Nadine Wimmer ReportingWithin the next few years, Utah faces a population shift with huge financial implications. Baby boomers will start to retire all at once, and most of them aren't financially prepared.
That lack of preparation won't hurt just boomers. There's a ripple effect that spreads across a couple generations. Baby boomers are the generation famous for ducktail hair, Hoola Hoops, hotrods, and hound dogs. In the next few years they could be known for another legacy.
David Patton PhD., Center for Public Policy and Administration: “The statistics show most of that generation has not provided for themselves very well."
A recent state survey shows fully two-thirds of Utahns over 50 haven't even started thinking or planning for retirement. That's more than 130,000 people who won't be financially prepared.
Melanie Christianson, Boomer: “You always know that retirement is coming, but I think you kinf of think, ‘We’ll worry about that later.’”
Later came sooner for Melanie and Jack Christianson. They planned better than most, but realized a few years ago it would be hard to finance their plans after retirement.
Jack Christianson: “I couldn’t do that if I was strapped with debt.”
Roger Smedley, Smedley Financial Services: “People don't panic soon enough. So they've got to panic sooner and that will get them out of procrastinating."
By the time many boomers realize they're in trouble, only drastic measures will put them in a position to retire.
Sharla Jessop, Smedley Financial Services: "We're concerned for them. We're concerned often times they think they're going to be ready to retire and live the same lifestyle, but they're not going to be able to have the same income they'd planned on."
That problem is aggravating another change illustrated at one senior center. It's unique to Utah. Alongside a retiring population, you've got a daycare, a huge influx of kids about to enter school young, old and in the middle, those who will get stuck with the bill.
Robin Arnold Williams, Health and Human Services: “We happen to think it's a big deal. It has implications for every segment of society. This is not a small blip in the demographics, this is huge."
The state is working with researchers at the University of Utah to anticipate how to meet the demands of the changing if not competing needs. But one thing is already apparent.
David Patton: “Somebody's going to have to pay for all that."
And that SOMEBODY, is you, the person in the middle, between the ages of 20 and 45, pulled from both sides to support populations that rely on the system…
David Patton: ”They're going to have to pay for higher education costs and they're going to have to pay for higher retirement costs; and that 's going to be a very large burden for that group."
So the call to plan for your financial future becomes all the more important, even if you're not nearing retirement. Here's a sad fact: when asked, ‘What's the best way to gain wealth in your lifetime?’, 27-percent said winning the lottery. Wrong answer. Invest the five-dollars a week in a Roth IRA for 50 years and you'd have nearly $60,000 in tax free dollars to show for your investment.
We've got helpful program for you on our website that will tell you how much you'll need and how much you could have.