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Nearly three in five baby boomers face a financial bust in retirement if the current economic climate persists, according to a study cited in a recent article by the Wall Street Journal.

“Early” baby boomers, aged 56 to 62, have a 47 percent chance of not having enough money to pay basic retirement costs, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. “Late” boomers, aged 46 to 55, as well as workers currently aged 29 to 45, have about a 45 percent chance of running short, the study noted.

Baby boomers, who make up around 78 million or 25 percent of the total spenders in the U.S., are among the Americans who have had their nest eggs slashed by 18 percent or an average of $171,000 per person since the end of 2007, according to the WSJ.

A study released earlier this month by the Century Foundation showed that declining housing values, weak investment markets and scarce opportunities for employment will all force baby boomers to tighten their belts in their old age. “In 2008 alone, housing prices dropped an average of 33 percent, greatly depleting the wealth of the majority of baby boomers, who have relatively little savings beyond what they have invested in their home. Concurrently, the 40 percent drop in equity markets in 2008 had a devastating affect on higher net worth baby boomers, for whom stock ownership is the predominant form of wealth,” the report noted.

The cutbacks would put an additional drag on retirees’ already weak consumer spending — people aged 65 to 74 spent 12.3 percent less in 2008 than they did ten years earlier, says the WSJ. In 2007, the consulting firm McKinsey estimated that baby boomers control nearly 40 percent of U.S. consumer spending.

Huffington Post  August 16/10

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