The Baby Boom Will Never Retire - Half Have No Retirement Savings At All

Tyler Durden's picture


Some of you might remember the glossy highly produced advertisements back in the early 1980s when Wall Street decided it was time to turn American retirement plans into casinos.  The slow and agonizing death of the pension plan was supposed to be replaced by the beautiful and wonderful world of the 401(k) plan.  Save for 30 years and in the end, you will be a millionaire just like your friends on Wall Street that sincerely care about your financial future.  Of course since then, we have found out about junk bond scandals, mutual fund fees that make loan sharks look conservative, and of course the financial shenanigans of giving people toxic mortgages that were essentially ticking time bombs of destruction.  This was the industry that was put in charge of helping you plan for your future.  We are now a generation out from those slick ads and the results have been disastrous for most Americans.  A recent analysis found that half of US households 55 and older have no money stashed away for retirement.

The new retirement is no retirement

Planning for retirement takes time.  Saving money is a slow process.  There was a time when simply stashing money into CDs and savings bonds was enough to have a nice nest egg if you were diligent enough.  Yet for the last decade, most banks are paying close to zero percent on their savings accounts thanks to the Fed’s low rate policy to juice the markets.  Since the true inflation rate is much higher, you are essentially letting your money rot away.  So the only other option is for people to invest in the stock market or try to leverage into real estate.

The stock market is largely an arena for the wealthy.  Half of Americans own no stocks at all.  Now after a generation, we are finding out that most people did not follow in the footsteps of those glossy over produced retirement ads:

analysis for older households

Source:  GAO

“(Raw Story) Are we all in denial or is it simply impossible to save enough for retirement? Is it some kind of toxic combination of the two? Whatever the reason, yet another study – this one from no less an authority than the non-partisan US government accountability office (GAO) – is here to remind us that we’re woefully unprepared, financially speaking, for retirement. While we may all have dreams about how we’d like to spend our retirement years – fishing, golfing, writing that great American novel – the truth is that as many as half of all households with Americans 55 and older have no retirement savings at all . Nothing. Zip. Nada. Not a dime.


And the news gets worse, the GAO reports. Because households headed by older Americans that don’t have retirement savings like 401(k) plans or IRA accounts also are less likely to have other sources of income that they can rely on when they retire, such as pensions or even plain old savings accounts. About 29% have absolutely nothing : no pension plan, no savings, no 401(k), nothing.”

The idea that all older Americans own their home free and clear is simply not true.  Only 35 percent own their home free and clear from debt (and this does not mean they don’t have expenses like taxes, insurance, and maintenance).  24 percent are still saddled with mortgage debt.  And 41 percent do not own a home meaning they have to pay rents that continue tooutpace any wage gains.

The median net worth of those 55 and older is $34,760.  This is basically one small illness from bankrupting this family.  The median annual income of those 55 and older is $18,932 which makes them part of the new low wage America cohort.

On the retirement side 48 percent have some retirement savings (not much).  29 percent have no pension or retirement savings.  And 23 percent have a pension but no retirement savings.  In the end, it is a tough situation for many older Americans.  And that is why older Americans rely heavily on Social Security as their primary source of income into old age:


If it were not for Social Security, half of retirees would be out in the street bringing back another Great Depression like atmosphere.  This is in stark contrast to that 401(k) dreams pushed by Wall Street investment banks of endless Margaritas and walks on nameless sunny beaches.

The sad reality is that retirement is no longer what people think.  And keep in mind this is happening to the baby boomer generation that lived through some mega US prosperity and stock market bull runs.  What about young Americans today that are starting in an even more precarious position thanks to the insane cost of going to college and the mountain of student debtMany people are realizing that retirement is a luxury only a few can afford.

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Hitlery_4_Dictator's picture


froze25's picture

Looks like there will be some great realestate buys in the near future.

saints51's picture

If you can do it without a bank involved. If you need a loan you ain't buying shit. Money talks and money moves way faster than someone trying to get approved on a loan with all that red That is another dream brought to you by tv and we all know how that turned out with NINJA loans.

Buzz Fuzzel's picture

No, the reverse mortgage scammers have already cornered that market.

