The "golden years" may not be so blissful after all. According to the Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll, "43 percent of boomers polled said they were 'very' or 'extremely' worried about being able to pay for their medical costs, including long-term care. Almost the same number, 41 percent, said losing their financial independence was a big concern."
Realities such as a struggling economy, longer life spans and increasing health care costs are putting added stress on baby boomers, who are defined as those born between 1946 and 1964.
"I always say I am going to work until I'm in the ground," said Ellie Krall of Manalapan, NJ, one of the boomers polled, to The AP. "I don't see myself being able to fully retire like people were able to do years ago."
For some, it also means less time for travel. Many baby boomers had thought that by the time they wer ein their 60s, they'd be able to kick back and travel at their leisure. This is why it's so important now for companies to market to boomers in a new way.
Earlier this year at the American Express Luxury Summit in Park City, UT, Sam Sebastian, director of North American local and B2B markets for Google, stated that mobile and online technology are not just for the younger generations, but too for baby boomers. "There is an ease of technology that has helped people get online," he said, noting that boomers actually spend more time online per month than Gen-X. If you aren’t focused on the baby boomer segment with regard to travel, now is the time. "Boomers aren’t focused on deals as much," Sebastian said. "Our research points to the segment being focused on the quality of the experience. They still go to the top resorts, but maybe now for five days instead of seven."
Of course, there are different kinds of boomers. "Boomers are not all created equal," Olivia Mitchell, professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and executive director of the Pension Research Council, told The AP. "The youngest boomers—the people who were born in the 60s—face more uncertainty about their pensions, their Social Security, their housing and their medical care." Mitchell suggests that boomers stave off retirement as long as possible. "As long as you are still working then you're not drawing down on your nest egg," she said.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that "29.1 percent of people aged 65 to 69 worked at least part-time last year. And almost 7 percent of people aged 75 or older were employed in 2010."
The AP-LifeGoesStrong.com poll was conducted from June 3-12 by Knowledge Networks of Palo Alto, CA, and involved online interviews with 1,416 adults, including 1,078 baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964.
Other information gleaned from the poll:
Baby boomers are relatively optimistic they will live longer than their parents' generation, with six in 10 (60 percent) believing they will live at least a little longer. Only 12 percent expect a shorter life span while 28 percent believe it will be about the same.
Boomers are in less agreement, however, about whether their longer lives will be better than the previous generation: almost half (49 percent) expect a better life than mom and dad, 25 percent say it will be about the same, but just over a quarter (26 percent) expect the quality of their lives will be worse.
For more poll findings, click here.