To be old, cold, broke, and alone are the four horsemen of aging baby boomers. Aging has been a fact of life since life itself appeared on the planet, and no one has ever doubted that they would age as time passed. It’s the combination of aging with the prospect of being cold, broke, and alone that’s terrifying for some boomers as they head into their senior years.
Out in the Cold
Miracle breakthroughs in energy production, foreseen in the 1970s and 80s, are clearly not here yet. Despite current price fluctuations, the long-term trend in heating, lighting, and relying upon energy to run one’s home can only point upward for the near future. Prices will only climb as boomers face the end of their careers, retirement, and years of living on a fixed income.
Going for Broke
With falling housing prices, fears of a retracted recession, and government debt rising to astronomical heights, the long-term savings of many a boomer has taken a big hit. Boomers close to retiring don’t have sufficient time to recover, and even those who are five, 10, and 15 years from retirement will face rocky roads. The prospects of going broke, or at least having to live out one’s days on far less than anticipated, are real and alarming.
For several decades, one in two marriages in the U.S. has ended in divorce. This doesn’t mean that one out of two people get divorced, because first-time divorcees are unfortunately prone to being divorced again and perhaps again. In any case, the number of single adults above age 45 is at an all-time high and growing. More people heading into their “golden years” are alone than at any other time in U.S. history.
Finishing one’s life cold, broke, and alone is not a pretty picture. Yet, significant numbers of boomers face this prospect. While individually little can be done about macroeconomics, the rising cost of energy, or declines in property and investment values, for aging boomers there are more potential partners today than ever before. Online dating services and a variety of local social groups all but ensure that those who don’t want to face their senior years alone, don’t have to.
Old, cold, broke, and alone need not be your fate.