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Wave Of Baby Boomers Should Not Overwhelm Social Security

December 31, 2010

SIOUX FALLS, S. D. - The first wave of the baby boom generation, born in 1946, hits retirement age beginning January 1. If they retire at a rate of about 7,000 per day, the impact on Social Security won't be felt all at once. In fact, says Sam Wilson, associate state director for AARP-South Dakota, the surveys show not all boomers will head to the sidelines.

"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're not working full-time, say they plan to work until they 'drop.' And so, this is a generation that doesn't view 65 as anything more than a number."

In that sense, he says, the baby boomers are different than those who retired before them. Further, he notes, many are now in positions of power – positions they don't intend to give up easily.

"We also know 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 the mean ages that they expect to live to, and people are living much healthier lives. They're being active, they're getting out; they're exercising and eating right."

Wilson says even though retirement numbers will rise with the baby boomers, the trustees' report from Social Security indicates the program is fiscally solvent until the 2030s.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD