Half of Boomers Social Security Eligible

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This milestone must be noted: about half of baby boomers are now over 62 and can claim their Social Security benefits.

The year 1955 was the midpoint for the post-World War II population explosion – and those boomers born in 1955 will turn 63 sometime this year.

This marks the time to take stock of differences between the old boomers (born 1946-1955) and young boomers (1956-1964).  Of course, Social Security eligibility doesn’t automatically mean retirement, and boomers of all ages are retiring later than their parents.  Today, only around a third of 62-year-olds file immediately for Social Security benefits – it was closer to half for the oldest boomers. The downward trend should continue.

But a yawning difference between the two boomer groups is their vastly different stages of life.  Those born in the late 1950s and early 1960s are still working full-time. Entrenched in work, they have several years to go to retirement – their big challenge is having enough time to prepare financially.

The oldest boomers, now in their late 60s and early 70s, are already retired. They can take great joy in their grandchildren, which most have. That’s a comforting antidote to sobering thoughts like whether my financial affairs are in order (just in case), who will take care of me when I no longer can, and how do I want to spend my final years or days?

The good news is that baby boomers are healthier than any previous generation and will live longer. Old and young boomers still have lots to enjoy.

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There is reason to think that the Early Boomers have had a better work experience than those in the Later Boom. Looking at the NRRI and other places shows that the Early Boomers have accumulated more resources at the same points in their lives than the Later Boomers, adjusted for inflation. In that respect, the Early Boom really is on a different path as a group than the Later Boom.

    Larry Littlefield

    Right. Male wages peaked in this country in 1973. Female wages continued to rise, but it was just catch up because they had been depressed. They have been falling for nearly 20 years.

    At some point later in the Baby Boom, later-born generations started to be disadvantaged. I put the cutoff at 1957 or so.

    At some point, the richest generations in American history will stop buying stock/bonds/houses and start selling. Buyer beware at these inflated prices.


Interesting topic. All 5 of us siblings are baby boomers – some have chosen to continue to work, others retired:
1. b.1946: retired (has claimed Soc. Sec.)
2. b.1950: working full-time
3. b.1955: retired (has not claimed Soc. Sec.)
4. b.1958: working full-time
5. b.1962: working full-time

Our parents (b. 1920 & 1921) both retired at 68y/o. So far, the two of us that retired, retired at younger ages than our parents. The three that are not yet retired, are well-prepared financially and will be quite comfortable (& hopefully healthy) in retirement. The three youngest have benefited from investing in the stock market.

Financial preparedness has been a major discussion topic for us for many years — and still is whenever we get together.

As for who will take care of us when we no longer can, that question is more difficult to answer…


This is quite a generalization that the Early Boomers are already retired. My husband (born in 1950, age 67) and I (born in 1954, age 63) are still working. The only people I know who can truly afford to retire in their 60s are those people with pensions. We’ve been diligent savers all our lives, but retirement still looks pretty scary from here.

Ken Pidcock

I’m a peak boomer (b. 1954) and I’ve long felt an obligation to retire as soon as feasible. We’ve held too many of the good jobs for too long. People boast about how they’ll never retire, but there’s nothing commendable about keeping a younger colleague from reaching their potential. (If you’re self-employed, it’s another matter.) An aging workforce is one less likely to be innovative, whether we care to admit it or not. My advice to fellow boomers is, if you can afford to, get off the stage. There’s plenty left to do without standing in the way. (Of course, the key phrase is “if you can afford to.” I’m not trying to make people feel guilty for working when they have to!)

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