Money Counterfeiter's picture
Money Counterfeiter (not verified) Buzz Fuzzel Aug 20, 2015 11:02 AM

Seriously what the fuck do you expect when you have criminal mobsters in charge of banking and government?  Why would the criminals change?

All the people can do is identify the criminals and hang them.  Anything else is bull shit.

Santini Air's picture
Santini Air (not verified) Money Counterfeiter Aug 20, 2015 11:39 AM

1 BTC will buh you a hoarde of baby boomer slaves soon....

Santini Air's picture
Santini Air (not verified) Headbanger Aug 20, 2015 11:53 AM


mc225's picture

you say you're pro bitcoin, but if anything, your posting style basically pushes people away from bitcoin....

Santini Air's picture
Santini Air (not verified) mc225 Aug 20, 2015 12:20 PM

People here have made up their minds.  Judging by 90% of BTC-related comments we'd say they haven't even bothered looking into it....

Retired Guy's picture

Yes ZIRP is evil theft from savers- retired or saving for retirement. But most broke boomers planned it that way. Their plan was live for today, fuck the future.

People in some countries live on $500/year. To them Americans complaining about poverty must sound like disgusting whiners. They must wonder why Americans can't do more for themselves and figure out how to make do on $18000 or whatever.

As for people still working with higher incomes- boo-hoo for you. How do you spend it all and still complain? Think. Make do. Recycle. Anybody can save if you make some choices.

As an accountant I told plenty of people they had painted themselves into a corner and should declare bankrupcy, get a new start and use their brains this time. They hardly ever did.

Blankenstein's picture

Here's a great example of what you speak.  A house came up for sale in our area listed at a ridiculously high price.  I looked up the info on the house and they owed over $700k on the home and had purchased it in the early 90's for around 225k.  They had put an addition on the house around 15 years ago, but also lived high on the hog i.e. fancy cars, plus several kids who all drove decent cars.  This isn't uncommon.  These people live it up and want the house buyer to pay for it all.  Some sellers have more paid off on the house but still ask a mint because they want you to fund their nest egg.  No thanks.

Antifaschistische's picture

I hear you....but I know people, as I'm sure you do, who will retire (or at least hit retirement age) with zero net worth.....who have also spent $250,000 over their lifetime buying new cars every 3 to 5 years.   This just isn't something I blame the bankers for.   Oh sure, it is the counterfeiting bankers who invented the debt these people are using to enslave themselves to the debt + auto trap....but the bankers aren't forcing it.  It's the American obsession with some form of auto narsicism that keeps them going.

saints51's picture

That old saying use someone elses money to make money is for a certain club. It is true that they use our money to make money. The club keeps the profits from our money and puts the losses on the people.

Mr. Bones's picture

This article can't be right.  Everyone's telling me the economy is getting better, unemployment is low and the record number of older generation still on the job market is an artifact of bad data.  Also the teenage unemployment rate is irrelevant and wrong.

general ambivalent's picture

These are young workers, they just have progeria. We're living in Logan's Run just without the good looking people.

Creepy A. Cracker's picture

"...without the good looking people."

They might be ugly but they won't be fat because they wont have enough food.

UnicornSkittles's picture

Had a discussion about this with my teen and tween the other day.  I was talking to them about working to save for a car, etc. telling them about my jobs as a teenager, lawn guy, McDonald's (burgers, fries, front counter), Kroger (sacker, checker, stocker), etc. and my kids said "Dad, how did you work there?  The only place we see teenagers working is Chik-Fil-A and Baskin Robbins.  Everybody else iin fast food is old".  I look at that as a proxy for the economy as a whole.  Tons of people still working jobs that they don't really want to do, but have to do. 

Starter jobs that teach you how to show up on time, listen, do what needs to be done and move on to something better are now career jobs. 

GALAXY's picture

On the radio they were running an add saying that people dont put enough money aside for retirement.  LOL.  You gotta be kidding me.  What money?

Creepy A. Cracker's picture

You're supposed to be trading the EBT cards for cash.

Bilderberg Member's picture

Bingo tonight @ FEMA CAMP tent # 7....Kool Aid will be provided.

saints51's picture

I like the red flavor. So tasty!!!!

GeezerGeek's picture

Queen Hillary calls them Adult Fun Camps, or something equally inane. Face it guys, the way the USSA is going those camps may be the best option available in 10 or 20 years. Obama's plan to (dictatorially) bring about fundamental change to the USSA is progressing all too well, and I doubt that this place will even be recognizable.


