From Zero to Sixty in 2006

From Zero to Sixty in 2006

A recently released Pew Research Center survey finds that as the oldest of the nation's 75 million baby boomers approach the age of 60, 50% were raising one or more young children and/or providing primary financial support to one or more adult children, while another 17% whose only children are ages 18 and older were providing some financial assistance to at least one such child,

In addition, two-in-ten boomers were providing some financial assistance to a parent. 13% are providing some financial support to a parent at the same time as they are also either raising a minor child or supporting an adult child.

The baby boomers currently range in age from 41 through 59 (the oldest turn 60 in January), though changing demographics within families have prolonged for boomers the period of being "sandwiched" between the needs of their parents and their children. 

Key findings of the study include:

  • Boomers are more likely to give than receive. 29% report that in the past year they provided financial assistance to a parent, while 19% report that they received financial assistance.
  • 71% of today's boomers have at least one living parent. In 1989, just 60 percent of people ages 41 to 59 had at least one living parent, according to a Gallup survey.
  • 63% of boomers report that they have at least one adult child (ages 18 and older), and of this group,  68% say they are supporting an adult child financially, either as the primary (33%) or secondary (35%) source of support.
  • 56% of boomers say it is a responsibility to allow an elderly parent to live in one's home if the parent wants to move in.
  • More than half of boomers who are not yet retired say they expect to "live very comfortably" (26%) or to be able to "meet expenses with a little left over" (29%) once they retire.
  • 42% of current retirees say that Social Security is their biggest source of income, just 21% of non-retired boomers and even fewer adults ages 18 to 40 (13%) hold that expectation. 49% of boomers who are not yet retired say that a 401(k) or IRA savings plan will be their biggest source of income during retirement.

 The complete report and topline results are available here.

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