford and enjoy, and you and your partner make enough money to enjoy yourselves.

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