Retirement is tough enough without adding additional hassles like mortgage payments, student loan payments and unsecured debt. Most Boomers haven’t pared down their lifestyles, so they are unprepared for a drop in revenue and not in essential spending. Few financial advisers and insurance agents address a potential future where there are no discretionary dollars. For most the retirement dream may very well morph into a senior nightmare.
Debt destroys equity built over time because the associated interest expense erodes depreciated assets. Shockingly, many seniors are unaware of the coming budget crisis as early as two years into retirement. As a result, the vast majority of Baby Boomers will have little to no net worth, to say nothing of transferring their estate to their progeny. Without a debt reduction plan and the will to stick to it, the sixties generation is going to be deep-sixed. Keep in mind that none of what is being addressed here is factoring in longevity, the greatest retirement risk next to debt itself. Indeed, longevity risk is a risk multiplier of every other risk. While it’s true that Social Security benefits will pay forever, it will not be enough for essential spending.
Debt service is a challenge in retirement. No financial steward worth his or her advice can ignore the plight of indebtedness and continue to collect assets under management if the portfolio returns can’t pay down the debt and cover essential spending. For the first time in American retirement, the baby Boomer generation is the leading demographic in bankruptcy filing.
If this all sounds alarming, it is. It’s not about crying wolf or pretending to be Chicken Little, it’s simply the biggest wakeup call of your life.
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