NC Boomers Fat and Flat Broke

There is an article in the Charlotte Observer today entitled Some N.C. boomers: Fat and flat broke. Worth a read because I am sure that it applies to more than just N.C. boomers.

Some of the highlights:

  • Those among the first decade of boomers – now at retirement age or within 10 years of it – may find a combination of unhealthy living and unwise personal finance decisions will leave them in rough shape after age 65.
  • State health statistics show the 55- to 64-year-old Tar Heels exercise less than younger groups. Also they are more likely than any other group to gamble once or more a week.
  • Illegal drug use by people in their 50s has increased by 46 percent over a five-year period, from about one in 20 to about one in 10. Combine that with the prescription medicines they take and the interactions they might cause and you have a toxic stew brewing.
  • More than a third of Tar Heels between 55 and 64 are obese. They’re not only fatter than those a decade younger but also heftier than those a decade older. 85 percent of first-wave boomers in the state admit to getting effectively no exercise.
  • About three-quarters of baby boomers say their retirement plans have been negatively affected by the current financial downturn.

Researchers say this all will probably increase the demand for Medicaid and Medicare services as the boomers move into retirement years. And that will affect EVERYONE.

“My sense is that we are in denial about aging,” said Joan Pellettier, director of the Triangle J Area Agency on Aging. Experts on aging say the advice on healthy aging is much the same for older people as for anyone else: Eat less, move more. But a particular emphasis on balance and mobility can help ward off the falls and fractures that can be particularly devastating to older adults. Pellettier also urges boomers to start thinking about long-term care insurance, coverage that’s been made more accessible through recent state and federal legislation.

OK, if you read my blog regularly than all of this sounds like a broken record. I make three simple points about aging. Prepare now financially, physically and emotionally for aging so that old age does not become one crisis after another.

As F.D.R. said: “Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you‰Ûªve got to start young.”