An Invisible Epidemic Among Seniors: Should You be Worried?

Steve McDonald By Steve McDonald, Bond Strategist, The Oxford Club

Slap In The Face Award


The “Slap in the Face” Award this week goes out to the boomers. We’re in the spotlight again, and it isn’t good news.

In addition to undersaving for retirement (something I’ve talked about so much, I’m sick of hearing about it), boomers’ marriages are breaking up at a record pace.

Many of those in the “Love Generation” are becoming the kings and queens of divorce. And our healthcare costs are going through the roof.

No one has any idea how Medicare will survive or manage to support the boomers’ impending 30 years of physical decline.

And about half of us will require long-term care, yet nobody has insurance to cover it. And no one has a clue how we’ll handle the costs.

It just keeps getting better, because our generation has another problem… And this will come as no surprise to those of us who lived through the last 50 years…

We’re drinking too much in retirement too.

It seems the shock of going from full speed every day at work to zero in retirement is driving the “Pepsi Generation” to booze!

Lots of booze.

Risky drinking behavior is on the rise… and it requires less alcohol than I ever imagined to qualify as “risky.”

Men who drink 24 ounces or more of alcohol per week are considered “at risk.” That number is only 16 ounces for women.

Women always seem to get the short end of the stick!

A sign of risky drinking behavior, I kid you not, is passing out from excessive drinking.

Yeah… drinking so much that you pass out sounds “risky” to me!

All these facts and numbers come from a Finnish study about seniors and alcohol. But it dovetails nicely with the American effort to encourage retirement planning and activities to fill the abundance of free time that comes with it.

Going from a regimented, scheduled life with a weekly paycheck to a life of no requirements and no money (except for booze it seems) is too much for most of us.

Add the new stress of having no work… and the fact that only 40% of us have even made an effort to calculate how much money we’ll need in retirement (not fund it, but just figure out what it will cost)… and what was supposed to be an enjoyable stage of life is turning into a nightmare!

How the heck did we get ourselves into this mess?

Maybe Margot Kidder described our generation best when she said, “The ‘60s didn’t end until about 1976. We all believed in ‘make love, not war.’ We were idealistic innocents, despite the drugs and sex.”

And now, the booze too.

Good investing,