Baby Boomers and the New Reality

New RealityNew Reality

Are you ready for a new reality?

Last Friday, I was asked to speak at a civic organization at the last moment. I mean at the last moment, less than 45 minutes before the event.

I asked about the demographics and decided to combine topics from three of the talks I deliver on a regular basis. I decided to call this “Baby Boomers and the New Reality”.

What is the New Reality?

Unless you have been sleeping under a rock for the last 15 years, we have experienced two devastating  recessions.

  • There are 77 million baby boomers. Our generation is the largest portion of the job market.
  • After the recession was over in 2009, long term unemployment soared for baby boomers. It peaked at 55 weeks in late 2012.
  • Most baby boomers are delaying retirement. Various statistics have been thrown around, but 60-80% of baby boomers are making changes to their retirement plans.
  • We are living longer! An insurance friend quoted me a statistic that blew me away. A married couple of 65 years of age has a 72% chance that one of them will reach 95 years of age.
  • More Baby Boomers are deciding not to retire at all! All though neither of these gentlemen are baby boomers read these articles about T. Boone Pickens and Lou Gerstner. I do not plan to retire like my parents did. I want to continue to work at something I enjoy without the stresses of the 80 weeks I once endured.
  • According to the latest Pew Research report it is not just the baby boomers who are not prepared for retirement. Generation X is in even worst shape for retirement. The reason why is they are going to live a long time!

I was sent the following chart that shows the changing population distribution from 1950 to 2050.

Most of the concepts about retirement were formed in 1950s!

new realityU.S. Population Distribution by Age, 1950 through 2050

We live in a very different world now, and it will continue to change! In 1950, the over 80 group was the smallest but in 2050 it is the largest!

Are you ready to accept there is a new reality?

The reality is:

  • We are living longer
  • We will work longer and maybe never stop working
  • The world is changing and it is not going back to the way it was in the 1950s
  • The concept of the Golden Years is obsolete for many

Does anyone have a better idea?

Let’s hear your thoughts in the comment box below!

By the way, my presentation was incredibly well received even though I had less than 45 minutes to put it together. It helped that I did this PowerPointless! I will be adding this topic to my speaking page.


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Marc Miller Career Design Specialist


  1. Isn’t it ironic that your post appeared in the IBM Alumni Group on the day that the company whacked 12,000 in the US, CA and Europe, most of them likely to be boomers, like myself. It would be very helpful if some of your outstanding insight could be applied to the challenge many of us are now facing as the latest out-of-work boomer statistics. Where would you say are the best places to look for employment opportunities in the various disciplines related to IBM: IT sales, marketing, HR, operations, R&D etc. Is the boomer likely to have better results focusing on firms that provide the contractors that IBM will now need to get the work of 12,000 done (because we all know the work isn’t going away.)? Will your company, “Career Pivot” be providing any kind of custom services to former IBMers? Thanks, Marc.

    • Jeb,
      I responded on the IBM alumni group.
      “Look for my post on Monday. This is not about you.

      Being laid off is very personal. Remember that people do what people do; organizations do what organizations think they need to do.

      First thing to do is to take a deep breath and process all of the feelings. It will take a couple of weeks to process.

      Most importantly this is not about you. You did nothing wrong. They decided to reduce headcount to meet certain financial goals. What IBM did was an impersonal act that you and your brothers and sisters at IBM will take very personally. ”

      I am looking at putting together a packages for IBMers. I am presuming IBM will be offering outplacement services. E-mail me and we can set up a time to talk. You will find a link at the top of this page.

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