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1/20: Boomers Expect Less Comfortable Retirement


1/20: Boomers Expect Less Comfortable Retirement

2011 marks a milestone for one of the most discussed generations — the Baby Boomers.  This year, the Boomers began turning 65 years old.  As they enter this golden stage of life, how optimistic are they about their future?

retirement graphic with hourglass


Click Here for Complete January 20, 2011 USA Marist Poll Release and Tables

When it comes to their retirement years, a majority of Baby Boomers — 54% — believe they will be less comfortable than other generations before them.  In fact, Boomers are the generation who is least optimistic about post retirement life.  Nearly half — 48% — of Millennials and a plurality — 44% — of Gen Xers believe retirement will be more difficult compared with previous generations.  Only the Silent-Greatest generation has a more positive outlook.  Nearly four in ten in this group — 39% — say they are more comfortable than generations who preceded them. 37% say they are about as comfortable.

Among Americans overall — 44% — report their retirement years will be more trying compared with about one-third — 33% — who say they anticipate those years will be about as comfortable as those who retired before them.  22% believe they will have it easier than their predecessors.

Table: Life Post Retirement

Looking Back to the Future: Hope for a Cure

When they were teenagers, four in ten Baby Boomers — 40% — thought a cure for cancer would be discovered by the time they were 65.  21% thought poverty or hunger would be ended, 18% believed there would be an end to war, and an additional 12% predicted a clean environment around the globe. 10% were unsure.

Hope for a cure for cancer spans the generations.  52% of Gen Xers, 51% of Millennials, and 31% of those in the Silent-Greatest generation report they, as teens, thought a cure for the disease would be found by the time they turned 65.

Among adults as a whole, 43% of Americans believed, as teens, a cure for cancer would be discovered by the time they reached retirement age.

Table: Goal Accomplished by the Age of 65

Visions of Innovations: Driving Sky-High

As for the innovation that Boomers thought would most likely be invented by the time they reached 65, three in ten — 30% — believed, as teenagers, there would be flying cars.  35% of Gen Xers agree.  Millennials divide with 28% predicting, as teenagers, that flying cars would enter the transportation landscape by the time they reach retirement age and 25% anticipating human robots.  There is little consensus among those in the Silent-Greatest generation.  Among this group, 17% envisioned flying cars, 16% thought people from earth would be living on other planets, and 14% believed there would be a technological way to make us smarter.  12% thought human robots would be commonplace.  Four percent believed there would be no need for sleep, and nearly four in ten — 38% — were unsure.

Among adults nationally, as teens, 28% reported flying cars and 21% believed human robots would be invented by the time they reach 65.

Table: Innovation Invented by the Age of 65

Boomers: Burden or Benefit?

Most Americans — 80% — acknowledge the contributions Baby Boomers, as a generation, have made to society.  This includes 87% of Boomers, 79% of those in Gen X, 77% of Millennials, and 75% of those in the Silent-Greatest generation who believe Boomers have been more of a benefit than a burden to American life.  However, a greater proportion of Millennials -than any other generation — 19% — consider Boomers to be more of a burden than a benefit.

Table: Boomer Generation -– Societal Burden or Benefit?

Marist Poll Methodology

Related Stories:

Baby Boomers’ Reality: An Interview

Blog: Boom or Bust?

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  1. David Miller

    February 3, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    At 68 I am a true ‘boomer’ and many financial warnings regarding savings and pensions were ignored with typical boomer arrogance and carelessness. When the financial system started collapsing 3 years ago ‘boomers’ like me looked on in horror as the wheels came off 🙁

  2. Mark

    November 13, 2011 at 11:51 PM

    Ignorance and arrogance. It’s a deadly combination. Anybody remember the saying that history repeats itself? The greed and corruption of our government has brought us to the brink of collapse. Unfortunately, the baby boomer generation is beginning to feel the effects. Let’s see, the Roman empire, the Greek empire, the Egyptian empire…see a pattern here? Think it’s not going to happen here? I’m sure your ostrich friends agree.

  3. babystuff

    June 1, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    thank you for the information with this information I can have a view of what I would do in the future. what will I do when life is no longer productive. My age is now 32.

  4. Al Hardy

    May 1, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    I am 63 and one of the so called “baby boomers” and yes I thought they would be flying cars, jet packs that would lift us above the crowd freeways, and a pill that would cure all diseases. But I also believed Superman, Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, and Gene Audry would catch all of the bad guys in the world and we all then could live in peace.

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