The silver tsunami is approaching. And while many people see this as a golden age where they will be able to retire happily, the reality is far different.
Even though we live in the richest country that has even existed on the face of the earth, the reality is that the vast majority of people who reach retirement age are unable to retire successfully and are reliant on entitlement programs (i.e. Social Security, Medicare, etc…).
Unfortunately, all of these entitlement programs are all destined to go bankrupt (here is a great explanation of why Social Security is on borrowed time) or seniors are under the diluted notion that their families will be taking care of them in retirement (more on that here).
There have been the beginnings of some initiatives to begin to deal with this massive demographics problem that is coming our way. I have already written about the Caregiver Corps but now comes word that there are the beginnings of a movement in Congress.
I came across this article from the Albuquerque Journal talking about how…
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a former New Mexico Secretary of Aging, next week will launch a bipartisan congressional caucus aimed at bringing more attention to the plight of those caring for aging family members.
The bi-partisan caucus, known as the ACT Caucus (Assisting Caregivers Today) will be the first of its kind, and is a first step by the government to acknowledge what most caregivers know…
…That the stresses and strains of caregiving can be unbearable and rob the caregiver of their own life.
There are losses of a financial aspect that need to be considered for the caregiver. And I am not talking about out-of-pocket expenses, which can be extensive.
Any caregiver who leaves their job or reduces their hours of to work accommodate their caregiving responsibilities ultimately loses the ability to invest in retirement assets at work (401(k), public pension system for government workers, etc…) and also limits their own ability to use IRA’s for their own retirement savings.
Therefore, caregiving today can still lead to consequences for the next 30 years.
There is also the health care question, as many of these caregivers could lose their own health insurance when they become caregivers.
And these are only the individual financial effects of caregiving. What about the financial cost to the nation as the baby boomers, the single largest demographic generation in history, retires.
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SSI…they are all slated to go bankrupt over the next 20-30 years. I can only hope that the caucus will also start to bring these problems to light and try and find solutions now…because a solution now will be far easier to deal with than later.