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Wave Of Baby Boomers Should Not Overwhelm Social Security

January 3, 2011

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The first wave of the Baby Boom generation, born in 1946, officially hit retirement age as of January 1. While Boomers will be retiring at a rate of about 7000 per day, the impact on Social Security won't be felt all at once.

Sam Wilson with AARP says that, for one thing, their surveys show not all Boomers will head to the sidelines right away.

"You know, about half of them do plan to retire, but then there's another third of them that are going to continue to work, just as though nothing happens when they turn 65. You have about 40 percent of folks that, even if they are not working full time, say that they plan to work until they quote unquote 'drop.'"

He says however that the Baby Boomers are different than those who retired before them.

"This is a generation which is healthier and wealthier than previous generations. And although the last few years have certainly had a hit on people's nest eggs, we have folks who are planning to live until they're 85, 88, those are sort of the mean ages that they expect to live to."

A Widener University study of Baby Boomers found that 66 percent of working individuals were either "very worried" or "somewhat worried" about spending all their money on health care. More than seven out of ten indicated they may work longer, if for no other reason than to continue to receive medical benefits.

Wilson says even though retirement numbers will rise with the Baby Boomers as they age past 65, the trustees' report from Social Security indicates the program is fiscally solvent until the 2030s.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - PA