To be retired and not financially independent is retirement hell. As the boomers retire, there will be insufficient retirement beds, personal care workers and health care resources. For many families, a modest lifestyle will deteriorate when they forced to move into a retirement facility that they may not be able to afford. Not only will retirement dreams not be fulfilled, but living with dignity will be a challenge for many, especially in their final years when their physical and mental abilities are starting to decline.
Families can be grouped into three broad categories by income levels. At the upper end, there are wealthy families that have accumulated sufficient resources to ensure there will be no financial issues during retirement. At the bottom end, there is a group that can be referred to as the underclass. It consists of the working poor, individuals with mental or physical disabilities, families living in a world of generational poverty and a group that includes bums, slackers and criminals that have no interest in an honest day’s work. This underclass, which includes many seniors, will only survive with government assistance. In between these two groups is a middle class under siege.
An unexpected job loss, divorce, or major illness can deliver a painful economic blow that may kill the retirement dreams that have been built up over a lifetime. Even if a middle-class family can fund their retirement, they fear that their children may not be able to afford that luxury.
Economic restructuring has resulted in many families living one financial crisis short of being unable to pay the bills. Upon retirement, families have to finance a retirement that may last more than thirty years. With minimal savings and inadequate pensions, many families will require government pensions to support their lifestyle.
An increasing number of families require government assistance at a time when government debt is out of control. Defined benefit pension plans are being eliminated in the private sector and governments do not appear to have a plan to pay the healthcare and retirement costs of a demographic spike known as the baby boomers. These factors have created a perfect storm that will create havoc in the life of many families. This is retirement hell.