This Looming Wave Will Change Everything
From 1946 to 1964, around 73 Million Americans were born. If you were born in that post-war era of rapid population expansion, you’re one of this unique group – the generation known as the Baby Boomers.
Baby Boomers, or just Boomers, as they’re sometimes called, share a few characteristics. They’re known to have a strong work ethic, a competitive nature, and a resourceful goal-centric mentality.
This generation shaped so much of Western society in ways both economic and social.
Baby Boomers helped to build massive companies – many of which are part of the foundation of the economy today.
Because they grew up in a time of dramatic social change, their attitudes shifted the way Americans act and think about many of the biggest factors of our lives.
From church to television, the Boomers shifted the way we feel about it all.
And as time goes on, the Boomers are unintentionally creating another shift…
And this one’s going to hit like a tsunami.
The Silver Tsunami, as this shift has been dubbed, is poised to cause a huge disruption on two fronts.
The Jobs Market
As Boomers age and retire, there will be fewer people contributing to the economy.
The next generation in succession is Generation X – and there are about 8 million fewer Gen Xers than there are Baby Boomers.
This leaves a lot of positions unfilled.
We already saw some economic downturn because of this when the first portion of Boomers began to retire around 2008…
But as the entire group comes to the point where they can finally retire, we can expect to see much more severe effects.
As seasoned employees leave the workplace, the ones left to fill their shoes are less experienced and this leads to further disruptions in productivity.
Without the Boomers on board, it’s uncertain what will become of the companies we know and love the most.
The Housing Market
Over the next two decades or so, per Zillow, 27% of owner-occupied homes in the US will go up for sale as their owners age and then vacate their homes.
Popular retirement cities and cities where the younger population has already moved away will be hit the hardest.
This shift is likely to change the face of the housing market – and then the entire US – as we know it.
With all these homes on the market, the home construction industry could see a serious slow down…
And the trades and resources usually used in new home construction will see a decrease as well.
We could see an increase in multi-family housing that offsets some of this, but it’s hard to predict where people will want to move when they sell their homes.
All this is to say you can expect to see some major flux in the real estate market, the population and the demographics of many cities.
Certainly, some areas will be hit harder than others, but the long-term effects of this change are likely to be far-reaching.
Knowing about this new transition that we’ll all face, you might be asking yourself…
How Will This Affect Me?
And how can I make sure my family will be safe and comfortable throughout the decades to come?
The first thing to know is that just because retirement age is coming doesn’t mean you have to retire. Many workforces around the world – from the UK to Japan – keep their employees as long as they’d like to stay.
This has multiple benefits.
One, the older workers have the opportunity to mentor the younger ones. Their wisdom and experience is invaluable. According to the BBC, mixed-age teams are much more productive than those that are less age-diverse.
Two, the senior workers continue to collect their full pay. In a world where Social Security is inadequate and many struggle with alternate income, this peace of mind is priceless.
And three, the entire economy gets to benefit from having seasoned employees in place. After all, a rising tide lifts all boats, so if older workers can stay on the team and continue to contribute, then everyone benefits.
If you do intend to retire, then have a conversation with your financial planner to make sure you’ve got the funds to cover your costs of living and then some. This doesn’t have to be the time to slow down – you could use those extra funds to start a business or even double down on investing. That way, you’ll continue to have fresh income without the burden of “work”.
On the housing front, if you’re reaching retirement age, it may be time to reconsider what “home” means to you now before the glut of properties hit the market.
Do you want to stay in your current home?
Or would you prefer to live somewhere else?
It you’d like to move anyway, you might consider putting your current home up for rent now (again, that’s fresh income in your pocket). Then you’ll have your pick of places to live and you’ll be somewhat insulated from a potential real estate market crash.
If you want to stay in your current home, look into the current and projected demographics to make sure your town is insulated from the changes we’re all about to experience.
If your home is paid off and you live in a mixed-age city, you may feel no change whatsoever, but if you’re still making payments on your mortgage and you live in a city with a rapidly aging population, it might be in your best interests to look around and make sure that’s still the best fit for you and your family.
No matter what your age or situation, the Silver Tsunami is going to bring us an interesting couple of decades. Some people may look at this as a frightening trend, but if you look ahead and make informed decisions, you’ll weather whatever it may bring comfortably.
Editor, Brian Rose Uncensored