Today’s report in the Boston Herald seems to herald (pun fully intended) good news for the employment picture in the United States in less than a decade – and apparently you have us boomers to thank for it. The thinking goes that boomers are beginning to retire in numbers big enough to create a dramatic labor shortage in this country by 2018:
If the baby boom generation retires from the labor force at the same rate and age as today’s older workers, the baby bust generation that follows will likely be too small to fill many of the projected new jobs.
That quote comes from Barry Bluestone, co-author of this study. Now read it again closely and see where Mr. Bluestone is jumping over a very big canyon to reach this conclusion:
IF the baby boom generations retires…at the SAME RATE AND AGE as today’s older workers…
That, my friends, is a very, very big “if.” Boomers haven’t followed the conventional path since the day they learned how to put one foot in front of the other – what makes you think they will now? Those of us who subscribe to the bohemian boomer philosophy are least likely to retire on time – if at all. We know that work can be an elixir of youth; when you invest your mind, talent and time on some activity about which you are passionate, you stay sharp, active and relevant in the world. We abhor the thought of spending our “golden years” cloistered away in a gated community where the biggest question we have to ponder each day is, “Do I use my 7 or 9 iron on this hole?”
Even if most boomers want to follow the traditional path to retirement, they may be SOL. The Boston Herald acknowledges that fact:
The market crash of 2008 may have hurt the baby boomers the most – more than 77 million of them nationwide. While the boomers saw their stock portfolios and home values rise in the 1980s and ’90s, the market volatility of the last two years has forced the children of the 1960s to rethink retirement, according to economists.
So, even though we’d love to see this study as proof that a brighter employment picture is a sure thing in the days ahead, I wouldn’t bet on it.
That “if” is just too iffy.