May 29, 2002
Half a Million Strong--and Cranky

What do you think your retirement will be like? A Harris poll recently tried to categorize the attitudes of people over 55 about retirement:

19 percent are "Comfortably Content" who want a traditional retirement
22 percent are "Living for Today" who want to be active and adventurous, but who worry they haven't saved up enough money
27 percent are "Ageless Exploers" who want to learn new things and believe they have the financial resources to do them
32 percent are "Sick and Tired" who have saved for the shortest time and have low expectations for the future.

Most of the hype has focused on the flashy explorers, etc., but I was struck--and sort of chilled--by the fact that the biggest group is the most pessimistic one. Given that at least one survey says that those inexorable Baby Boomers have saved an average of only 12 percent of the total they will need to meet even basic living expenses in retirement, the rest of us may be looking at a long and cranky future.

Our local Cassandra Bob Greene wrote a few years ago about the growth of young people as the "new uberpredator" or something equally scary. In a few years' time, though, the tables could be turned. I expect to see stories of drive-by canings, gang wars in retirement communities, and hateful spats in senior citizen chat rooms. "I invented the Internet!" "No, I did!"

In other news, the new H arrived today. We'll test for Honda compatibility this weekend.

Posted at May 29, 2002 09:38 PM