You have no doubt heard of the “Baby Boomers”, those individuals born between 1943 and 1963. I have written about them and also about their offspring, generation X and the ones after that named generation Y.
This is a topic that interests me with a great deal of enthusiasm. The baby boomers are coming to the age of retirement. I am starting to see in my business many older people move into retirement villages. These seem to be great ideas and serve a fantastic purpose for what they provide. I am constantly reading and today Icome across an article that I want to share parts what it was saying.
Following World War II, Australia’s population grew at record levels. Australia was not alone in this phenomenon. The United States, New Zealand and Canada all experienced Baby Booms at a similar time.
The Baby Boomers are an important phenomenon to understand. They have had dramatic effects on society and will substantially impact the way the stock market performs over the next 20 years. For this reason, it is important to understand some of the background on this interesting group of people.
As mentioned, the Baby Boom was experienced in various countries around the world. Part of the reason for the “Boom” was that these countries were immigrant receivers and immigrants tend to be in their 20’s, the prime childbearing years.
At its peak in 1957, the US boom hit 3.7 children per family. Canada hit its peak in 1959 with Canadian women averaging 4 offspring each; that was over 479,000 new births that year alone! Australia’s boom was not quite as big as the Canadian or US booms; however, we still have a disproportionate number of people who are today in their 40’s and 50’s. Following the Baby Boom, we had a Baby Bust. Far fewer children were born during the late sixties, leaving Australia with an asymmetrical population graph.
The Baby Bust group, born between 1964 and 1976 are a much smaller group than their predecessors and are commonly referred to as Generation X.
Baby Boomers are a very significant and important group. It is not that, individually, they aren’t any different than any other group who preceded them; it’s just that there are so many of them. Due to their large numbers, Baby Boomers have had a significant impact on our society, making substantial changes as they grew. They have changed the economy, driven housing and other markets and transformed social attitudes and lifestyles.
In Australia and North America today, the fastest growing industries, apart from technology, are financial management, leisure activities and health care. It is very easy to see why. Boomers have been working all their adult lives, usually for someone else. They have raised their children and are now focusing on their retirement. They have had a magnificent time. They have not endured wars, or a depression like their parents and grandparents. They have enjoyed fantastic luxuries such as cars, world holidays and computers. They have been at the forefront of the age of discovery.
Unfortunately, the majority have not prepared themselves financially for their retirements, believing instead that like their parents, they would enjoy a comfortable pension from their employers and/or government.
The stark realities are now coming to light. Everybody, especially the Boomers, must take responsibility for their financial futures. Our government will simply not be in a position to provide adequate pension incomes for a growing number of retirees. Today, for every person who is retired, there are four people working, providing income to the government. By 2025, there will be only 2 people working for every retiree. What’s more, the Boomers, as they start to retire, will live longer than any group before them, well into their 70’s and 80’s on average. As a result, it is up to each of us as individuals to take responsibility of our own personal financial planning.
The Australian government has made substantial improvements and preparations for the growing populations. They have introduced a compulsory superannuation scheme that all employers and employees must participate in and which is gradually rising in required contributions, but it will be too little, too late. The key to investment growth is time, a luxury many Boomers no longer possess.
Consider this fact, that at a return of 8% per annum, net of tax, an investment of $30,000 would require over 15 years to triple in value, not even considering the effects of inflation. Most investment strategies commonly promoted to the public boast returns of 4% to 10% per annum. We often see managed funds, superannuation schemes, bank term deposits and property investments offering such results. Many people consider these returns appropriate and even good! Unfortunately, many members of the public require a much greater return on their investments to adequately improve their financial positions before they retire (if they can ever afford to!).
There are going to be so many opportunities open up in the next few years in the void of this huge population group. Its an exciting time for a Gen Yer and a Gen Xer coming up.