Bastiat's picture

It is unrecognizable now: 9-11 was the breaking point.

toady's picture

Just needs a little rebranding. Instead FEMA camp, say, active adult community?

Firepower's picture

its why BOTH Parties MUST GO: The Speeding CLIFF Model:

Marvin the Martian's picture

Rad username bruh. Good thing we are fully "recovered" from all of the "crisisees"

kappal_toba_dhurr_ne_thook's picture

Oh YES!  Things are so peachy dandy all over. So dandy in fact that my husband who recently made a trip back to NJ and NYC said that half the restaurants we used to go to are closed and many of those places are empty.  GREAT RECOVERY!

Lumberjack's picture

Neither will the Millenials...

angel_of_joy's picture

Well, I'm glad that at least the X-Gen-ers will do fine... /s

kralizec's picture

Many generations will not be able to.

"Savings?", seriously?

Save in what?  The traditional vehicles (savings accounts, CD's, money market accounts) don't pay squat thanks to Fedcoat ZIRP!  The Casino's will fleece even a modestly savvy investor, it will devour the average person.  There is no traditional low-risk investment vehicle in existence and the retention of value in anything real (Ag,Au) has never been promoted by the entrenched PTBs.

When they are broke, homeless, starving and pissed off...I hope they know who to thank.

PTR's picture

Invest in community, self (skills,) food.  


(PMs and Cu-coated Lb has been noted adequately in the past, tyvm)

saints51's picture

are you a boomer? I bet you are just with that comment.

Consuelo's picture

And if not for the advent of easy credit and 'financing' as a viable option to 'saving first and spending later', where would these people be today (self-discipline notwithstanding...)?

surf0766's picture

They spent it all.. Oh well..


JustObserving's picture

The other good news is that the US Federal government is $210 trillion in debt and will never pay up on its promises of Social Security or Medicare in just a few years.

The government is 58% underfinanced . . . . Social Security is 33% underfinanced . . . . So, the entire government enterprise is in worse fiscal shape than Social Security is, but they are both in terrible shape.”  So, how much is America on the hook for in the future?  Kotlikoff contends, “If you take all the expenditures that the government is expected to make, as projected by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), all the spending on defense, repairing the roads, paying for the Supreme Court Justices’ salaries, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, everything and take all those expenditures into the future . . . and compare that to all the taxes that are projected to come in, and the difference is $210 trillion.  That’s the fiscal gap.  That’s our true debt.”

JR's picture

The country is careening; the divisions are going to crack into each other.

Bastiat's picture

Not 1 in 100 realize what Congress just did to what's left of the Social Security Trust Fund when they merged it with Disability.  Disability was within one year of going bust.

lehmen_sisters's picture

I'm 25, i know i'm fucked and i make money. People my age making 15 bucks an hour with a company 401K think they will be able to retire. The brainwashing of public education works well. 

1stepcloser's picture

oh to be 25 again... Bang only the rich girls (daddy has money)...make them see god..  Problem solved   


If you can't fuck real well.  Make sure you can eat pussy really well...

90's Child's picture

I'm 24 contributing 7% in 401K with company match 3% and their version of a pension contributing another 6%.

I work in manufacturing, producing PQ titanium. Working DuPont schedule company allows any off day to be worked at time and a half.

I gross seven - eight thousand monthly.

All my extra money I try to tie up in stocks and PM's.

Just so I have some hope of a future.

lehmen_sisters's picture

You are the minority, the rest of America is working at Shopko and call centers..If they are lucky. 

90's Child's picture

I think a lot of our generation is just lazy with a sense of entitlement.

I bust my ass for a pay check. My companies turnover rate is high. I've seen a lot of people my age not even hack the probationary period.

Manufacturing ain't for everyone, titanium is a easier process to manufacture compared to magnesium. I work next to USMag that place is a shit hole.

BandGap's picture

You said Shopko without saying "eh".  It's "Shopko, eh".

I canned the idea of retirement 5 years ago. Not going to happen and I don't really care.

johnconnor's picture

don't get married: I saved you 50% of your savings and babybady and vagimony payments that will cripple you for the rest of your life