Younger Baby Boomers’ Finances

Younger Baby Boomers’ Finances

Auditing Their Strengths and Weaknesses

When marketers are chastised for ignoring older consumers, it is often said that baby boomers are the ones with all the money. But to what extent do younger boomers live up to that billing? They certainly have more money than the much-courted millennials. But looking at a mix of factors—income, net wealth, retirement readiness and so on—one must give their finances a mixed review.

  • Younger boomers have above-average household income—$82,322, by latest count—even though their often empty-nester households are below-average in size.
  • A majority of younger boomers are still in the workforce—including more than seven in 10 of those ages 55 to 59. But the number drops significantly as one gets closer to age 65.
  • The popular notion that most boomers will work indefinitely does not hold up to scrutiny, as health issues will push many of them out of the workforce. More broadly, health-related expenses are a major concern for this age group, as well they should be.
  • Compared with younger generations, boomers have high net wealth. By one measure, median net wealth for the 55-to-64s was $187,300 as of 2016, nearly double the figure for total households.
  • Home ownership is a big part of this, and about three-quarters of younger boomers are owners. But there’s a caveat: Many will be paying off mortgages well into their retirement years. And they carry other sorts of debt as well, sometimes including student loans. About three quarters carry some debt, with a median amount of nearly $70,000.
  • One report puts the median amount in retirement accounts for 55-to-64s at $120,000. But as they approach a retirement that could easily span a couple decades, many boomers have little or nothing saved for it.
  • On the expenditure side, younger boomer households spent an average of $63,255 in the latest 12-month period for which there is data—more on a per-person basis than younger households. The 55-to-64s spend well-above-average amounts for new vehicles.

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authors

Mark Dolliver

Contributors

Tricia Carr
Managing Editor, Interviews
Jennifer Pearson
Research Manager

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