It seems no matter where you go, you’ve got to keep on eye on the Baby Boom generation. At nearly every conference I’ve attended during my tenure here, the members of the generation born between 1946 and 1964, affectionately known as Baby Boomers, manage to make themselves a topic of conversation.
This week is no exception. At the American Institute of CPAs Information Technology Conference in Las Vegas this week, the Boomers came up during the very first day.
During the keynote session that kicked off the three-day meeting, the speaker, Neil Lebovits of Ajilon, warned the group that the Boomers are going to give tech firms - and probably every other business - a headache when they retire, in the form of a major labor shortage. Lebovits said the crisis will be bad even if the economy doesn’t pick up - and worse if it does and new jobs are created. His advice: Act now to get top talent in place so you don’t get left behind when the exodus arrives.
Down the hall at the Terra Securities (formerly known as the GE Independent Accountants Network) national annual conference, Principal Financial’s Brian Cooper reminded attendees that, 10 years from now, there will be more assets leaving qualified plans than coming in, due to the number of Baby Boomers preparing for retirement. He suggested that if they haven’t already, advisors might want to invest some time in the often-overlooked 401(k) industry.
And Terra’s Brenda Bellevue noted that although the Boomers own roughly 79 percent of the financial assets in the U.S., many in the 50-and-over age bracket don’t have enough retirement income. It sounds like that group may need some financial planning advice whether they plan to retire or not.
The Boomers pop up everywhere. Just a few weeks ago, the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pa., launched a new designation, the Chartered Advisor for Senior Living (CASL), developed “in response to a critical need for information as Baby Boomers move into their retirement years.”
Study after study has been done about the impact of the Boomers on varying aspects of the economy - on everything from car sales to real estate to government debt. Reports surface regularly on how the Boomers’ aging will impact numerous government programs.
Of course, there’s a reason that the Boomers have commanded the attention of the entire nation - there are roughly 76 million of them. Whether or not they will, in fact, turn out to be the demographic time bomb that many have predicted, it seems pretty clear that no matter what you do, you’ve got to pay attention to those Baby Boomers.
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