Blue Collar Baby Boomers Hoping To Retire
If you’re a baby boomer who has spent your working career as a blue-collar worker, you’ve probably been looking forward to retiring while you’re still young enough to enjoy it.
There’s no getting around the fact that hard physical labor takes a toll on the body. You can only do it for so long before it starts affecting you, and that’s a major concern as you get older. But with fully 20% of the workforce currently made up of workers aged 55 or older, there’s lots of competition for less physically demanding jobs.
With the way things are going, there’s a greater likelihood of you having to work longer than you want to, than there is of you being able to retire before your body gives out. In fact some pessimistic baby boomers believe that they will have to keep working until they die. Sadly, there are several reasons why this might be true.
Pension Plans And Social Security For Blue-Collar Workers
Blue-collar jobs with good pension plans are few and far between and it’s getting worse as time goes on. Small companies can’t afford to provide pension plans and larger companies are tightening their financial belts in order to stay in business. One of the first things to go when this happens is the pension plan for employees.
Then there’s the lack of security with the Social Security fund. It’s ironic that most workers have contributed to Social Security for their entire working lives, with the idea that they would have some financial security in retirement.
Instead there is a huge shortfall in this fund. If something isn’t done to address this problem soon, there may not be any Social Security fund to draw on in years to come. This weighs heavily on the minds of both those without a pension plan or enough retirement savings.
Savings Among Blue-Collar Baby Boomers
Although many blue-collar jobs pay a decent wage, there is not usually a whole lot left over to put into retirement savings after paying the bills. Government statistics show that very few blue-collar baby boomers have adequate money set aside to retire. One of the main reasons for this is lack of overtime.
Business isn’t exactly booming in most industries today, so there is less opportunity generally for workers to put in overtime. In the past, many workers depended on working a lot of extra hours in order to sock away some money in a retirement fund. But with many sectors of the economy slumping, this once reliable source of extra income will most likely continue to be largely unavailable.
Why Retirement Will Probably Be Delayed
Put these factors together and it’s no surprise that retirement will have to be delayed for many, if it happens at all.
If you’re a homeowner the news is a little better. Retirement may be within your reach if you made enough money to own your own home, (although it will depend on how much your house is worth). In this case, you would have the option to sell it and use the proceeds to help finance your retirement.
In fact, for those in the blue-collar sector, home ownership and other investments could provide up to 50% of the funds you need to retire. However if you’re not ready to sell your home, you’ll likely have to keep working.
But many low income workers won’t have been able to afford to buy a home in the first place. Because of that, their options are even more limited, as is their dependence on Social Security. The reality for this group is that they will probably have to continue to work well after they reach retirement age.
Even the self-employed can be in a tough spot, depending on how they’ve made their living. Many labor intensive businesses turn out to be one-man operations. This means that whatever money they make they keep, but it also means they have to keep working to have an income. It’s not much different in the long run than holding down a blue-collar job.
It hardly seems fair if you’ve worked hard your whole life. It may be even more disappointing for those who diligently put aside a portion of their earnings regularly and invested in an IRA (Individual Retirement Account). The return on many IRAs hasn’t lived up to expectations. In some cases they have lost most of their value, effectively wiping out the dream of retirement for too many people.
It seems like nothing but bad news for blue-collar baby boomers who are hoping to retire in the near future. If you like what you do and are still able to physically perform the work, it may not be a problem. But if you’re concerned about your future and you’re getting tired of working, maybe it’s time to look at some alternatives.
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