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All the members of the country's largest generation are now at middle age or beyond. As baby boomers age, they will be faced with adapting to the needs and demands of their age groups. Aging means responding to both financial and physical changes that require alterations in their lifestyles and expectations.
As baby boomers age, they face a whole new set of challenges and situations from those in their younger years. While the youngest of the baby boomers, the members of what is sometimes called “Generation Jones”, are only in their mid forties, the oldest of this largest of American generations will begin turning sixty-five in 2011.
Even the youngest of the baby boomers are past the first bloom of youth. A generation that once proclaimed “Never trust anyone over thirty” now begins at the age of forty-six. Since most of them are still working and will be paying into retirement and Social Security systems for many more years, they too are keenly aware of the implications of their aging generation and its oldest members.
Those in their forties may still be entrenched in child rearing especially since it is no longer considered unusual for a woman to begin a pregnancy in her forties. In fact, with innovations in reproductive medicine, it has become possible for women to conceive quite a bit past the usual age of childbearing. Many have become financially successful to the degree necessary to afford high tech means of having a child later in life.
Thus, some baby boomers in their fifties and even older may have very young children while most in this age group have children who are college age or older. For the latter, rising costs of higher education are a perennial concern.
And what of the oldest of the baby boomers? For them, children are mostly grown and gone from the home and their issues surround the quality of their lives after retirement. While baby boomers as a whole control a great proportion of the national wealth and buying power, that often decreases on retirement incomes.
Many baby boomers have planned well and have portfolios of stocks and other investments that will provide a comfortable retirement, but others either may not have planned well, never made enough to save or invest, or saw their savings disappear in stock market collapses.
As baby boomers age they also face the reality that health and physical abilities may also impair their retirement lifestyles. In addition, declining health may also mean increased medical expenses that can be particularly troublesome on a fixed income.