“They literally have nothing left beyond the value of their homes. That means the only thing they have to support them is Social Security,” Baker said. “You’d like to think that people who spent their lives working would have some comfort in retirement.
“That’s going to be a questionable proposition.”
In that way, the Great Recession undercut so many boomers’ sense that they’d be rewarded for long years of work with a decade or more of secure retirement.
“A lot of baby boomers like me thought … if we worked hard, got our homes paid off, have a little nest egg, we’d probably be doing more travel and enjoying it and spending more time doing community service,” said Tim Pickell, a 60-year-old attorney in Prairie Village.
Like a lot of people, he thought wrong. Much of a family inheritance was wiped out — the stock market tumble took a chunk, so did a need to make up for a slowed-down income stream from his law practice. That set off serious recalculations.
“The reality is,” Pickell said, “I have a lot of hard work to do.”
Arends, the once-successful steelworker, dreads as much as anything the anxiety of endlessly pinching pennies.
Her pension and badly depleted retirement savings must keep a household of three afloat. Indefinitely. She’d like to go to the movies, but rents videos from Redbox instead. She’d like to eat out, but scours a discount grocery for sales. She’d like to spoil her granddaughter, but rarely can.
“I worked hard. I’d like to work more,” she said. “But this is where I am.”
©2013 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)
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GRAPHIC (from MCT Graphics, 202-383-6064): 20131007 BOOMERS